Lawyer in Vietnam Oliver Massmann Retention of Title under Vietnamese Law

Introduction

Retention of title is first mentioned in the Civil Code of Vietnam. The Civil Code of Vietnam was introduced in 1995 and it is the first Civil Code of Social Republic of Vietnam (“Civil Code”). However this issue has not yet developed into a separate concept and is regulated spread. Regulations on retention of title/reservation of ownership can be found in purchase and sale, contract for the sale and purchase of house, goods delivery.

In addition, the retention of title is also regulated in commercial laws. The Commercial Law of Vietnam was passed two years after the Civil Code (10 May 1997). It is also a landmark legal document and plays an important role in regulating commercial activities in Vietnam.

Establishment of ownership rights

According to the Civil Code, the ownership is established under many foundations. For example, establishment of ownership with respect to revenue gained from labor and legal business, in accordance with an agreement, in cases of merger or under a statute of limitations, etc.

In case of establishment of ownership in accordance with agreement, a person to whom a property has been transferred through a contract for the purchase and sale, gift, exchange or loan shall have the right to own such property as from the time of receipt of the property, if not otherwise agreed or the law does not otherwise provide.

Time of ownership transfer

According to the Civil Code, in case of sale and purchase agreement, the moment at which the ownership is transferred is defined in the following cases:

• the moment at which the buyer receives the property;
• the completion of the procedures for registering of ownership rights of such property;

However, except where the laws otherwise provide, the two parties are free to negotiate on the time of ownership transfer, provided that the agreement does not violate the law.

Therefore, the responsibility of bearing risks shall still belong to the seller until the property is handed over to the buyer; whereas the buyer shall bear the risk to the property in question as from the receipt of that property, if not agreed otherwise.

Similarly, in case of property that must be registered of the ownership rights, the seller shall bear the risks until the completion of the registration procedures; meanwhile the buyer shall bear the risk as from the completion of the registration procedures, even when the buyer has not received the property. However, it is noteworthy that the buyer and the seller have their freewill to agree upon the moment for bearing risk.

The Commercial Law also has similar regulation on the moment of transfer of ownership rights (Article 62, the Commercial Law), i.e. the moment when the seller delivers the goods to the buyer unless otherwise agreed upon by the two parties or provided by law. However, the Commercial Law also regulates that, in case where obligatory conditions are agreed upon in the sale and purchase agreement without which the seller shall be unable to deliver the goods, or the buyer shall be unable to receive the same, then the ownership of the goods in question shall be transferred from the seller to the buyer only when such conditions are met (Article 62, Commercial Law).

The obligatory conditions under Vietnam law may be understood as conditions for the transaction to become effective including the conditions on the person participating in the transaction, its purpose, content and the form, and the voluntary of the involving person.

Agreement and Retention of Title/Reservation of Ownership

Ownership is a very developed concept in the civil law branch of Vietnam, however retention of title is regulated scattered. Purchase by deferred payment or payment in installments is the most evident example for retention of title in Vietnam law.

Article 461 of the Civil Code provided that,

“…The seller is entitled to reserve his/her ownership rights to the sold object until the purchaser has made full payment, except in circumstances where otherwise agreed”.

Therefore, in case of deferred payment or payment in installments, the seller is entitled to reserve his/her ownership to sold object until the purchaser has made full payment, except otherwise agreed. The purchaser shall only be entitled to use the object purchased by deferred payment or by payment in installments and must bear the risk during the use period, except otherwise agreed.

Besides, the parties may agree upon the trial use of purchased object by the buyer for a period referred to as the trial use period. In the trial use period, the object shall still remain under the seller’s ownership. The seller shall bear all risks with respect to the object. Within the trial use period, the seller is not permitted to sell, give as gift, lease, exchange, mortgage or pledge of the property or offer it as a guarantee, while the purchaser has not yet replied.

Conclusion

In conclusion, according to Vietnam law, the ownership can be reserved in the following cases:

• the agreement of the related parties;
• the type of the agreement; and
• the prescribed law.

—o0o—
Please do not hesitate to contact Mr. Oliver Massmann under omassmann@duanemorris.com if you have any questions on the above. Oliver Massmann is the General Director of Duane Morris Vietnam LLC.

INTERESTED IN DOING BUSINESS IN VIETNAM? VISIT: www.vietnamlaws.xyz

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Lawyer in Vietnam Oliver Massmann – Vietnam a future International Competitor in Wind Energy ? Oliver Massmann – Ho Gia Le Hoang

Potential of Wind Energy Industry in Vietnam
Vietnam has a significant potential for wind energy with an average wind speed of more than 6m/s, surpassing that of all neighbouring Southeast Asian countries. With more than 3,000km coastline and plenty of islands, the total potential of wind energy in Vietnam is estimated to be as high as 713,000MW – 510,000 MW on land and 203,000 MW in islands. In comparison, this is 200 times more than the production volume of the largest hydropower plant, Son La (Vietnam), in Southeast Asia and 10 times larger than the projected total capacity of the electricity industry in 2020.
Since the electricity demand in Vietnam is forecasted to increase by up to 14.2 pct. annually for the 2011-2015 period and 11.4 pct. for the 2016-2020 period , and the electricity demand is expected to increase 7 times to 800 billion Kwh in 2030, Vietnam will then have to invest in energy sources to meet this big demand. Such investment is vital given Vietnam’s expected dependence on imported coal, one of their primary resources for electricity production, by 2015. Additionally, hydroelectric energy is quite abundant in Vietnam but poses certain underlying risks. Therefore, Vietnam will have no choice for power development other than renewable energy in general and wind energy in particular.
Government’s Policy On Development Of Renewable Energy
The important role of renewable energy in general and wind energy in particular is recognized by Vietnamese government and reflected in the Master plan VII about energy development in Vietnam. The renewable energy is increasingly accounting for power sources (4.5% in 2020 and 6.0% in 2030 of the total power supply). The Master plan VII sets the renewable energy target rate at 5.6 pct. of total primary energy consumption by 2020 and 9.4 pct. by 2030. The Government’s target is to increase the wind power to 1,000 MW (0.7 pct. of electricity production) by 2020 and 6,200 MW (2.4 pct.) by 2030.
Moreover, as the energy prices in Vietnam are not very high, there are many incentives and preferential treatment offered by the Vietnamese Government to the wind power industry. Decision 37 offers the following incentives and preferential treatment in terms of funding, tax and fee to wind energy project as follows:
i. Funding: The investor can raise funds in different forms permitted by relevant lawsfrom individuals and organizations in and out of the country and may have access to State credit for investment pursuant to the laws.
ii. Tariff: The investor is exempted from tariff on goods imported to create fixed assets and goods used as raw materials, input or semi-finished products that are not available at home for the project’s operation in line with the Law on Import and Export Duties , Law on Tax Mangagement and other relevant regulations on export and import duties.
iii. Corporate income tax: Wind power projects enjoy the same preferential treatment in investment in terms of exemption and reduction of corporate income tax as for other projects in line with the Law on Investment , Law on Corporate Income Tax and other documents guiding the enforcement of these laws : Perferential corporate income tax rate of 10% applies to newly-established enterprises for 15 years.
If the given project is classified as a large scale project, a project using high or new technology and in special need of investment, the above preferential tax rate may be extended to less than 30 years following a decision of the Prime Minister.
In addition, other preferential treatments in infrastructure for wind energy projects are available as follows:
i. Projects on installing wind powers, lines and transformer stations connected to the national grids enjoy the same exemptions and reductions in land rental as projects being entitled to special investment treatment.
ii. In line with the approved power development plan, the provincial people’s committee allocates land to the investor to implement wind power projects. The compensation for existing land users and support for site clearance complies with the provisions of land law in force.
In addition, in accordance with Decision 37, Electricity of Vietnam (“EVN”) is to buy all of the plant’s wind energy outputand the Vietnam Environment Protect Fund will accordingly subsidize to EVN with the current subsidized tariff of 204 VND/kWh (about 01 UScent).
Market Access Of Foreign Investor
Currently, there is no foreign ownership restriction in energy sector in Vietnam. The foreign investor may choose among permitted investment forms: 100% foreign invested company, joint venture or public private partnership (“PPP”) in the form of BOT contract.
Wind energy projects require high investment rates, while the electricity production costs are always high. Though the Government agrees to buy wind energy at high price, the investors still do not dare to pour their money into the sector for fear of the risks resulting from unstable policies.
In such circumstances, PPP is the most reasonable solution. Recently on 14 February 2015, the Government issued a long-awaited Decree on PPP models, Decree 15/2015/ND-CP which will replace previous legal regulations on PPP or BOT with the intention of promoting private investment in infrastructure to boost economic growth in Vietnam. The PPP model can help ease the burden on capital arrangement, share and minimize risks, take full advantage of the management resources and improve the policies’ transparency, thus bringing the highest possible effectiveness of the projects. For its great advantages, PPP has been applied in many countries in the world.
In Vietnam, BOT is the best investment form for energy projects since it is easier to negotiate more favorable electricity rates and obtain more government guarantees, especially in the context that EVN – a state-owned electricity company, is obliged to purchase all electricity from the projects. Moreover, the investor can receive more fiscal and financial incentives.
Wind energy will be an interesting sector in Vietnam for a foreign investor in the middle and long term, especially at the stage of fully competitive retail market. Despite the main obstacles to foreign investors such as high production cost, time taken for investors for investment capital recovery, and the lack of a competitive sale price, foreign investors still receive many preferential policies and incentives. When Vietnam energy market becomes a fully competitive retail market, the wind energy project will play a more important role and the investor will gain higher actual profits.
Starting Up A Wind Energy Project
Generally speaking, the start-up process in Vietnam is now still pretty complicated with the involvement of many licensing authorities and state agencies that make time-consuming and costly for developers. However, with the recent promulgation of new Investment Law and Enterprises Law which will take effect from 01 July 2015, the Government of Vietnam has showed the sign on improvement of bussiness and investment enviroment and both new laws are aimed at reducing licensing complexity and granting easier market access.
Currently there has yet been any national plan for wind energy and consequently, there is no specific procedure for investment in wind energy project. Thus, until such a plan is finalized, the investment procedure remains uncertain. Wind energy projects must be in alignment with the national energy sector’s development and priorities will be given to those with high economic and financial efficiency, as well as plans to connect with national or regional grids.
Acording to Decision 37 , until the planning is completed and approved, the Prime Minister will have to decide on any wind energy project. Moreover, under Circular 32 , the investor can only invest in the wind energy project included in the list of wind energy projects approved by the Ministry of Industry and Trade (“MOIT”). The MOIT requires project owners follow its guidelines and stipulates that capital investment from a project owner must exceed 20 percent of the project total investment capital. The provincial people’s committees will be the sole authorities to grant licenses after getting approval from the MOIT.
In order to commence the construction, the investor must satisfy many requirements, including but not limited to obtaining the investment certificate, having signed the power purchase agreement and electricity integration agreement. Gerally speaking, the start-up process involve many state authorities from local level to the central level.
For reference, according to the GIZ/MOIT Wind Energy Project , to set up a wind energy project, the developer must take the following steps:
Step 1: Site selection – Due to the absence of a national wind power plan, site selection is based on relevant past data such as wind data, wind energy atlas, etc. Permission from the provincial people’s committee (PPC) and provincial Department of Industry and Trade (DoIT) is needed for site surveying and resource assessment is needed for a feasibility study.
Step 2: Assessment of wind resources at the selected site – Wind measuring poles are installed (if not available at the selected site) and wind is measured for at least 1 year.
Step 3: Pre-feasibility study and request for inclusion in the power development plan – If the project area has wind resources, a pre-feasibility study for investment in the area is prepared and submitted to the MOIT together with a request to include the project in the power development plan. The MOIT shall consider and submit it to the Prime Minister for approval (as wind power is still new in Vietnam and there is a missing protocol for it, all wind power projects larger than 50 MW need approval by the Prime Minister. After the Prime Minister approval, the project documents are to be submitted to the DoIT for approval.
Step 4: Investment report (Feasibility study) – After the DoIT approval of the pre-feasibility study, an investment report (feasibility study) is prepared and submitted to the MOIT for appraisal.
Step 5: Signing of power sale contract with the EVN – In accordance with Decision 37, EVN is to buy all of the plant’s wind power output. Contracts on power sale, grid connection and electric measurement system design must be signed.
Step 6: Project implementation – The project will not start until the approval of the technical design and investment report by the related agencies such as DoIT, Department of Construction, Department of Natural Resources and Environment and others.
Step 7: Building – Building starts.
Above steps are the technical approval process that a wind power developer needs to comply with to be approved for project implementation. However, the developer needs also to work with the licensing authorities (i.e. the Department of Planning and Investment of the province where the project is located and the Ministry of Planning and Investment) in line with the investment procedure under the Investment Law. In Vietnam, the investment certificate is an official legal document issued by the State authority to certify the rights and obligations of the project developer and also the incentives that the developer may enjoy from the project implementation.
The developer needs to perform the procedures for obtaining investment certificate in parallel with the technical approval since the beginning of the site selection steps . The current Investment Law provides for a 45-day time frame for issuance of an investment certificate (while the New Investment Law which takes effect from 01 July 2015 shortens this time frame to 15 days), starting from the date of receipt of a ‘complete’ application dossier. Our experience in dealing with typical investment projects indicates that you should anticipate this process to take longer than the statutory time limit, even from 6 to 8 months at least.
Vietnam – Future International Competitor In Wind Energy?
Theoritically speaking, Vietnam can be seen as an international competitor in wind energy because it has a significant potential for wind energy, an increase of electricity demand and Government’s preferential policies and incentives to facilitate renewable energy in general and wind energy in particular. According to World Bank research to build wind power potential map for Vietnam, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia, Vietnam has higher wind power than other South East Asia countries with 8.6 percent of Vietnam’s territory having wind energy development potential (in comparison with 2.9% in Laos, and just 0.2% in Cambodia and Thailand). In practice, there are increasing interest and new projects in wind energy from Vietnamese and foreign investors. According to the website of GIZ Wind Energy Project: http://www.renewableenergy.org.vn/, until May 2012, there are 67 wind energy projects in Vietnam which are developing at different stages and this number is expected to increase in the upcoming time.
Although Vietnam possesses considerable potential for the development of wind power, an energy sector which has attracted strong interest from domestic and foreign investors, the current wind energy project development has only tapped into a small portion of Vietnam’s wind potential, and there are still many things Vietnam needs to change and take stronger action. Otherwise, Vietnam can hardly become an international competitor in wind energy.
Up to now, the total potential of wind energy in Vietnam is only an estimate while a final issue for the bankability of a wind energy project is the wind speed feasibilty studies for that the investors need reliable wind speed studies and wind speed towers to measure. In practice, the standard requirements of foreign banks are such feasibility studies involve about 2 years of measurement. However, the “reliable” studies in Vietnam’s wind energy are still lacking to our best knowledge.
At present, Vietnam still features the “Single Buyer Model” with EVN who is the only offtaker, except for power generation projects under 3 MW. The EVN monopoly in power sector should be removed and EVN must be restructured by splitting up into many corporations with separate powers and duties (i.e, operation, transmion, distribution).
In the meantime, Vietnam needs to highly prioritie the application of more transparent policies and mechanisms. Under Circular No. 32/2012/TT-BCT, Vietnam provides a standard power purpose agreement (“PPA”) form for all wind energy projects on power sale, grid connection and electric measurement system design. This standard PPA is a good start but still needs to be improved to make wind energy projects bankable. However, the negotiation process of the PPA signing with EVN is very time consuming and it is almost impossible to predict how long it will take to negotiate the relevant PPA with EVN, even it has taken up to 6 years in some cases to negotiate a PPA for a coal fired power plant with EVN in the past. That is a deterrent for foreign investors if they cannot calculate that into the development costs. Meanwhile with such red-tape hurdle, the operation costs for wind energy projects in Vietnam are still much more an overal “estimate” than a “real and realistic calculation”.
The low power purchasing price is also a big barrier to wind energy projects. The Government should also adopt a feed-in tariff (“FIT”) for wind energy in particular and renewable energy in general. The basics of a FIT mechanism is that additional costs for production of energy will be divided among electricity users to assure a stable cash flow for renewable energy developers. Under Decision 37, EVN has the responsibility for buying the whole electric output from wind power projects with the electric buying price at the point of electricity receipt is 1,614 dong/kwh (excluding VAT, equivalent to 7.8 UScents/kwh). This current subsidized tariff is too low in comparison with that in other ASEAN countries (19 UScents/kWh in Thailand and 21.8 UScents/kWh in Philippines ). In practice, the wind energy producers in Vietnam keep complaing about very low purchasing price while the current cost of electricity generated from wind power plants is still quite high due to large technical investment.
Recently, Vietnam’s Prime Minister issued Decision 31/2014/QD-TTg on solid waste-to-energy projects to provide a ground-breaking feed-in tariff for power suppliers of up to “VND 2,114/kWh (equivalent to 10.05 US cents/kWh)”, whichis more than 25 percent higher than the 7.8 cent applicable to wind energy projects. From the internet, we have also been told that the MOIT proposed to the Government to approve for an FIT increase of up to 12 UScents/kwh to make the wind energy projects become more financially feasible. With this trend of development, the Goverment showsan effort to pave the way for the development of more wind power projects in Vietnam.
If the FIT is not increased to region levels and until there is no clear roadmap for negotiating the PPA, it will be very difficult to attract foreign investors. The foreign investors have the choice in which country they will invest and if the FIT, for example, in the Phillipines is about TRIPLE more than that in Vietnam, then the investors will not think twice whether to come to Vietnam or invest in the Phillipines
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Please do not hesitate to contact Mr. Oliver Massmann under omassmann@duanemorris.com if you have any questions on the above. Oliver Massmann is the General Director of Duane Morris Vietnam LLC.

INTERESTED IN DOING BUSINESS IN VIETNAM? VISIT: www.vietnamlaws.xyz

THANK YOU VERY MUCH!

Rechtsanwalt in Vietnam Oliver Massmann Verbesserter Zugang zur Auslandsbeteiligung

Im Sommer steht in Vietnam ein neuer Liberalisierungsschritt an. Mit Inkrafttreten des neuen Investitionsgesetzes und des Unternehmensgesetzes öffnet sich das Land weiter für ausländische Investoren. Und versucht, ihnen den Einstieg in den Markt zu vereinfachen. So reduziert das Investitionsgesetz die Anzahl der verbotenen und beschränkten Geschäftszweige von zuvor 51 auf nunmehr sechs. Auch die Anzahl der beschränkten Wirtschaftszweige wurde herabgesetzt: von 386 auf 267. Generell erlaubt das neue Gesetz den Investoren nun ein Engagement in allen Branchen, die nicht ausdrücklich davon ausgeschlossen sind. Das ist im Vergleich zum alten Gesetz, das Investitionen nur in ausdrücklich erlaubten Branchen genehmigte, ein Fortschritt. Folglich besteht mehr Transparenz und Investoren steht eine größere Bandbreite an Investitionsmöglichkeiten zur Verfügung.

Begriffsdefinition des ausländischen Investors
Darüber hinaus definiert das Investitionsgesetz den Begriff des ausländischen Investors neu. Bisher wurde ein ausländischer Investor als jede Art von juristischer oder natürlicher ausländischer Person definiert, die Mittel aufwendet, um in Vietnam zu investieren. Diese Definition hat in den vergangenen Jahren viel Verwirrung darüber gestiftet, ob von einem ausländischen Investor zu sprechen ist, wenn ein Ausländer 1 %, 49 % oder 51 % der Firmenanteile hält. In diesem Punkt schafft das Investitionsgesetz Klarheit. Denn es führt eine einfachere Definition ein. Den Begriff des „ausländisch-finanzierten Unternehmens“ ersetzt es durch die Formulierung „Wirtschaftsunternehmen mit ausländischem Kapital“. Ein ausländischer Investor ist demnach nun jede ausländische Rechtsperson nach ausländischem Recht.
Allerdings erhellt das neue Leitbild vom „ ausländisch beherrschten Unternehmen“ – eine Entsprechung zum früheren „Unternehmen mit ausländischem Kapital“ – nicht die Bedeutung des vorherigen Begriffs. Ein „ausländisch beherrschtes Unternehmen“ ist als Wirtschaftsunternehmen definiert, das einen Gesellschafter oder Anteilseigner hat, der ausländischer Investor ist. Welches Beteiligungsverhältnis dafür nötig ist, ist nicht definiert.

Projekte werden nach Zweck eingestuft
Einstweilen wird durch das Investitionsgesetz aus dem Jahr 2014 das Beteiligungsverhältnis über die Zulassung zu Investmentvorhaben ausländischer Investoren bestimmen. Sofern das nicht ausreichend in den Durchführungsbestimmungen dargelegt sein wird, werden Schwierigkeiten bei Investitionsanträgen unvermeidbar zunehmen. Weiterhin unterscheidet das Investitionsgesetz nicht mehr zwischen direkten oder indirekten Investitionen. Stattdessen werden Projekte nach ihrem Zweck eingestuft:

• Gründung eines neuen Unternehmens für ein Investi¬tionsvorhaben,
• Investition als öffentlich-private Partnerschaft (PPP),
• Investition als Kooperationsvertrag,
• Kapitaleinlage, Kauf von Anteilen oder Einzahlung von Einlagen in ein Unternehmen.

Gewisse Änderungen ergeben sich dadurch auch auf die Ausgestaltung von Investitionenin Vietnam. Noch wichtiger ist, dass das Gesetz Abschreibungsrichtlinien für Fusionen und Übernahmen enthält.

Getrennte Anträge bei IRC und ERC
Ein bei Neugründungen interessanter Punk ist die Abschaffung des Investitionsanmeldungsnachweises (IRC) für Investitionsvorhaben inländischer Investoren. Das gilt unabhängig von der Höhe der Investitionssumme. Ferner findet die Zulassung – zuvor in Form von Investitionsanmeldung und Wertermittlung – nicht mehr zweistufig statt. Wenn ausländische Investoren ein Unternehmen in Vietnam gründen möchten, müssen sie anstelle der gleichzeitigen Beantragung von IRC und Unternehmensanmeldung (ERC) nun zwei unterschiedliche Anträge stellen: für das IRC und das ERC. Das könnte hinsichtlich der Kosten und der Zeit für ausländische Investoren schwieriger sein.
Ändern wird sich durch das Investitionsgesetz auch der Umgang mit Kapitaleinlagen. Sie können nun folgendermaßen abgewickelt werden:

• Kapitaleinlage, die zum ersten Mal oder von Aktiengesellschaften ausgegeben wird
• Kapitaleinlagen in Gesellschaften mit beschränkter Haftung oder Partnerschaftsgesellschaften
• Kapitaleinlagen in Unternehmen, die nicht in die beiden erstgenannten Kategorien fallen.

Ausländische Investoren, die Kapitaleinlagen, Beteiligungs- oder Anteilskäufe vornehmen, müssen dies beim lokalen Ministerium für Industrie und Handel melden. Dazu zählt, wenn sie in Unternehmen, die zu für ausländische Investoren beschränkten Wirtschaftszweige gehören, Kapital einlegen, Beteiligungen oder Anteile kaufen. Auch wenn die Investition im Ergebnis auf einen Anteil von 51% des Stammkapitals oder mehr abzielt, muss sie angemeldet werden. Davon betroffen sind auch Unternehmen, an denen ein ausländischer Investor 51% oder mehr des Stammkapitals hält oder die Mehrheit der Partner ausländische Personen sind.

Bitte kontaktieren Sie den Autor Oliver Massmann direkt unter omassmann@duanemorris.com wenn Sie Fragen haben. Oliver Massmann ist der Generaldirektor von Duane Morris Vietnam LLC.

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Lawyer in Vietnam Oliver Massmann Online Gaming and Gambling in Vietnam

Technically, “online gaming” [business] in Vietnam may cover: (i) “online game”, a game played over some form of computer network;[1] or (ii) “online gambling”, a term for gambling using the Internet.

In the latter case, Vietnamese law does not treat online gambling as a full-fledged, independent and separate branch of gambling industry.[2] Rather it deals with major branches of gambling activities which are (i) lottery; (ii) casino/prized electronic machines; (iii) horse and greyhound race and (iv) sports betting,[3] etc. and sets forth specific conditions and restrictions on the same. Except for online lottery, other forms of gambling using Internet-based have been so far strictly prohibited or at least not officially permitted.

It also bears noting that market access to such gambling branches varies by investment forms, legal entity of the investors and capacity thereof, etc. For example, while lottery business is solely reserved for State owned enterprises, foreign investment in casinos is permissible. By the same token, depending on characteristics of specific gambling business, the scope of activities can be either limited to a specific approved location in a major city of Vietnam (e.g. – dog/greyhound race or traditional lottery) or nationwide (online lottery).

As gambling is a sensitive activity which requires a high level of surveillance, a gambling investor must essentially follow a general principle of “doing exactly what your license states”. To make it clearer, if an investor is permitted to open a casino at a specific resort only, it will not have the natural right to offer casino products through the Internet. Similarly, besides 63 State-owned lottery enterprises in each province, a lottery corporation was established in 2013 (i.e. – Vietlott) to offer online lottery lotto games, digits games and fast drawing games nationwide. However, it can be broadly argued, though not absolutely guaranteed, that if an investor is licensed to carry out a specific [and conventional] “gambling” activities, it may have a good position to apply for the same business but operated on an Internet-based platform.[4]

Generally, an investment project in gambling must be first granted with an investment certificate issued by the people’s committee at provincial level. For such purposes, the investors must obtain in-principal of the Prime Minister on an ad-hoc basis. In fact, the Ministry of Finance (the “MOF”) is expected to play a crucial role in deciding whether a Project will be accepted. Subsequently, the project’s owner may have to obtain a special business license from the MOF upon its fulfilment of post-establishment conditions (i.e. – completion of construction works, installment of equipment and facilities, etc.).

In principle, gambling, other than lottery and betting at licensed sport center(s), is strictly prohibited in Vietnam and individuals involved in gambling activities may face criminal charge. Vietnamese law on gambling business is therefore still in its infantry stage though initial ideas date back to early 2000s. Gambling licenses have granted to selected investors mainly on a piloting scheme and with strict requirements (i.e. – not letting Vietnamese nationals in). Draft laws on sport betting, casinos, which serve as key guidance on gambling business, have been discussed from time to time but not yet been issued.

In late 2013, two major draft decrees on gambling activities (i.e. – betting[5] and casinos), content of which is not made public, were submitted by the Ministry of Finance, as the draftsperson, to the National Assembly of Vietnam for the latter opinions. It appears however that little progress has been since made due to conflicting opinions among the Government and divisions belonging to the National Assembly on these sensitive issues.[6]

To date, Vietnam has 01 national online lottery company (i.e. – Vietlott) and 63 [traditional] lottery companies operating at provincial level. 07 casino licenses have been granted to investors as a part of their resort complexes but only 6 of which have commenced their operations. A number of 5-star hotels in major cities of Vietnam are permitted to run prized electronic machines. The only house race ground which was open to public was closed in 2013. Another greyhound race ground is still active in Ba Ria – Vung Tau Province, Vietnam.

In light of the above, a foreign investor wishing to invest in this sector may consider different channels to access Vietnam online gaming market. For example, it may cooperate with licensed vendors in Vietnam as a supplier of equipment, machinery or materials or provider of technical assistance services relating to the same.[7] Or else, it may actively approach the MOF to initiate a proposed plan.

Please do not hesitate to contact Oliver Massmann under omassmann@duanemorris.com if you have any questions on the above. Oliver Massmann is the General Director of Duane Morris Vietnam LLC.

INTERESTED IN DOING BUSINESS IN VIETNAM? VISIT: www.vietnamlaws.xyz

THANK YOU VERY MUCH!

Lawyer in Vietnam Oliver Massmann Transformation of the Financial Market Management

Introduction

Vietnam is one of the most dynamic markets of Asia. Since the financial institutions and authorities are a part of the general economic system, they are not only strongly involved in the changes, but also have a more solid financial basis for the competitiveness of the country. The financial sector in Vietnam is subject to substantial structural changes. It occurs at a huge speed. These changes entail great challenges for the financial managers – for instance due to the pressure on the currency with regard to the exchange rate, the inflation and the daily stock exchange fluctuations between huge profits and losses.

At the same time, the foreign capital market is still underdeveloped. Consequently, it requires the attention of authorities and managers in order to foster the system and to deal with new developments. The most important challenges consist in the transformation of the state-owned banking sector and the development of a subnational foreign capital system.

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Rechtsanwalt Vietnam Oliver Massmann Kapitalmarkt

Vietnams Finanzsystem bleibt schwach und schlecht reguliert. Der Mangel an finanzieller Transparenz und die Nichteinhaltung international akzeptierter Standards seitens vietnamesischer Firmen gehören zu den vielen Herausforderungen, denen der Plan der GVN begegnet, den inländischen Aktien- und Wertpapiermarkt als Platz für Firmen zur Kapitalbeschaffung im Inland zu erweitern. Der Banksektor ist unterentwickelt, momentan ist er Ziel einer nationalen Restrukturierungsinitiative für hohe notleidende Kredite (non-performing loans, NPL) und andere strukturelle Probleme. Ende März 2012 hatten nur 20% der in Vietnam Ansässigen ein Bankkonto. Die meisten inländischen Banken sind unterkapitalisiert und halten Berichten zufolge eine große Anzahl von NPLs. Nach vietnamesischen Rechnungslegungsgrundsätzen lag die offizielle NPL-Rate am 30. September 2012 bei 8,82%. Die staatlich gelenkte Kreditvergabe von Handelsbanken in Staatsbesitz und Kreditvergabe an nahestehende Parteien nach handelsfremden Kriterien bleiben bei ausländischen Investoren und sonstigen finanziellen Analysten ein Grund zur Sorge.

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Rechtsanwalt in Vietnam Oliver Massmann Auswirkungen des Doppelbesteuerungs¬abkommens

Das am 16. November 1995 zwischen Deutschland und Vietnam abgeschlossene Doppelbesteuerungsabkommen(DBA)1 gilt ohne Rücksicht auf die Art der Erhebung für Steuern vom Einkommen und vom Vermögen2. Insbesondere erfolgt keine Doppelbesteuerung im Hinblick auf die deutsche Körperschaftsteuer, Einkommensteuer und Gewerbesteuer, sowie auf die vietnamesische Körperschaftsteuer, Einkommensteuer. Das Doppelbesteuerungsabkommen gilt bislang nicht für die Mehrwert-, bzw. Umsatzsteuer.
Das Abkommen gilt für Personen, die in einem oder beiden der Vertragsstaaten ansässig sind. Die Anwendbarkeit des Abkommens hängt also nicht von der Staatsangehörigkeit ab. „Personen“ bedeutet in diesem Zusammenhang natürliche und juristische Personen.
Nach dem Doppelbesteuerungsabkommen werden Unternehmen grundsätzlich im Land des Firmensitzes mit ihrem ganzen Welteinkommen besteuert. Wenn ein deutsches Unternehmen aber in Vietnam eine Betriebsstätte, das heißt eine feste Geschäftseinrichtung unterhält, durch die seine Tätigkeit ganz oder teilweise ausgeübt wird (mit Ausnahmen) oder bestimmte, vom Doppelbesteuerungsabkommen definierte Einkünfte aus Vietnam erzielt, wird dieses Unternehmen in Vietnam besteuert. Dies jedoch nur in dem Umfang, in welchem das Unternehmen mittels seiner Betriebsstätte Gewinne erzielt hat. Continue reading “Rechtsanwalt in Vietnam Oliver Massmann Auswirkungen des Doppelbesteuerungs¬abkommens”

Lawyer in Vietnam Oliver Massmann SEAPORT DEVELOPMENT – Vietnam’s new Master Plan for seaport system development 2020-2030

I. Main content

Vinamarine has been assigned by Vietnam’s Government to prepare a new Master Plan for ports for the period 2020-2030. Three reports have been produced so far and, after completion, the plan will be subject to Prime Minister’s approval and then promulgated. The master plan focuses on development of seaports in order to foster Vietnam’s economic growth. It should be regarded as a significant progress as the development of seaports played a secondary role to industrial development. The master plan stipulates six port groups. It must be underlined that comments and recommendation of various companies and of the VBF subgroup were taken into consideration and incorporated. More emphasis was put on enhancing the infrastructure and development of channels, access roads and connection of regional ports.

Management and administration mechanisms that are applied in Vietnam considerably differ from those in other countries. In other parts of the world, local governments take responsibility to manage and control local ports, in Vietnam however, it falls within the scope of responsibility of the central Government. Therefore, the connection of different terminals into a big port seems to be practically challenging and will take some time before relevant legal framework is ready.

Continue reading “Lawyer in Vietnam Oliver Massmann SEAPORT DEVELOPMENT – Vietnam’s new Master Plan for seaport system development 2020-2030”

Lawyer in Vietnam Oliver Massmann Energy Sector

Overview

Vietnam’s rapid development led at the same time to a continuous increase of energy requirement, both in the private sector and in the industry. Since then, the consumption of electricity has been rising by 15% per annum and, as a result, has considerably exceeded the economic growth rate. According to expectations, in 2020 it will rise sevenfold. According to the 7th Master Plan for the Development of Electricity, for the period from 2006 to 2025 investments amounting to VND 1,262,980 billion (US$ 74.32 billion) are required, which means on average more than US$ 3.7 billion per annum. In view of high requirement of more than 150 billion kWh, in 2015 Vietnam will probably import electricity from Laos or/and China. However, the implementation of targets of the phase from 2009 to 2015 of the Electricity Plan will be adversely affected by diverse unfavorable factors, as bottlenecks in power supply, difficulties in capital distribution, limited competences in the area of project management of many investors and contractors. In comparison to other countries in the region, the electricity market of Vietnam is far from being competitive and in particular has not yet solved the problems with regard to electricity selling price mechanisms. According to the 6th Master Plan, within the period from 2006 to 2015 investors should develop, independently from Electricity of Vietnam (EVN), about 54 energy projects which will be implemented in the form of IPB/BOT investments. However, only six projects have been completed yet, and they include the capacity of 2,059 MW, thus 5.6 percent of the Plan. In case of nine bigger projects with a total capacity of 15,275 MW, no investor has been found yet. According to the estimate of the Economic Committee, the lack of investment capital could slow down the development of the electricity sector in the remaining years of the Master Plan.

The most significant financial resources for the energy sector come from the national budget and from Official Development Assistance (ODA). Another important source is the EVN, with the capital coming from own funds as well as from various kinds of outside financing, including a big share in ODA and independent investments of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) as well as domestic and international private sector. The reason for many of the problems in the electricity sector is project financing. The total requirement for capital investments and payment of debts on the part of EVN between 2009 and 2015 amounts to VND 647,038 trillion. However, EVN can finance only VND 264,108 trillion and other investors outside of EVN also have only limited financial resources. Especially projects with a total investment volume of more than $ 1 billion often encounter financing difficulties.

In the years to come, the amount of foreign investments has to rise considerably in order to meet the growing demand: In consequence of the expected transition to a country with middle income status, the ODAs will probably be lower and for the period 2006 -2025 the 6th Master Plan envisages a necessary investment contribution by EVN of VND 665,389 billion (nearly US$39.2 billion). It results in a financing gap of estimated VND 597,591 billion that has to be filled by foreign and domestic private investors and other enterprises. The Master Plan already includes a list of projects that are to be implemented by way of private participation in the form of Build-Operate-Transfer projects (BOTs) or by way of Independent Power Producers (IPPs). At least in the short and middle term, until the conversion into a competitive energy market is completed, probably government loans, guarantees and subventions will be required as an incentive for investments and for a successful performance of a contract. The experiences with already existing project have shown that no-risk guarantees, including those for currency convertibility and performance risk on the part of Vietnamese partners are indispensable for raising of capital from bilateral banks, bilateral agencies and other private financing sources, thus for the creditworthiness of energy projects!

Recommendation:
In view of the fact that in the years to come private investments will be required, it is of great importance to continue working on a legal framework that is attractive to investors. In particular, Vietnam should reconsider the current dominance of EVN and, rather faster than planned before, establish (by 2024) a competition-based market with regard to generation of electricity, wholesale and retail industry. Until Vietnam’s regulatory environment has reached an internationally competitive level, we recommend the adjustment of energy prices and the maintenance of government guarantees in order to encourage foreign-financed investments and to reduce high risks related to large projects. Furthermore, we suggest that it should be made possible by law for foreign investors to apply international dispute settlement mechanisms.

Energy production

1. Energy prices
Compared both to the world and the region, energy prices in Vietnam are comparatively low: On 1 January 2009, the average selling price amounted to VND 842/kWh (less than US$ 0.05). In order to ensure profit and capital accumulation, the marginal price for development investments according to EVN in the long run must amount to 7.5 cent/kWh. For this reason, EVN is presently not able to make profits; it is rather principally dependent on loans from the budget. The enterprise has to cope with various difficulties, obtain domestic and foreign loans. It is due to low capacities to pay debts, as projects show low profitability and the electricity prices are low. In part, delayed privatization is to be blamed for this: At the present moment, only nine from 33 companies belonging to EVN have accomplished privatization, which had an impact on investments in projects under the 6th Master Plan for the development of electricity. As a result, EVN demanded the increase of electricity prices. Moreover, the Prime Minister has enacted a decision which paves the way for a gradual increase of prices, until they reach the market prices in 2010. This decision, however, has not been fully implemented yet.

Recommendations:
Although the general public interest and the affordability in view of the current stage of development have also to be taken into account, the gradual increase of energy prices is indispensable in order to promote energy efficiency and private investments. Only the combination of higher, but realistic prices and increased efficiency of service providers will enable enterprises to generate surpluses in order to finance capital expenditure, thus to operate at a commercially profitable and sustainable level. The market-oriented adjustment of current low prices for electricity should follow a clear schedule in order to enable investors and enterprises to balance the costs and make profits on a medium- and long-term basis.

2. Competitive tendering.
Although the latest revised tender regulations, in the event that there are several interested parties, appear to regard the competition-promoting tenders for infrastructure projects as necessary, currently existing projects have been implemented for the most part without such tendering procedure that promotes competition. However, the lack of tenders carries obviously the risk of a bad result, both for government agencies and for project partners and, besides, could lead to unfair distribution of risks.

Recommendations:
We recommend that the requirements for a clear and transparent competitive tendering procedure should be clarified in relevant statutes and regulations, and duly implemented. Moreover, clear and transparent complaint and dispute settlement mechanisms should be established in order to put potential disputes related to the acceptance of a tender out of the way. In view of complicated and arduous tendering procedure in case of large projects, we recommend to limit generally the extent of the projects.

3. The stability of statutory regulations and adherence to contract terms and conditions.
Projects in the energy sector tend naturally to be very complex and the costs of contract negotiation may reach millions, thus bring huge losses in case of failure of project implementation. Most common problems that arise after conclusion of a contract are in the majority of cases the failure of the Vietnamese partner to comply with provisions of the contract (as they have been approved by the Vietnamese government) in a timely manner as well as changes with regard to planned result of the contract and the time frame which arise due to frequent rapid amendments to the legal framework.

Recommendations:
In order to secure the interests of foreign investors, we recommend that the competent authorities make an effort to formulate the contract provisions clearly and to adhere to them within a reasonable period, in particular with regard to large and BOT projects in which the government agencies play a direct role. We also encourage the authorities to do their best in order to ensure transparency and to pay more attention to planning of statutes and regulations aiming at the improvement of advance planning of negotiations of major projects.

Electrical efficiency and safety

1. Safety with regard to electricity
In 2008, about 60% of fires in Vietnam caused by electrical defects resulted in serious damage to property and to persons. Such defects were caused by faulty electrical installations and by poor quality of electrical products/ equipment used. In the same year, more than 40% of electrical products sold in Vietnam were falsifications from China. In 2007, the Building Ministry made adjustments to the new Code TCXDVN394, inspired by the International Electro-technical Commission’s (IEC) Standard 60364 on protection- and security-oriented electrical construction and installations for buildings. This set of regulations has been implemented in 2008.

Recommendations:
With the participation of major international players, an independent national committee for electricity should be established and entrusted with the following tasks:
– issuing “Electrical and Automation Installation” manual as a basis for certification of all electricians;
– conducting examinations, at least on a three-year cycle in order to check the licenses of the
electricians;
– cooperation with insurance companies in order to establish a principle according to which a fire insurance policy can be issued only if the wiring in houses/buildings/factories has been done by a certified/licensed electrician;
– provision of consultations with regard to electrical standards.

The education of customs officials should be improved so that they are able to detect Chinese falsifications that are brought into the country. Moreover, measures should be introduced in order to make uncovering of officials and companies that facilitate the import of Chinese falsifications and taking action against them possible. Power companies adopt readily methods from other Asian countries and are prepared to provide training measures aiming at the improvement of understanding and awareness with regard to the trade of product piracy.

2. Electrical efficiency
In the last five years, the national production of electricity in Vietnam has risen by averagely 13%; on the other hand, the consumption of energy has increased by 15% per annum. Even the optimistic prognosis with regard to the growth of production capacities does not provide a solution of the problem of electricity shortage in Vietnam in the next five years. It is due to the minimum lead time of three to four years which is available for planning/construction/implementation of power plants. In order to counteract such an energy dilemma and at the same time not to affect the economic growth, the realization of a productive electric energy sector is a necessary step for the private and the public sector in Vietnam. There are indeed solutions for all market segments aiming at short-term reduction of consumption by 20 to 40%, however, most enterprises hesitate to invest by way of a return on investment/capital return (ROI) of two to three years. Government agencies held numerous seminars in order to increase the public awareness of energy efficiency and its possible environmental effects (e.g. mass displacement in consequence of rising sea level) in the longer term. In 2007, a set of regulations for the development of Energy Service Companies (ES-COs) was introduced. The government decided to introduce incentives for enterprises purchasing energy-efficient products, but the decrees have not come into effect yet.

Recommendations:
We recommend establishing an Energy Efficiency Board reporting directly to the Prime Minister and responsible for advancing special action plans and standards with regard to this subject. The board should be responsible for establishing “Green Building” principles as well as propose measures for enterprises in order to limit the use of electricity in main duty cycles. Furthermore, it should be competent for the enactment of regulations on energy quality for energy users and providers. International companies are definitely prepared to put forward suggestions for the improvement of the energy efficiency market in Vietnam. In particular, reference to existing IEEE/IEC standards (IEEE 519 1995, IEEE1159-1995, IEC61000-4-30, etc.) should be made, as they are already used in neighboring Southeast Asian countries. Finally, we suggest that the government makes an effort to make the expansion of the energy efficiency market in Vietnam possible by increasing the number of ESCO and simplifying the administrative application procedure for the formation of new ESCOs as well as by establishing measures to support newly formed companies.

Fuel distribution
Since 1 January 2009, foreign invested enterprises are authorized to provide distribution services with regard to all legally imported and domestically manufactured products (in the commission, wholesale and retail sectors). The distribution services sector is opened for the distribution of the following nine product fields in the retail trade, but not for foreign enterprises: rice, sugar, tobacco, processed oil and crude oil, pharmaceutical products, gunpowder, journals and magazines, noble metals and rocks as well as audio and video equipment. The fuel supply chain in Vietnam is divided into three levels: (i) importers, with the Ministry of Trade determining import quotas; (ii) wholesalers; and (iii) retailers. Since 1 May 2007, wholesalers and retailers are allowed to fix fuel prices within a small trade framework that is regulated and controlled by the government.

Recommendations:
Investor Group recommends that the government reconsiders its position with regard to the distribution of processed oils and oil products by respectable international enterprises, so that it permits fuel distribution. The exclusion of processed oils and oil products is unreasonable. Generally, the presence of foreign suppliers brought numerous advantages for Vietnamese consumers. Especially the admission of foreign fuel suppliers will also bring an increased benefit for Vietnam, namely, for the following reasons:
• Improved safety, reliability and quality of products and services
Leading foreign suppliers have many years of experience in fuel distribution and have been continuously improving the safety of their services and products. For instance, correct additives used by these suppliers in petrol would clean the engines better, thus extend the life of the engines. Petrol is a volatile and dangerous product and can have disastrous effects in case of an accident. High safety standards of leading foreign suppliers will reduce the probability of such accidents. Moreover, the admission of foreign fuel suppliers will force domestic enterprises to improve the safety and quality of their own products and as a result bring benefits for domestic consumers.

• Economic benefit for Vietnam
For different reasons, foreign enterprises bring economic benefit for Vietnam:
• o Additional revenue/taxes: Improved safety and product quality will boost the demand, thus increase the revenue of the Vietnamese government. For instance, most international airline companies currently do not refuel in Vietnam because of concerns about the safety and quality of domestically available products. Instead they refuel outside of Vietnam when they fly to or out of the country. It is not an ideal course of action for the airlines because as a result they are forced to fly heavy airplanes, which entails reduced fuel efficiency. The admission of fuel distribution by leading international enterprises would strengthen the confidence of airline companies that they can obtain high-quality fuel, comparable to airports of other countries, within Vietnam. This increased confidence would at the same time enhance the probability that in future the purchasers/dealers switch to Vietnamese suppliers.

• o Prices: Enhanced competition would cut prices, which would be advantageous for consumers. Vietnam will continue in the next decades to import oil products even for the few refineries which the country plans to build in the near future. Most international companies with internal supply networks, including high-class refineries in the region, have though the capacity to deliver fuels directly, i.e. without the involvement of a third party, to Vietnam, thus to reduce the fuel prices for local consumers.

Closing remarks

This is the first time that the subject “renewable energies” was mentioned in the Master Plan for the Development of Electricity; therefore, the Planning Committee had modest experience in the area of renewable energies. The Ministry of Industry and Trade has drawn up a detailed development plan for renewable energies that is to be added to the Power Master Plan. (Power Master Plan 7)

Please do not hesitate to contact Oliver Massmann under omassmann@duanemorris.com if you have any questions on the above. Oliver Massmann is the General Director of Duane Morris Vietnam LLC.

INTERESTED IN DOING BUSINESS IN VIETNAM? VISIT: www.vietnamlaws.xyz

THANK YOU VERY MUCH!

Rechtsanwalt Vietnam Oliver Massmann Immobilien

Angesichts der anhaltend hohen Kapitalzuflüsse aus dem Ausland auch im Jahr 2014 ist der Immobilienmarkt in Vietnam weiter gewachsen. So flossen etwa 42 % der ausländischen Direktinvestitionen (US$ 20,3 Milliarden) unmittelbar oder mittelbar in Immobilienprojekte. Das Wachstum wird insbesondere von großen internationalen Hotelketten wie Accor oder InterContinental getragen, sowie von Immobiliengroßinvestoren, japanischen und koreanischen Bauunternehmen und schließlich international finanzierten, in Vietnam ansässigen Investmentfonds. Dabei ist zu beobachten, dass sich die Aktivitäten nun weg von den Großstädten in die Richtung zukünftiger Urlaubsressorts orientieren. Das Wachstum hat in jüngster Vergangenheit einen rasanten Preisanstieg zur Folge gehabt, so dass die Mietpreise in Ho Chi Minh City und Hanoi jeweils US$ 125 respektive US$ 200 erreicht haben und somit im asiatischen Raum nur noch hinter Singapur, Peking, Shanghai, Hongkong und Tokyo rangieren. Dagegen hat die Regierung Maßnahmen ergriffen, wie zum Beispiel die Verpflichtung der Banken die Kreditvergabe an Spekulanten im Immobiliensektor zurückzufahren, sowie die Regelung wonach Staatsunternehmen höchstens 30% ihres Kapitals neben dem Hauptgeschäftsfeld in Immobilien, Wertpapiere und Finanzgeschäfte investieren dürfen. Als Folge ist bereits ein Rückgang des für Spekulationen zur Verfügung stehenden Kapitals zu verzeichnen, was wiederum einen abkühlenden Effekt auf die Nachfrage haben dürfte.

a)Gesetz über Wohnungsbau 2010
Die Verordnung 71-2010-ND-CP der Regierung regelt ausführlich die Anwendung des Gesetzes über Wohnungsbau vom 23.06.2010. Die Verordnung 71 ersetzte mit Wirkung zum 08.08.2010 die Verordnung 90 vollständig. Geändert wurde die Verfahrensweise für Investitionen und Kapitalbeschaffung. Neu ist auch das Erfordernis einer Premierministererlaubnis für Vorhaben mit mehr als 2.500 Wohneinheiten. Der Bauherr muss Genehmigungen einholen für ein Modell des Vorhabens im Maßstab 1:500 und neuerdings auch für eine Durchführbarkeitsstudie, die die Entwurfsgrundlagen des Wohnungsbauprojekts enthalten muss. Die Verordnung 71 gibt auch Aufschluss über die zur Verfügung stehenden Möglichkeiten der Kapitalbeschaffung für die Bauherren unter erstmaliger Beachtung der gegenwärtig marktüblichen Methoden zur Kapitalbeschaffung wie Kapitalbeteiligungsvereinbarungen und Verträgen über die Invetitionszusammenarbeit in Form von vorvertraglichen Vereinbarungen. Weiterhin wurden alle Musterverträge für den Wohnungsbau, wie sie noch in der Verordnung 90 enthalten waren, gestrichen. Die neue Verordnung ordnet darüber hinaus dem Ministerium für Wohnungsbau eien wichtige Rolle bei der Überwachung der Baukapitalbeschaffung und dem Verkauf von Wohneinheiten zu.

b)Wohnungseigentum und Landnutzungsrechte
Dieser Abschnitt befasst sich mit dem mit Landnutzungsrechten verbundenen Wohnungseigentum für ausländische Organisationen und ausländische Personen in Vietnam.
Nachdem zunächst die Problematik dargestellt wird, werden im Folgenden Lösungsvorschläge unterbreitet.

i.Einführung
Zurzeit sehen wir uns überall auf der Welt einer Wirtschaftskrise ausgesetzt, die von einigen sogar als die schwerste Rezession überhaupt bezeichnet wird. Die Exportnation Vietnam sieht sich ebenfalls vor die Herausforderungen gestellt, die der sinkende Konsum verursacht. Es lassen sich jedoch erste Anzeichen einer wirtschaftlichen Erholung erkennen. Ausgelöst durch den wirtschaftlichen Abschwung besteht in Vietnam zum gegenwärtigen Zeitpunkt ein Überangebot an Wohn- und Gewerbeimmobilien. Sowohl örtlich ansässige als auch ausländische Bauunternehmer haben Schwierigkeiten bereits erbautes oder geplantes Eigentum zu verkaufen und/oder zu verpachten bzw. zu vermieten. Eine liberalere Politik, die ausländisches Wohneigentum in Vietnam zulässt, würde zu einem Anstieg liquider Mittel am Markt führen. Weiterhin würde eine solche Öffnung des vietnamesischen Immobilienmarktes diesen einerseits wieder ankurbeln, andererseits zu einer höheren Beteiligung am Grundstücksmarkt beitragen. Das Entscheidende ist jedoch, dass die vietnamesische Regierung gegenüber der eigenen und der internationalen Gemeinschaft klar und deutlich zum Ausdruck bringt, dass sie in der Lage ist, zügig auf die Bedürfnisse der Bevölkerung zu reagieren.

ii.Gegenwärtige gesetzliche Rahmenbedingungen
Nicht ansässige ausländische natürliche und juristische Personen:
Nichteinheimischen natürlichen und juristischen Personen mit Auslandswohnsitz bzw. Auslandshauptsitz ist es nach gegenwärtigem vietnamesischem Recht nicht gestattet, Eigentum in Vietnam zu mieten und /oder zu kaufen.

Empfehlung: Nicht ansässigen ausländischen natürlichen und juristischen Personen sollte es erlaubt sein, Immobilien in Vietnam zu erwerben oder zu mieten. In vielen anderen Ländern der Region ist dies bereits unter gewissen Beschränkungen möglich. Sollte die Befürchtung bestehen, dass Einheimischen infolgedessen die Möglichkeit genommen werde, vietnamesisches Eigentum zu erwerben, so kann dem im Wege der Auferlegung von Beschränkungen entgegengewirkt werden, wie z.B. der Einführung von Mindestpreisfestsetzungen oder der Einführung einer Mindestquote an lokalen Eigentümern. Unserer Ansicht nach sind solche Beschränkungen jedoch völlig unnötig, da der Immobilienmarkt durchaus in der Lage ist, solche Aspekte durch eigene Mechanismen effektiv zu regeln. Denn Eigentum wird sich nur dort verkaufen, wo auch die Nachfrage gegeben ist, so dass die Aufnahme zusätzlicher Beschränkungen überflüssig wäre.

Ansässige ausländische natürliche und juristische Personen:
Ausländischen natürlichen und juristischen Personen, denen eine Einreiseerlaubnis und das Aufenthaltsrecht in Vietnam für einen Zeitraum von drei oder mehr aufeinander folgenden Monaten erteilt worden ist, ist es rechtlich gestattet, Wohnräume in Vietnam zu mieten.

iii.Apartments zu Wohnzwecken
Die Resolution No. 19/2008/NQ-QH12- ein Pilotprojekt, in Form einer Erlaubnis für ausländische Organisationen und ausländischen Personen, Wohnhäuser in Vietnam zu kaufen und zu besitzen („Resolution 19“), ist seit dem 1. Januar 2009 in Kraft getreten und ermöglicht es bestimmten ausländischen natürlichen und juristischen Personen, Apartment-Einheiten zu Wohnzwecken zu erwerben.

Ansässige ausländische Personen:
Folgenden ausländischen Personen ist es erlaubt, Wohnhäuser in Vietnam zu erwerben und zu besitzen:

(a) Ausländischen Personen, die direkt in Vietnam investieren und dabei im Einklang mit dem vietnamesischen Investitionsrecht handeln oder denjenigen, die in Managerpositionen bei einem inhaltlich in Vietnam operierenden Unternehmen angestellt sind

(b) Ausländischen Personen, die aufgrund ihres Beitrages für Vietnam vom vietnamesischen Präsidenten mit einer Auszeichnung oder einer Medaille geehrt wurden; und Ausländern, die einen besonderen, der Entscheidung des Premierministers unterfallenden, Beitrag für Vietnam geleistet haben

(c) Ausländischen Personen, die derzeit im sozial-wirtschaftlichen Bereich mit einem Universitätsabschluss oder einer vergleichbaren Qualifikation tätig sind und zudem über technisches Verständnis und technische Fähigkeiten verfügen, die in Vietnam gefragt sind; oder

(d) Ausländischen Personen, die mit einem vietnamesischen Staatsbürger / mit einer vietnamesischen Staatsbürgerin verheiratet sind; (im Kollektiv bezeichnet als „ausländische ansässige natürliche Personen“)

Von ausländischen ansässigen natürlichen Personen wird gegenwärtig gefordert, dass sie einen Wohnsitz in Vietnam besitzen und eine Erlaubnis von der zuständigen vietnamesischen staatlichen Gesellschaft vorweisen können, die es ihnen ermöglicht, für einen Zeitraum von mindestens einem Jahr in Vietnam wohnhaft zu sein. Hierunter fallen jedoch nicht diejenigen Personen, die nach vietnamesischem Recht, dem Schutz diplomatischer Vertretungen unterstehen sowie konsularische Privilegien genießen. Diesen Personen soll es erlaubt sein, jederzeit ein Apartment in einem Apartmentkomplex eines Bauprojektes mit gewerblichen Wohnhäusern zu besitzen.

Die Resolution 19 schreibt fest, dass es jeder ausländischen ansässigen natürlichen Person erlaubt sein soll, eine Wohnung für eine Zeitspanne von maximal 50 Jahren, gerechnet ab dem Ausstellungsdatum des Zertifikats, welches das Eigentumsrecht an Wohnhäusern verbrieft, zu besitzen; anschließend muss dieses Wohneigentum mit Ablauf der Periode, während der das Eigentumsrecht bestand, innerhalb von 12 Monaten in Vietnam verkauft oder gespendet werden.

Ansässige ausländische juristische Personen:
Einem Unternehmen, welches ausländisches Kapital besitzt und gegenwärtig in Vietnam, nicht jedoch im Grundeigentumsgeschäft tätig ist und Wohnhäuser für ihre Angestellten benötigt (so genannte „ansässige, ausländische juristische Personen“), soll es erlaubt sein, ein oder mehrere Wohnungen in einem Gebäude oder in mehreren Gebäuden eines Bauprojektes mit gewerblichen Wohnhäusern zu besitzen, vorausgesetzt diese dienen der Benutzung als Wohnraum für ihre Mitarbeiter.

Jedem Unternehmen mit ausländischem Eigenkapital soll die Möglichkeit gegeben werden, Apartments zu Wohnzwecken für exakt denselben Zeitraum zu besitzen, die der vertraglich festgesetzten Gültigkeitsdauer des ihm ausgestellten Investmentzertifikats entspricht, wobei eventuelle Verlängerungen eingeschlossen sind.

Herausforderungen:
Derzeit existiert kein Umsetzungsrecht mit Richtlinien und Formularen zur Registrierung der Wohnungseigentumsrechten, die der Resolution 1 9 unterfallen. Zum jetzigen Zeitpunkt ist es unmöglich, diese Sache in Angriff zu nehmen.

Empfehlung: Erlass von Umsetzungsvorschriften, die das Verfahren und die Form regeln, um eine effiziente Durchsetzung dieses Erwerbrechts zu gewährleisten.

iv.Gewerbliches Eigentum
Ansässige ausländische natürliche und juristische Personen sind momentan nicht berechtigt, Eigentum zu Gewerbezwecken käuflich zu erwerben.

Empfehlung: Da es ansässigen ausländischen natürlichen und juristischen Personen bereits zusteht, Wohneigentum zu erstehen, sollte dieses Recht auch auf gewerbliches Eigentum ausgeweitet werden. Dies würde weitere Investitionen im Immobiliensektor fördern. Sofern in anderen Rechtssystemen Restriktionen vorhanden sind, dann für gewöhnlich nur hinsichtlich Eigentumsrechten an Wohneigentum. Für weitere Details siehe bitte Anlage 1.

Decree 121 vom 01.03.2011 ersetzt Artikel 12 des Decree 69-2009-ND-CP über die Planung von Landnutzung, Landpreisen, Landwiedergewinnung, Entschädigung, Unterstützung und Wiederbesiedelung. Dabei wird klargestellt, dass sowohl Land als auch der Untergrund gemeinsam verpachtet werden und die alleinige Nutzung des Untergrundes die Pacht der Oberfläche miterfordert. Landpacht muss jährlich bezahlt werden, zu einer Rate von 1,5 % (Standardrate) des vom örtlichen Volkskomitee für das Grundstück jeweils festgelegten Preises. Dabei kann der festgelegte Preis anhand des Marktpreises verändert werden und eine höhere Rate von bis zu 3 % (spezielle Rate) für spezielle Grundstücke oder eine niedrigere Rate von mindestens 0,5 % für besonders förderungswürdige Gebiete angesetzt werden. Für die Errichtung reiner Untergrundkonstruktionen beträgt die Miete nicht mehr als 30 % der normalen Landpacht. Weiterhin wird die Projektdauer des Investmentzertifikates an die Pachtdauer angepasst. Landentschädigung wird mit der Landpacht aufgerechnet. In Fällen in denen die Pacht über 5 Monate mehr als 20 % steigt, kann das Finanzministerium oder das Volkskomitee die Pacht ändern, um sie dem neuen Landpreis anzupassen. Üblicherweise kann der Pächter wahlweise jährlich oder pauschal per Vorkasse zahlen, wobei in bestimmten Fällen eine einmalige Vorauszahlung vorgeschrieben ist.

Regelungen für Landnutzungsgebühren (LNG) stellt Decree 120-2010-ND-CP vom 01.03.2011 auf. Grundsätzlich fallen für staatlich zugewiesene Flächen LNG für die Landnutzer an, während für vom Staat gemietete Flächen Pacht anfällt. Nur vietnamesische Personen und Organisationen haben die Wahl, ob sie Flächen zugewiesen bekommen oder pachten möchten. Ausländisch (finanzierte) Unternehmen können ausschließlich pachten, gleiches gilt für die ausschließliche Nutzung von Untergrund ohne Ansehen der Person. LNG werden durch eine Einmahlzahlung beglichen. Für langfrisitige Zeiträume oder einen 70 -Jahres-Zeitraum beträgt die LNG den festgelegten Landpreis (siehe oben). Bei weniger als 70 Jahren verringert sich die Gebühr um jährlich 1,2 %. Der Preis wird durch das Volkskomitee veröffentlicht und kann entsprechend verändert werden. Pächter können ebenso wie Landnutzer dieselben Abzüge und Kredite für Landentschädigungskosten erhalten. Dies zeigt, dass jedenfalls in finanzieller Hinsicht ausländische Pächter gleich wie vietnamesische Landnutzer behandelt werden, unabhängig davon, ob vietnamesische Nutzer sich für LNG oder Pacht entscheiden.

v.Grundeigentum zu Wohnzwecken
Ansässige ausländische natürliche und juristische Personen haben zurzeit kein Recht, Grundeigentum zu Wohnzwecken zu kaufen.

Empfehlung: Da ansässigen ausländischen natürlichen und juristischen Personen bereits die Möglichkeit gewährt wird, Wohnungen käuflich zu erwerben, sollte dieses Recht auch für Grundeigentum zu Wohnzwecken gelten.

vi.Neue LUR Zertifikate
Durch das Gesetz 38-2009/QH12, das eine Reihe von Land- Wohnungs- und Baugesetzen ändert, wurde ein neues „Zertifikat für Landnutzungsrecht (land use right, LUR), Hauseigentum und mit Grundstücken verbundenen Vermögensgegenständen“ geschaffen. Dieses ist jetzt das einzige Zertifikat, das Landbesitzern mit LURs oder Hauseigentum bzw. Eigentum an mit Grundstücken verbundenen Vermögensgegenständen erteilt wird. Das Ministerium für natürliche Ressourcen und Umwelt (MONRE) hat ein Standardformular-Zertifikat entworfen und verbreitet. Dabei handelt es sich um ein beidseitig bedrucktes A3-Dokument, das in vier A4 Dokumente unterteilt ist. Nach dem Circular 17/2009-TT-BTNMT können im vierten Teil des Zertifikats Veränderungen wie neue Transaktionen, Veränderungen der Grundstücksfläche, Nutzungszweck und -Dauer, Parzellennr. und Kartennr sowie Eintragungen über ausstehende Landnutzungsgebühren eingetragen werden. Mit der Zeit hat diese Informationsfülle diese Praxis unpraktikabel gemacht. Glücklicherweise hilft das Circular 20-2010/TT-BTNMT ab, indem es dem neuen Besitzer die Verwendung eines neuen Zertifikats mit zusätzlichen Seiten zum Nachweis einer Hypothek auf das LUR oder mit Grundstücken verbundenen Vermögensgegenständen oder die Untervermietung des Grundstücks durch den Entwickler einer Industriezone, High-Tech Zone oder Wirtschaftszone erlaubt. Die Registerbehörde für LURs können Änderungen in der vierten Abteilung des Zertifikats aufzeichnen und die durch Siegel nachweisen. Anstelle der Registerbehörden stellen Provinz- oder Distriktvolkskomitees die neuen Zertifikate für neue Besitzer aus.

Bitte kontaktieren Sie den Autor Oliver Massmann direkt unter omassmann@duanemorris.com wenn Sie Fragen haben. Oliver Massmann ist der Generaldirektor von Duane Morris Vietnam LLC.

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