Tag Archives: business



On 24 January 2017, the Government issued Decree No. 06/2017/ND-CP, which for the first time legalizes international soccer betting in addition to horse racing betting and greyhound racing betting (Betting Decree).

Some key features:

  1. Betting business is treated as a conditional business sector the satisfaction of which is evidenced by a certificate of satisfaction of betting business conditions (Betting Business License).
  2. An entity can only do horse racing betting, greyhound racing betting once they have received an investment registration certificate (which, for a foreign invested company also serves as a certificate of incorporation) and a certificate for satisfaction of business conditions. The investment registration certificate will only be granted for horse racing betting projects with minimum investment capital of VND1,000 billion (~USD459 million). For greyhound betting projects, the minimum investment capital is VND300 billion (~USD137 million).
  3. Investment registration certificate will only be granted to 01 (one) international soccer betting pilot project with minimum investment capital of VND1,000 billion (~USD459 million). The international soccer betting pilot entity will operate within 5 years from the issuance of the Betting Business License.
  4. The Ministry of Finance will grant the Betting Business License to entities with adequate financial resources, business plans and an appropriate betting and racing bylaws.
  5. Enterprises doing horse racing and greyhound racing business must be in the form of a limited liability company or a joint stock company.
  6. A Betting Business License’s term is maximum 10 years for horse and greyhound racing betting business and 5 years for international soccer betting business from its issuance date but still within the lifespan of the Investment Registration Certificate.
  7. The maximum bet is VND1 million (~USD50) a day and the minimum bet is VND10,000 (~US 50 cents). These limits could be adjusted for each period.
  8. Players must be 21 years old and over and not being objected in writing by parents, spouses, biological children and/or themselves to bet.
  9. There should be no more than three horse/ greyhound races in a week at each location.
  10. The minimum rebate shall be 65% of the revenues from selling wagering tickets.
  11. Wagering tickets will be distributed via terminal equipment and telephone (fixed and mobile ones), excluding via Internet or internet-based applications on telephone. However, distribution of wagering tickets via telephone will only be implemented 01 (one) year after implementing the terminal equipment distribution method. In order to bet via telephone, players must have a registered account with the betting business entity. Payment of rebate must be via the players’ registered account and the bank account of the betting business entity opened at a lawful credit institution in Vietnam.
  12. The Betting Decree will take effect from 31st March 2017


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.

Thank you very much!


Successful business in Vietnam – What you must know and do :

  1. What are the benefits for foreign enterprises when they buy goods in Vietnam?

Vietnam offers young workforce and the wages that are roughly half those in China. Therefore, it is reasonable for Vietnamese goods to be far cheaper than other nations in the world. Moreover, not only are the prices low, the quality of Vietnamese goods is considerably high. With several Free Trade Agreements signed, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Vietnam has been improving its goods’ quality in order to increase its competitiveness in the global market. As a result, Vietnamese goods should be attractive to foreign enterprises.

  1. What is special about Vietnamese companies and what makes them outstanding in comparison to other Asian companies?

In addition to young workforce and low wages as mentioned in the above answer, Vietnam also offers the long coastline from the North to the South of the country, which no other country in Asia has. This does not only provide the nation with excessive resources but also opportunities to promote the tourism industry. Moreover, unlike many developed countries in Asia such as China or Singapore, Vietnam is still at its developing stage. This also contributes to the attractiveness of the market here.

  1. What is special about the Vietnamese market and its structure?

Although Vietnam is an effervescent market, the production of some types of goods still does not meet the demand. If the investors study this market well and focus on investing into these sectors, it is likely that they will succeed.

  1. How can foreign companies get in contact with Vietnamese companies? Do you think it is necessary to use the support of a consultant company for example?

Foreign companies should search for contacts of Vietnamese ones online or via some reliable webpages such as https://dangkykinhdoanh.gov.vn/. Through this website, information regarding the founders, chief executive officers, their business lines  and other information regarding companies in Vietnam could be found.

  1. What do Vietnamese companies expect from their foreign cooperation partner?

Vietnamese companies, like the majority, seek for profit. As long as the cooperation follows the contract and results in profit, the Vietnamese companies’ expectations should be fulfilled. In order to do this, foreign investors should be able to fully understand the Vietnamese market as well its culture, strictly follow the law and provide great business plans.

  1. If the right partner is found, the cooperation should be maintained in form of a contract or is a handshake enough?

It depends on the level of cooperation you wish to have. If you want to enter into a serious cooperation, for example, to do a business in Vietnam via an entity, although oral contracts are just as valid as written ones, a cooperation contract should be in writing, or that a contract be evidenced in writing (although the contract itself may be oral). Therefore, it is recommended that all cooperation should be signed under a legally binding contract.

  1. Of what value is a contract in Vietnam in general and what options are available to enforce the content legally?

According to Article 401 of the Civil Code, a contract legally entered into shall take effect from the time when it is entered into, unless otherwise agreed or otherwise provided by law. From the effective date of the contract, contracting parties must mutually exercise rights and perform obligations as agreed. A contract may be amended or terminated as agreed by the parties or prescribed by law.

To enforce your contract in Vietnam, you should start by contacting the other party to see if she intends to perform and fulfill her part of the agreement. If the other party has not substantially performed on the contract after being provided notice, you may institute legal action for breach of contract. Before taking legal action, check the terms of your contract to see if arbitration, mediation or court proceeding is required. Even if not required, you may opt to enter settlement negotiations with the other party or see if the problem can be settled through mediation or arbitration.

  1. Which place of jurisdiction should be included in the contract, should it be Vietnam or another country?

If one signing party is a foreign entity or partly owned by another foreign entity, the parties could opt to use foreign law as the governing law of the contract. In addition, regardless of whether one party is a foreign entity or not, the parties could decide to settle any dispute arising out of the contract by a foreign settling body. Having said that, implementation of the contract must still comply with Vietnam laws.

  1. The legal situation in Vietnam is somewhat obscure for a foreign investor. What do you recommend foreign investors in this matter, so that they can focus on their business content?

It is a must that foreign investors ask all consultants in Vietnam whether they have a professional liability insurance according to international standards. Most of Vietnamese law firms have not. Their professional liability insurance is capped at low levels and subject to Vietnamese courts, that’s useless because Vietnamese courts aren’t reliable.

Before you sign any services agreement with any legal advisor / law firm/ consulting firm in Vietnam, please do the following: COPY PASTE THIS REQUEST IN YOUR EMAIL TO THEM AND WAIT FOR THE REPLY:

Dear Ms/Mr ….,

Please send us the valid evidence that your company has an international standard and enforceable offshore professional legal liability insurance with dispute resolution offshore Vietnam and not subject to Vietnamese court or Vietnamese arbitration.

We would be happy to cooperate and retain your services if you can prove that your company is professionally insured to provide legal services to international clients according to international standards.

Thank you very much

Best regards

  1. Do you recommend an intercultural training to foreign entrepreneurs in advance?

Every market has its own distinctive features and the Vietnamese market is not an exception. Moreover, as the Vietnamese and foreign cultures are considerably distant, it can be expected that there may be several differences between the two markets. Therefore, familiarize oneself with the market before investing through intercultural training programs can always be a great solution to foreign entrepreneurs. In this way, not only will these people learn about the Vietnamese culture, but they will also learn about how to do business in this country.

  1. A good friend of you wants to produce in Vietnam and export Vietnamese products into the foreign market. What are your recommendations? Whatshould he consider in order to succeed?

First of all, it should be noted that the Vietnamese market is open to foreign investors. Also, although the free trade agreement between Vietnam and EU has not been signed, the negotiation has already been finalized. Therefore, this could be another advantage to foreign SMEs. However, as mentioned, the Vietnamese law could be considerably ambiguous. Consequently, it is recommended that these SMEs strictly follow the law and consult legal agencies for appropriate advices. Also, cultural features can either be an advantage or a disadvantage. If a company knows how to utilize the cultural differences appropriately, that company is likely to succeed in the Vietnamese market. Otherwise, these differences can become obstacles to them. As a result, intercultural training programs should also be considered.

Please contact Oliver Massmann under omassmann@duanemorris.com; in case you have questions on the above. Oliver Massmann is General Director of Duane Morris Vietnam LLC.

Lawyer in Vietnam Oliver Massmann Transportation and Logistics businesses Requirements to apply for the badges: Which way for wholly owned foreign enterprises?

On 10 September 2014, the Government issued Decree No. 86/2014/ND-CP setting out conditions on transportation business (Decree 86) that automotive vehicles with designed capacity of 10 tones and above and from 7-10 tones must bear badges (the Badges). On 7 November 2014, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MT) issued Circular No. 63/2014/TT-BGTVT guiding Decree 86 (Circular 63), which requires that only enterprises having the Certificate of doing transport business by automotive vehicles can apply for the Badges.
However, according to Vietnam’s WTO Schedule of Specific Commitments in Services, foreign contribution in a joint venture doing transportation services must not exceed 49% of the total charter capital of that joint venture. Accordingly, enterprises with more than 51% foreign ownership do not have transportation business in their investment certificates, resulting in the impossibility to obtain the Certificate of doing transport business by automotive vehicles. This further leads to the fact that these enterprises will neither be able to apply for the Badges.
Moreover, Decree 86 creates the concept of ‘transport business with indirect money collection’ which is defined as ‘the transport business by automotive vehicles, in which the transport business units perform the transport phase and perform at least another phase in the process from production to consumption of products or services and collect freight through revenues from such products or services’ (Article 3.3). Circular 63 further requires trucks used by companies that carry out the transport business with indirect money collection to affix the Badges thereon when in traffic.
It is noted that some enterprises, considering their business nature, have to invest in specialized means of transportation to transport their own products between their locations and to their customers in Vietnam (for example, industrial gas products). Examples would be road tankers, special trailers and tube trailer, etc. that must be imported because their special designs make them impossible to be produced in Vietnam. Given high technical safety standards of international level, it is nearly impossible/very difficult for enterprises to rent these special vehicles in Vietnam while relying on the same standards.
It does also not make any business and legal sense if a manufacturing foreign invested enterprise which is allowed to import means of transport for its operations to serve its production activities is forced to register for professional transportation business or outsource this internal job to a professional business transportation company. In fact, thousands of other foreign invested enterprises have been long granted with the right to import means of transportation without any requirement on transportation business until the adoption of Decree 86.
Considering the abovementioned difficulties of enterprises with more than 49% foreign ownership doing business in crude oil products with special characteristics, the Ministry of Transport has proposed to the Government to consider the issuance of the Badges for vehicles of these enterprises without requiring the Certificate of doing transport business by automotive vehicles, and at the same time consider the amendment of Decree 86.
Consequently on 30 March 2016, the Prime Minister issued Resolution No. 23/NQ-CP which clearly states that in the short term, the Government allows the Ministry of Transport to issue the Badges to commodity carrying trucks of foreign invested enterprises with 49% foreign ownership or more for the purpose of the main production and business of these companies. For the next step, the Ministry of Transportation is responsible for incorporating the same regulations in the amendments of Decree 86. This has basically solved difficulties resulting from Decree 86 for enterprises with 49% foreign ownership or more.
Please do not hesitate to contact Oliver Massmann under omassmann@duanemorris.com if you have any questions or want to know more details on the above. Oliver Massmann is the General Director of Duane Morris Vietnam LLC.

Vietnam – Bloomberg asking Lawyer in Vietnam Oliver Massmann on investment trends in 2016

1. Do you see a growing interest in Vietnam by foreign companies and investors? If so, why?

Yes. The country’s deeper and wider integration into the world’s economy is offering new opportunities for M&A activities. Encouraging signs for foreign investment are the recovery of the macro-economy (Vietnam economy grows at highest rate in five years), reformed policies to open a wider door to foreign investors, the conclusion of FTAs and TPP, the bouncing back of the stock market, and new regulations including wider room for foreign investors ownership in public listed companies.

The introduction of the new Investment Law, Enterprise Law and other commercial laws and economic policies are creating a better legal environment for investment and trade in general and M&A market.

Major M&A trends in Vietnam are forecasted for 2016, including bank restructuring, acquisition and mergers, growing Japanese investment in Vietnam via M&A and reform of state-owned enterprises. The derivatives market being expected to open next year will help prevent risks and boost the growth of the stock market, promoting M&A deals.

2. Do you think this trend will be sustainable next year?

The trend will continue next year. If foreign investors come to Vietnam to participate in production and business, they could approach large markets that are member countries of the TPP and EVFTA. In the past few years, there have been many large projects of the US, Japan and EU to take advantage of the upcoming trade pacts because timing is of the essence and first comers benefit the most.

Many other international groups have also expressed their intention to relocate the business and production to Vietnam. The real impacts of many recent sealed trade deals need to be assessed over a longer period, but the trend will continue until and after their effective date.

3. What does this mean for the economy and what do you think the government should do to attract more foreign investment?

Vietnam must walk its talk with regard to its Asean Economic Community Commitments (AEC) and WTO Commitments and TPP and EU Vietnam FTA Commitments to be credible for foreign investors.

Only then Vietnam will attract a greater and sustainable flow of foreign direct investment capital.

Institutional reforms, especially in public investment procedures and Dispute Resolution as well as Enforcement of Arbitration Awards are a “MUST” to facilitate foreign investment, leading to a more efficient legal framework, higher productivity, better investment environment as well as improvement in business capacity, living standards and higher level of development.

However, in the meantime, the Government should:

– Take action to solve the Non-Performing loan problem by moving away from over supporting the State Owned Enterprise sector with loans.

– Active support for the private sector with establishing a performance based access system for loans.

– Improve the Education System

– Improve labor productivity via vocational training

– Reform tortuous customs and tax procedures

– Review all sectors to take advantage of the upcoming trade pacts, create facilitated business environment and implements its International Commitments in time without delay

– Work on changing the mindset of the policy makers towards pro-Western faction rather than pro-Beijing one only. We recognize a “drift” towards China in the last decade. We hope Vietnam’s membership to the AEC, the TPP and EUVN FTA will restore balance.

– Improve transport and social infrastructure

– Continue to control inflation rate and reduce red tape. At this stage allow me to congratulate the State Bank of Vietnam which has done a great job re control of inflation in the last years.

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

Lawyer in Vietnam Oliver Massmann New Vietnam investment law won’t help public sector

“As only a minority of the shares is offered for sale, the investors are not quite interested.” Oliver Massmann, General Director, Duane Morris Vietnam LLC
A new investment law that took effect in July is likely to keep investment flowing to Vietnam’s private sector but won’t help Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung achieve this year’s target for selling minority stakes in several hundred public-sector firms.
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung’s push to sell minority stakes and reduce bloat in nearly 300 Vietnamese state-owned firms by the end of the year is unlikely to be successful despite recent reforms in business laws implemented in July that make it easier for foreign investors to acquire companies.
“This seems to be an ambitious target as the number of privatized enterprises is only 61 in the first six months of 2015,” Oliver Massmann, general director at the Hanoi office of corporate law firm Duane Morris LLP, tells MGO via email. “Moreover, as only a minority of the shares is offered for sale, the investors are not quite interested in the transaction, especially when they would not have any decision-making power or their involvement in the management of the enterprise is very limited.”
Public sector firms account for 30 percent of Vietnam’s GDP, and the country has been seeking to privatize and restructure them in order to reduce their debt, confine spending to core business activities, and help them acquire strategic foreign partnerships. According to a piece Mr. Massmann wrote for industry magazine The Asia Miner last year, state enterprises own 70 percent of property in Vietnam and account for 60 percent of commercial bank credit.
But despite initiating the process of restructuring and reforming public firms several years ago, Vietnam has been unable so far to address a number of factors that are hampering the divestment process.
Vietnam law continues to cap foreign ownership at 49 percent in listed firms, which many public sector enterprises are. And in most cases Vietnam is not selling stakes anywhere near the 49 percent limit — or even large enough to give investors decision-blocking powers.
In addition, it remains difficult for investors to value the shares that are being offered, given the lack of adequate audit reports. As a result, the Vietnamese Ministry of Finance is carrying out valuations of each firm. As recently as last month, Asian Development Bank’s chief economist Aaron Batten noted that only 8 percent of state firms publish financial reports on their websites, according to a report in the English-language daily Viet Nam News.
Due to these unresolved factors, Vietnam also fell short of its disinvestment target in 2014. Now, with stock markets in the region wobbly, public sector firms are likely to have an even harder time than they did last year, when as many as 143 firms were able to privatize some shares, according to Vietnamese media reports.
Mr. Massmann clarified, however, that the lack of investor interest in public enterprises comes against the backdrop of an improved overall investment and business climate in the country.
The 2014 Investment Law, which went into effect July 1, does away with something called an investment certificate, a business registration for foreign investors that was supposed to be approved in 45 days but in practice took four to six months to process, according to Mr. Massmann’s firm.
The law has also reduced the number of “conditional” business activities, areas of the economy in which investors have to seek approval with provincial planning departments. Construction, urban planning and education continue to remain conditional activities, but even in these sectors, acquisitions should become much easier, business analysts say.
Meanwhile, earlier tax law changes have also drastically cut the hours businesses spend on tax preparation and filing,
Vietnam has made “positive changes to improve the business environment and strengthen the economy’s ability to compete in 2015 and 2016,” Mr. Massmann tells MGO.
The apparel and textile manufacturing sector has drawn a large share of investment this year and is likely to continue to do so. Seafood processing, electronics manufacturing and retail and banking are also likely to attract investment into next year.
Mr. Massmann also foresees that the government will try to make investing in state firms more attractive by increasing the share of equity for sale, something that has so far been resisted by the management of many state firms, who perhaps fear that equity shares that allow for closer scrutiny of corporate governance could expose poor management or even corruption.


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.

BREAKING NEWS – EU – Vietnam Free Trade Agreement: In-principle agreement reached – Vietnam to benefit from greater market access for its goods and services – WHAT YOU MUST KNOW:

The Minister of Industry and Trade of Vietnam, H.E. Vu Huy Hoang and the European Commissioner for Trade, H.E. Cecilia Malmström agreed in principle on the Vietnam-EU Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
After a teleconference on the 4th August 2015 and three years of negotiations with commitments taken by both sides the FTA is considered one of the most comprehensive and ambitious trade and investment agreement. The legal text will be negotiated after the summer break and both sides are aiming to sign and ratify the agreement within this year. It is the second agreement in the ASEAN region after Singapore and it will intensify the bilateral relations between Vietnam and the EU.
The agreement will comprises of Trade of Goods, Rules of Origin, Customs and Trade Facilitation, Sanitary and Phytosanitary measures and Technical Barriers to Trade, Trade in Services, Investment, Trade Remedies, competition, State-Owned Enterprises, Government Procurement, Intellectual Property, sustainable Development, Cooperation and Capacity Building, Legal and Institutional Issues.
The FTA is considered to bring a positive impact for both sides especially for the Trade and Investment Sectors.
Nearly all customs duties – over 99% of the tariffs will be eliminated. The small remaining number is mainly due to the transition period. Vietnam will liberalize 65% of import duties on EU exports to Vietnam at entry into force and the remaining duties will be eliminated due to the next ten years; EU duties will be eliminated over a seven year period. The market will be opened for most of EU food products, i.e. wine, spirits and frozen pork meat will be liberalized after seven years and dairy products after a maximum of five years. The EU will eliminate duties for some sensitive products in the textile and footwear sector. The EU has offered access to Vietnamese exports via tariff rate quotas (TRQs), because some sensitive agricultural products will not be fully liberalized. Furthermore, the agreement will contain an annex with provisions to address non-tariff barriers in the automotive sector.
Regarding the investment sector, the FTA will be able to ensure an open and conductive business and investment environment, particularly will it help to promote the capital flow from the EU and gives Vietnam the opportunity to become a hub whilst connecting the EU’s trade and investments with the region. Both sides have achieved a lot, but the provisions concerning the investment protection and dispute settlements are still being negotiated.
The commitments made concerning investment, trade in service, government procurement, intellectual property rights, etc. will ensure an overall balance between both sides. Even Vietnam has to adapt new regulations. Those adjustments are in content with the Vietnamese attempt of administrative reforms to strengthen the country. Moreover Vietnam will achieve a grade of transparency and procedural fairness.
In the context of Intellectual Property Rights Vietnam has itself committed to standards which go beyond those of the WTO TRIP agreement and is creating a safer environment for EU innovations and brands and a stronger enforcement of those provisions.
Signing the FTA will have a broad impact on Vietnam, i.e. create more jobs and stabilize the welfare for Vietnam. Furthermore, there will be many opportunities to get access to modern technology and sharpen management skills.
There will be a framework within the FTA to resolve any future disagreement which may follow about the understanding and implementation of the agreement.


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.