Vietnam Releases Draft Circular on Auto Imports

Posted by Reading Time: 4 minutes

By: Dezan Shira & Associates

Vietnam’s Ministry of Trade and Investment has released text from a draft circular which proposes to regulate the import of cars to Vietnam. Coming on the heels of regulatory repeal during the summer aimed at cutting down on barriers to trade and improving conditions for local business, new regulations are being crafted with the hope of toeing the line between safety and competitiveness.

Professional Service_CB icons_2015RELATED: Dezan Shira & Associates’ Tax Compliance Services
Areas Covered by the Proposal

The circular, in its current draft form, details changes for the following areas of compliance that companies importing autos must be aware of as they plan for the coming months:

  • technological inspections
  • safety checks
  • quality assurance
  • environmental protection standards

To forgo the checks mentioned above and to minimize import compliance costs, those importing to the Vietnamese market will be required to present an the original certificate of quality or a roll-out quality certification. Alternatively, importers unable to provide these details for their goods will be permitted to undergo additional inspections upon entry to Vietnam that will independently verify compliance with vietnamese standards. These are to be carried out by the Vietnam Register (VR) at the cost of the importing party. 

Related-Reading-Icon-Asean LinkRELATED: Customs Procedures in Vietnam
Implications for Investment and Trade 

The draft circular, with its stringent quality measures, is in many ways similar to past Circular no.2/2011/TT-BCT. Under this circular, Vietnam’s regulatory infrastructure heavily favored large auto manufactures, leaving many of Vietnam’s domestic producers and importers, as well as small and medium sized international players, at a disadvantage. 

If the current regulations come into effect in their current form, it is likely that the experiences of Circular 20 could be repeated. Key areas of concern which exemplify possible constraints for smaller companies are the issues of inspections and certification. Within the draft, requirements for importing parties to present original certificates of quality or undergo additional inspections presents a significant cost. Although larger companies directly importing to the Vietnamese market will be able to meet these requirements, and thus forgo additional inspections, smaller importers reselling within Vietnam will be forced to undergo additional inspections at their own cost. These added costs will make it difficult to compete on price within the country. 

As the circular is in the drafting stage, it is likely that additional adjustments will be made.  Nonetheless, it will be of critical importance for relevant parties to monitor the situation closely and to consider their operational exposure to possible regulation. For more information on the draft circular or for general assistance in monitoring regulatory developments within Vietnam, please contact or visit us online at


Asia Briefing Ltd. is a subsidiary of Dezan Shira & Associates. Dezan Shira is a specialist foreign direct investment practice, providing corporate establishment, business advisory, tax advisory and compliance, accounting, payroll, due diligence and financial review services to multinationals investing in China, Hong Kong, India, Vietnam, Singapore and the rest of ASEAN. For further information, please email or visit

Stay up to date with the latest business and investment trends in Asia by subscribing to our complimentary update service featuring news, commentary and regulatory insight.

Related Reading Icon-VB

Annual Audit and Compliance in Vietnam 2016
In this issue of Vietnam Briefing, we address pressing changes to audit procedures in 2016, and provide guidance on how to ensure that compliance tasks are completed in an efficient and effective manner. We highlight the continued convergence of VAS with IFRS, discuss the emergence of e-filing, and provide step-by-step instructions on audit and compliance procedures for Foreign Owned Enterprises (FOEs) as well as Representative Offices (ROs).

VB_2015_Navigating_the_Vietnam_Supply_Chain_ImageNavigating the Vietnam Supply Chain
In this edition of Vietnam Briefing, we discuss the advantages of the Vietnamese market over its regional competition and highlight where and how to implement successful investment projects. We examine tariff reduction schedules within the ACFTA and TPP, highlight considerations with regard to rules of origin, and outline the benefits of investing in Vietnam’s growing economic zones. Finally, we provide expert insight into the issues surrounding the creation of 100 percent Foreign Owned Enterprise in Vietnam.

Tax, Accounting and Audit in Vietnam 2016 (2nd Edition)
This edition of Tax, Accounting, and Audit in Vietnam, updated for 2016, offers a comprehensive overview of the major taxes foreign investors are likely to encounter when establishing or operating a business in Vietnam, as well as other tax-relevant obligations. This concise, detailed, yet pragmatic guide is ideal for CFOs, compliance officers and heads of accounting who must navigate Vietnam’s complex tax and accounting landscape in order to effectively manage and strategically plan their Vietnam operations.