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Vietnam Regulatory Brief: Foreign Specialist Tax Exemptions and Slated Issuance of International Driving Permits

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Foreign Specialists Exempt from Personal Income Tax

Recent government announcements indicate foreign specialists will be exempt from paying personal income tax. The exemption applies to expatriates that are in Vietnam implementing projects for non-governmental organizations. The exemptions will comply with Decision 06/2016 / QD TTg.

However, foreign specialists will only be exempt if they meet the following terms:

  1. They are foreign nationals.
  2. The foreign national must be contracted with one of the following:
    1. A Non-government organization (NGO)
    2. A company managing the project of an NGO
    3. The sponsor of an NGO that is active in Vietnam

Expatriates in Vietnam that plan to work in such projects will welcome the new rules. In addition, local economists believe that these regulations will enable Vietnam to attract a more talented labour force in NGOs and related sectors, which is likely to catalyze development within the country.

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TPP Perceptions in Vietnam: Insights from Indochina Research

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By: Erasmo Indolino
Based on survey results by Indochina Research (Vietnam) ltd.

In February 2016, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was signed in Auckland, New Zealand. In total, the agreement brings together 12 contracting countries: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Japan, Peru, the United States, Singapore and Vietnam. Experts consider TPP to be one of the largest trade agreements ever concluded, and its negotiations alone have taken more than seven years to reach an agreed upon text.

If ratified by all members, the TPP could come into force as early as Q1 2018. To facilitate transparent discussions prior to ratification by respective member states, the agreement’s full text was published in November 2015. Since then, Vietnam has rapidly emerged as the agreements’ prime beneficiary, with experts touting the many ways that TPP’s least developed economy can tap demand of larger members.

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Vietnam’s FDI Outlook for 2016: Trends and Opportunities

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By: Dezan Shira & Associates
Editor: Maxfield Brown

Vietnam’s rapid pace of integration into global commerce is likely to yield unparalleled opportunities and record foreign investment in the near to medium term. While speculation on the nature of Vietnamese FDI has been on the rise, the availability of credible data remains scarce.

To help investors make informed decisions about existing opportunities and likely competitors, the following article outlines key findings from some of the first FDI data released by the Vietnamese Ministry of Planning and Investment since the passage of TPPImplementation of the ASEAN Economic Community, and signing of Vietnam’s FTA with the European Union. Published at the end of January, 2016, this data provides insight on sources, destinations, industries, and vehicles of foreign direct investment. Should any questions arise as a result of this presentation, do not hesitate to contact members of our staff at vietnam@dezshira.com or www.dezshira.com.

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Future Merger of HCMC and Hanoi Stock Exchanges Likely as Vietnam’s Markets Mature

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By Edward Barbour-Lacey

HCMC – According to a plan released by Vietnam’s Ministry of Finance, the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HOSE) and the Hanoi Stock Exchange (HNX) are likely to be merged at the end of this year. If completed, the new Vietnam Stock Exchange (VSE) will be headquartered in Hanoi, although it will also have a southern branch in HCMC.

During the period 2015-2020, the VSE will be a 100-percent state-run unit managed by the Ministry of Finance. After 2020, member securities companies of the VSE will be able to purchase a 10-25 percent stake in the exchange.

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Hanoi Reduces Application Time for Business Registration Certificates

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HANOI – Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi, has implemented a plan to reduce the time needed to obtain a Business Registration Certificate to within three days of receiving the application, instead of the previous 10 days. Although this change will only initially apply to Vietnamese enterprises, the definition of Vietnamese enterprises was changed recently to allow them to have foreign ownership. Hanoi is the first city in the country to implement this program.

The change in registration time is part of the new regulations laid out in the new Law on Enterprises 2014, which will go into full effect on July 1. Hanoi has taken the bold choice of implementing the changes earlier in hopes of boosting its attractiveness to investors.  In July, the rest of the country will have to follow suit and shorten their registration times. 

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Longest Expressway in Vietnam Opens Between Hanoi and Lao Cai

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HANOI – Last Sunday, in Lao Cai’s Bao Thang District, Vietnamese government officials announced the opening of a 245 kilometer expressway. The expressway, which is the longest in Vietnam, stretches from Hanoi’s Noi Bai through the provinces of Vinh Phuc, Phu Tho, and Yen Bai finally ending in Lao Cai. Now that the road is open to traffic, the travel time between Hanoi and Lao Cai has been cut in half.

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Netherlands-Vietnam Energy Forum Held in Hanoi

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HANOI – On June 17, 2014, the Netherlands-Vietnam energy forum was held in Hanoi.  The forum discussed the effective implementation of a 2011 memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between the two countries.

During the meeting, both governments expressed their determination to promote energy cooperation, according to Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, Le Duong Quang.

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Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi Report Strengthening Economic Numbers

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HCMC –Vietnam’s capital Hanoi and its economic center Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) have both reported positive economic numbers for the first four months of 2014. April has proven to be a particularly auspicious month for both cities.

HCMC

The HCMC People’s Committee has issued a report highlighting a number of areas where the city has posted strong economic numbers.  The reported numbers include:

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Economic Uncertainty Prevails as Vietnam Prepares to Host the 2019 Asian Games

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Editor’s Note: In response to questions regarding whether the World Bank would financially support Vietnam’s plan to host the Asian Games in 2019, Victoria Kwakwa, the World Bank’s Country Director for Vietnam, said that the organization would not make a commitment to providing loans to construct event infrastructure. On Thursday, April 17th, Vietnam announced that it was pulling out as the host of the 2019 Asian Games. In explanation, the government cited a lack of preparedness and worries that holding the event would not be financially viable.

HANOI – Hanoi’s successful bid for the 2019 Asian Games (ASIAD) has created a heated discussion on the merits of the proposed organization plan and its economic benefits. Strong public opinion pressure has focused on the uncertain benefits of hosting the Games – in the past, Vietnam has been known to be less than wise in how it spends taxpayers’ money. 

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Hanoi GDP on the Rise in First Quarter of 2014

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HANOI – The Hanoi People’s Committee has reported that in the first quarter of 2014, the city’s GDP increased by 6.6 percent year-on-year (Y/Y).  The city’s positive growth numbers mirror the growth occurring throughout the country.

Foreign direct investment (FDI) into the city has also seen positive movement. During the quarter, Hanoi saw 55 newly-granted investment projects. These projects were worth a total of US$38 million.

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