Tag Archives: EVFTA

VIETNAM – MAIN ISSUES RESTRAINING INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT AND OUTLOOK ON THE EUROPEAN UNION-VIETNAM FREE TRADE AGREEMENT (EVFTA)

Vietnam’s ability to continue expanding its economy is linked to competitiveness. It is clear that supporting institutional regulatory reform and infrastructure development will ensure economic growth in the country. In practice, this approach is feasible by promoting public-private partnership (PPP). This goal includes a long-term investment in infrastructure that harmonizes PPP investors and Vietnamese Government’s interests.

By way of illustration, State-owned enterprises (SOEs) remain dominated in Vietnam. However, due to budget pressure, the government is committed to reform SOEs. Accelerating the development of foreign investment requires new approach to create a favorable legal framework for PPP. The issuance of a long awaited Decision 58/2016/QD-TTg (Decision 58) on classification of SOEs, is expected to facilitate the process.

Another key aspect to consider is SOE equitization for revenue reasons. In 2016, the State received approximately USD800 million from equitization and allocated some of these funds to reduce budget deficit.[1] Although the equitization process started in 1992, only around 2,600 firms have been equitized in the first 13 years of that program.[2] Meanwhile, the goal during 2014-2015 was to equitize 432 SOEs.[3] According to Decision 58, it is expected to rearrange 103 SOEs and equitize 137 SOEs within 2016-2020 period.

The historic poor performance of SOEs equitization is about to change gradually. Furthermore, there are some questions to address from the investors perspective since the State plans to retain ownership from below 50% (in 106 enterprises), 50%- 65% (in 27 enterprises) and above 65% (in 4 enterprises) by 2020 across different sectors.

Despite the efforts to enhance investments in infrastructure and energy, many issues related to the implementation of current regulations that affect transparency and enterprise value remain unresolved, namely:

Share price

Currently share price as determined by the Government must be market price. There are cases when market price is determined based on the listed price or transaction price in the UpCom market. However, such market price determination is not fair and accurate when the shares are sold to strategic shareholders due to the nature of the participants in the securities markets (i.e., participants are mainly financial institutions and speculators) as well as the minority percentage of listed stock compared with the total shares of the listed companies. Indeed, share price when sold to strategic shareholders must be the lowest successful bid price in an IPO. In addition, share price of joint stock companies listed on UpCom market must not be within the price range of that securities code on the transfer date.

Public-private partnership (PPP)

Implementation of Decree 15 on PPP has shown certain limitations. Opening a new chapter of PPP requires further work in understanding strategic factors that make PPP effective and ensure that key risk minimizing solutions are undertaken properly.

Bankability is a crucial issue during the project structuring phase. The requirements for a project to be bankable differ from sector to sector or by jurisdictions. However, there are common factors that render the project bankability and raise its risk exposure such as restrictions on mortgaging land use rights to foreign lenders, complex investment approvals to investors (e.g., land acquisition process), and payment ability of an SOE off-taker. Therefore, practical preferential policies should be issued to strengthen PPP investment.

In addition, investment in the form of PPP is more complex than public investment. However, in the management of PPP projects, public investment laws and regulations have currently been applied, resulting in lengthy investment procedures. Furthermore, there is a problem regarding the limited resources allocated to authorized state agencies (ASAs). It is expected that Decision 522 on managing and using project development fund raised by Asia Development Bank and Agence française de développement (AFD) will help to support the ASAs in preparing for the project development.

With regard to infrastructure projects, the current legislation allows some flexibility regarding the use of incentives under the Investment Law. Nevertheless, the principle of the PPP framework is to develop highly-efficient projects through loans from private investors such banks or credit institutions and thus releasing the State from financial burdens. If local companies borrow from commercial state banks, this will not meet the PPP principle. In addition, the limited attractiveness of PPP framework also deter local and foreign non-State banks from offering loans.

It is worth considering a risk allocation framework that harmonizes with the general principle that risks should be allocated to parties that are in the best position to manage them or make reasonable determination of that risk.

Power project developments

One issue is project implementation timeline in Circular 43/2016/TT-BCT. Specifically, this legal instrument requires project development commitments from investors and requirements to seek the MOIT’s approval when there are delays in the project implementation. According to Circular 43, if a BOT project falls behind the agreed timeline, the adjustments will only be approved under limited exceptions such as (i) force majeure events; (ii) the misconduct of competent authorities or (iii) the misconduct of a third party. In practice, the schedule agreed between the MOIT and investors is difficult to meet as a result of complex project preparation process as well as involvement of many related parties.

Outlook on the EVFTA

The market access commitment in the EVFTA goes largely beyond both those in the WTO and other FTAs ratified by Vietnam, thereby giving EU enterprises the best possible access to the Vietnamese market. Accordingly, provisions on SOEs are considered the most ambitious disciplines that Vietnam has ever reached. Such rules will put private enterprises on an equal level with enterprises where the Government is the owner. Under the EVFTA, EU companies will be permitted to bid for contracts in infrastructure, power distribution, railway and healthcare projects the same as Vietnamese bidders.

Conclusion

Investment in infrastructure is considered as a strategic measure to reach sustainable development in Vietnam. Indeed, the government has improved the legal framework to support PPP model and privatization of energy and power sectors. However, it needs a much clearer plan in improving the quality of new regulations in order to ensure a fair and transparent process. Furthermore, the equitization progress seems to be disappointing since only 52 SOEs were equitized in 2016. In this context, to ensure the equitization efficiency, it is urgent to address the impact of these remaining issues on project’s viability and aim at the highest level of risk management. Finally, Decision 58 represents a good opportunity for EU companies to engage in large- scale PPP projects. However, investors need to carefully conduct a due diligence before any investment.

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

Thank you!

 

 

VIETNAM – Energie et électricité – Perspectives de l’Accord de Libre-Echange UE-Vietnam (EVFTA)

Le Vietnam a exprimé son engagement à se tourner vers l’énergie propre et verte tout en privilégiant l’énergie domestique par rapport aux buts sociaux, économiques et de sécurité énergétique. La hausse de la demande d’énergie pousse le Vietnam à développer des ressources internes qui nécessitent d’attirer l’investissement privé.

Jusqu’à présent, le Vietnam n’était pas autonome pour fournir l’énergie correspondant à la demande intérieure. De plus, pour atteindre l’efficacité énergétique, le Vietnam doit mettre en place une double action : développer le secteur local grâce à l’investissement privé et mettre en place des outils de gestion pour réduire le gaspillage d’électricité par les usagers.

Un rapport rendu par la Commission « Made in Vietnam Energy Plan » parvient à la conclusion que le Vietnam peut continuer à user des ressources énergétiques indigènes (gaz, charbon, eau, pétrole, vent, soleil) jusqu’à ce qu’une future énergie verte soit développée. Comme le secteur du charbon est censé être relancé, le renouveau des centrales à charbon devrait ralentir la détérioration de la qualité de l’air causée par les méga-usines à charbon. D’autres mesures devraient être prises par le Gouvernement.

Encourager le gaz naturel

Le Vietnam est doté de gaz naturel dont l’usage devrait être préféré à celui du charbon. En effet, le gaz naturel est un carburant plus flexible, moins cher et plus propre que le charbon. Selon plusieurs accords internationaux encourageant le développement de l’énergie verte, le Vietnam sera plus apte à trouver un financement pour le secteur de l’énergie renouvelable que pour le secteur du charbon.

L’investissement dans l’exploitation de gaz naturel devrait être fortement encouragé puisqu’il dérive de traités internationaux et représente une opportunité économique et environnementale intéressante. Le Gouvernement devrait donc préparer un cadre politique et règlementaire pour mieux assurer l’investissement étranger et local, le partage des technologies et de l’expérience, et pour développer avec succès les marchés.

De plus le développement de transformateurs de gaz en électricité offshore apparait comme étant une autre alternative favorable et économique à l’importation de charbon. Non seulement le coût de l’exploitation de gaz naturel est moins élevé que le coût de l’importation ou de la production de charbon en tenant compte des taxes et redevances liées au prix du gaz, mais cela attirerait aussi plus d’investisseurs. De plus, cela déchargerait l’Etat de lourdes dépenses puisque l’International Monetary Fund estime que les coûts liés à la santé et à l’environnement, avec le plan actuel de développement de l’énergie reposant sur le charbon, atteindrait 15 milliards de dollars par an d’ici 2030.

Développer les contrats d’achat d’électricité (PPA)

La German Agency for International Cooperation a formulé des recommandations concernant les contrats d’achats d’énergie éolienne et solaire (PPA) pour l’énergie renouvelable. Elles comprennent une évaluation précise des coûts et tarifs des PPA pour être plus finançables. Assurer leur mise en œuvre est fortement encouragé pour favoriser un développement durable et viable.

Les sociétés qui se sont engagées publiquement à utiliser l’énergie renouvelable et tous autres grands consommateurs d’électricité devraient avoir le droit de signer des contrats directs d’achat d’électricité (DPPA) avec des fournisseurs d’électricité. La législation vietnamienne n’autorise pas les DPPA dans les cas par exemple de Nike, Coca-Cola, Apple, Google, etc. En changeant cette politique, il y aura plus d’investissement étranger dans la chaine d’approvisionnement d’énergie verte.

 Contrôler l’utilisation de l’électricité et réduire le gaspillage d’eau

Avec une utilisation plus efficace de l’électricité et une réduction du gaspillage d’eau, le Vietnam serait considéré comme une alternative compétitive et viable pour l’investissement direct étranger. Accorder des avantages fiscaux aux ménages et entreprises qui réduiraient leur consommation d’énergie et encourager l’énergie solaire ou éolienne ou toute autre énergie renouvelable, dépressuriserait le système de distribution et éduquerait les usagers.

Le développement de systèmes de transformation des déchets en énergie (waste-to-energy) dans les communautés locales permettrait un double bénéfice : améliorer la santé et l’hygiène ainsi qu’augmenter l’approvisionnement électrique et faciliter sa distribution. Les émissions de carbone seraient automatiquement réduites.

La création d’une feuille de route du prix de l’électricité en utilisant le prix fixé par le marché avec le prix variable en fonction de l’usage résidentiel, commercial ou industriel, devrait prévaloir. La conviction que le prix de l’énergie restera subventionné par le Gouvernement supplante tous les efforts de promotion de l’investissement et de l’innovation dans le domaine de l’efficacité énergétique. Ainsi, la connaissance du coût de l’énergie peut inciter les consommateurs et les investisseurs à adopter des équipements et des procédés plus efficaces.

 Recommandations pour la règlementation du Gouvernement

Pour aider le Gouvernement vietnamien à atteindre ses buts environnementaux, le rehaussement de crédit de l’entreprise publique Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) devrait être développé. Garantir que l’EVN paiera pour des approvisionnements d’énergie renouvelable en augmentant le nombre de donneurs internationaux aidera à assurer la faisabilité du projet et à encourager l’investissement.

Un plan plus viable peut être mis en œuvre s’il s’inscrit dans un cadre politique et juridique adapté. La principale recommandation pour assurer un environnement futur plus vert est de diminuer la part des centrales à charbon dans le plan de développement de l’électricité pour 2030.

Un plan flexible pourrait être élaboré pour ajuster la demande future et pour stopper le risque d’une demande plus ou moins grande que celle qui est prévue. Ce plan pourrait attirer plus de sources d’investissement étrangères ou locales et réduire la dépendance par rapport aux gouvernements étrangers. Par ailleurs, l’établissement de normes obligatoires concernant l’efficacité énergétique et la construction des logements, bureaux ou le développement commercial, éduquerait et aurait un effet positif sur le secteur de l’énergie renouvelable.

Les perspectives de l’EVFTA

L’EVFTA signé le 2 décembre 2015, devrait entrer en vigueur d’ici janvier 2018. Les relations entre le Vietnam et l’UE seront fortement intensifiées, notamment parce que le Vietnam est le 2e à signer un tel accord avec l’UE – après Singapour qui ne concourt pas dans les mêmes domaines. Beaucoup d’investisseurs européens se dirigeront vers le Vietnam et apporteront des nouvelles technologies et techniques.

Un chapitre de l’EVFTA est dédié au développement durable et on s’attend à ce que l’UE, grande défenderesse de l’énergie verte et propre, incite le Vietnam à revoir son plan de développement d’électricité dans un futur proche.

 Les problématiques majeures

– Le secteur du charbon est sur le point d’être relancé au regard du plan de développement qui ouvre au Vietnam des alternatives plus propres et plus économiques ;

– L’International Monetary Fund a estimé que 15 milliards de dollars par an seraient dédiés aux dépenses de santés et d’hygiène. La purification de l’air ou l’arrêt de la détérioration de la qualité de l’air est un problème qui doit être résolu rapidement et qui est menacé par la relance du secteur énergétique du charbon ;

– Autoriser les DPPA stimulerait l’investissement et l’innovation dans le secteur de l’énergie verte et dépressuriserait le système de distribution ;

– Eduquer les fournisseurs, les usagers et les investisseurs à travers une feuille de route du prix de l’électricité, le système de waste-to-energy et les avantages fiscaux est le moyen le plus efficace de garantir l’observation des mesures prises par le Gouvernement relatives à l’environnement.

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Si vous avez des questions ou si vous voulez plus de détails sur cet article, n’hésitez pas à contacter Oliver Massmann à omassmann@duanemorris.com. Oliver Massmann est le Directeur Général de Duane Morris Vietnam LLC.

Merci beaucoup !

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EU-VIETNAM FREE TRADE AGREEMENT – MARKET ACCESS OVERVIEW

OVERVIEW

On 2nd December 2015, after nearly 3 years with 14 rounds of negotiations, President Donald Tusk, President Jean-Claude Juncker and Prime Minister of Viet Nam Nguyễn Tấn Dũng announced the conclusion of the negotiations of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA). Both parties are undertaking the necessary steps to finalise the ratification process for the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) to enter into force in 2018.

EVFTA is considered one of the most comprehensive and ambitious trade and investment agreements that the EU has ever concluded with a developing country. It is the second agreement in the Association of South East Nations (ASEAN) region after Singapore and it will intensify the bilateral relations between Vietnam and the EU. Vietnam will have access to a potential market of 500 million people and a total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of USD 15 000 billion (accounting for 22% of global GDP). The other way around, exporters and investors from the EU now have further opportunities to access one of the fastest-growing countries of more than 90 million people in the region.

The real wages of skilled laborers may increase by up to 12% while real salary of common workers may rise by 13%. The macro economy will be stable and inflation rate controlled. Vietnam’s business activities will be booming in the next few years once the EVFTA officially comes into force and Government’s policies, as well as institutional reforms, start showing their positive effects.

Moreover, Vietnam’s GDP is expected to increase by 0.5% annually and increase in exports of 4-6% per year. If this trend continues until 2020, Vietnam’s exports to the EU will increase by USD 16 billion. Until 2025, the EVFTA is estimated to generate an additional 7-8% of GDP above the trend growth rate.

MARKET ACCESS FOR GOODS

Nearly all customs duties – over 99% of the tariff lines will be eliminated. The small remaining number is partially liberalised through duty-free quotas. As Vietnam is a developing country, it will liberalise 65% of the value of EU exports to Vietnam, representing around half of the tariff lines, at entry into force and the remaining duties will be eliminated over the next ten years. For some products, Vietnamese duties will be eliminated over a sevenyear period such as motorcycles with engines larger than 1500cc, car parts and about half of EU pharmaceutical exports. The market will be opened for most of EU food products, i.e. wine, spirits and frozen pork meat after seven years. For dairy products, after a maximum of five years. This is an unprecedented far-reaching tariff elimination for a country like Vietnam, proving its targets for deeper integration and trading relations with the EU.

From the EU’s side, the EU agreed to eliminate duties for 84% of the tariff lines for goods imported from Vietnam immediately at the entry into force of the FTA. Within 7 years from the effective date of the FTA, there will be more than 99% of the tariff lines being eliminated for Vietnam. The EU will eliminate duties for some sensitive products in the textile and footwear sector over a 5-7-year period, with a double transformation rule (instead of a strict yarn-forward rule as in the TPP) and will allow Vietnam to import fabrics from South Korea as an exception to the general rule. The EU also offers access to some Vietnamese sensitive agricultural products via duty-free quotas (rice, canned tuna, surimi, sweet corn, sugar products, etc.). Vietnamese exports of textile, clothing and footwear to the EU are expected to more than double by 2020 as a result of the EVFTA.

We note that, in the region, besides Vietnam, Singapore also concluded an FTA with the EU in 2014. However, this does not affect the competitiveness of Vietnam in trading with the EU. This is due to the fact that Vietnam mainly exports textiles, footwear, agricultural products, etc. while Singapore’s main exports are machines, chemical products and transport equipment. Moreover, while the EU is accelerating procedures to negotiate FTAs with different countries in the ASEAN region, Vietnam should take advantage of this golden time before FTAs with others in the region are concluded and to become a regional hub.

MARKET ACCESS FOR EU SERVICE PROVIDERS

Although Vietnam’s World Trade Organisation(WTO) commitments are used as a basis for thes ervices commitments, Vietnam has not only opened additional (sub)sectors for EU service providers but also commits deeper than in the WTO, offering the EU the best possible access to Vietnam’s market. (Sub)sectors that are not committed under the WTO but under which Vietnam makes commitments are, for example: interdisciplinary research and development (R&D) services, nursing services, physiotherapists and para-medical personnel, packaging services, trade fairs and exhibitions services and building-cleaning services. Moreover, it is noteworthy that the EVFTA contains a MFN clause that allows one party to grant the other party the best treatment that the former is negotiating with other partners under another framework.

We set out below certain Vietnam’s commitments in key sectors with reference to its commitment to the WTO.

Distribution sector

The WTO requires an Economic Needs Test (ENT) for the establishment of outlets for retail services (beyond the first one). The EVFTA requires the same but adds cases for ENT exemption and timeline for ENT abolishment after five years.

Distribution of cigarettes and cigars, publications, precious metals and stones, pharmaceutical products and drugs, explosives, processed oil and crude oil by foreign investors are still prohibited.

wtO eVFtA
 

 

 

 

The establishment of outlets for retail services (beyond the first one) shall be allowed on the basis of an Economic Needs Test (ENT)

 

In case of establishing an outlet less than 500m2 within the area planned for trading activities and already completed construction of infrastructure, ENT is not required.

 

5 years from the date of entry into force of the Agreement, the requirement of the ENT will be abolished.

Power/ energy

wto eVFtA
 

 

 

 

 

N/A

 

Commitments are made in 3 sub-sectors: (i) Production of electricity; transmission and distribution of electricity on own account; (ii) Manufacture of gas; distribution of gaseous fuels through mains on own account; and (iii) Production of steam and hot water; distribution of steam and hot water on own account.

Maritime transport

Sub-sectors wto eVFtA
 

 

Maritime transport services

 

Mode 3 Market Access (MA): joint venture with maximum 49% foreign ownership

 

 

Mode 3 MA: joint venture with maximum 70% foreign ownership

 

internal waterways transport

Passenger transport Freight transport

 

Mode 1: No commitment Mode 3: joint venture with

maximum 49% foreign ownership

 

Mode 1: No restriction Mode 3: joint venture with

maximum 51% foreign ownership

Securities services

wto eVFtA
 

 

Commitments on 6 sub-sectors

Mode 3: foreign securities service suppliers are permitted to establish representative offices and joint ventures with maximum foreign ownership of 49%.

After 5 years from the date of accession, securities service suppliers with 100% foreign-invested capital shall be permitted.

Same commitments in 6 sub-sectors

Commitments on 2 additional services: Provision and transfer of financial data processing; and credit reference and analysis.

Mode 3: Same as the WTO

Telecommunication Services

Non facilities-based services: WTO/ASEAN Framework Agreement on Services (AFAS): maximum 65% foreign ownership forever but in the EVFTA after 5 years, this could be 75%.

Other services – Virtual Private Network (VPN): maximum 70% foreign ownership forever but in the EVFTA after 5 years, this could be 75%.

CONCLUSION

 Vietnam is a country of changes and currently offers increasing opportunities for foreign businesses. The underlying strength of the economy is reflected in, among others, controlled macroeconomic indicators, strong productivity gains and extensive integration into the regional and global economy. It is now time for foreign investors to start their business plans and grasp the upcoming clear opportunities.

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.

Thank you!

 

 

 

 

VIETNAM – REAL ESTATE – LAND USE RIGHTS LIMITATIONS FOR FOREIGNERS – OUTLOOK ON THE EUROPEAN UNION VIETNAM FREE TRADE AGREEMENT (EVFTA)

 

The real estate market in Vietnam has constantly been growing since the Law on Real Estate Business 2014 (LREB) and the Law on Residential Housing (LRH) were adopted. Initial barriers for foreign investors were partially removed with the new legislations and Decree No. 76/2015/ND-CP guiding the LREB dated 10 September 2015 and Decree No. 99/2015/ND-CP guiding the LRH dated 20 October 2015.

Nevertheless, enterprises’ expectations concerning access to properties and business development are not entirely satisfied.

Restriction on sources of capital

For residential housing projects, only the sources of capital enumerated in Article 69 of the LRH or Article 19 of Decree 99 are considered legitimate such as loans from Social Policy Bank, credit institutions and financial institutions currently operating in Vietnam or capital contribution, cooperation in investment, business cooperation, joint-venture and affiliation of organizations. As there is no mention of overseas capital except for the capital owned by the developer, raising capital then appears to be more complicated for real estate developers. Therefore, as there is no need to limit the developers’ ability to raise capital for legitimate sources, the Government adopt restrictive measures for illegitimate sources only and control the legitimacy of sources. Opening capital to off-shore credit institutions and non-credit institutions would greatly improve access to the real estate market.

An uncertainty remains as to define foreign invested enterprises (FIEs). Indeed, neither in the LREB nor in Decree 76 do we find a provision explaining the notion of FIEs. But the Law on Land (Land Law) 2013 states that FIEs are joint venture enterprises and enterprises wholly or partly owned by a foreign company without detailing ownership percentage. Under the Law on Investment 2014, the status of economic organization with foreign capital implies a foreign ownership of 51% or more. Therefore some details must be given as whether enterprises with less than 51% of foreign ownership are regarded as local investors or not.

Considering the lack of details, we can understand that any percentage of foreign ownership prevents enterprises to be local ones. This issue is of great importance for foreign investment transactions in the real estate market and must be clarified promptly.

The difference of treatment between foreign and Vietnamese real estate developers can be found in several aspects. First of all, Article 11 of the LREB does not permit foreign developers to transfer their land use right into creating plots for sale whereas Vietnamese developers are permitted. Article 57 of the same law limits FIEs to collect a maximum of 50% of the value of sale and purchase contracts while Vietnamese companies are entitled to 70% of the value. Finally, Article 10 of the LREB prohibits foreign developers to sell, lease or offer a lease-purchase and only opens the possibility of sub-leasing. This form of business is, however, open to Vietnamese developers.

Those differences between local and foreign developers should be removed as they create unfair competition and restrain the real estate sector in Vietnam.

Restrictions on land use right of foreign organizations and individuals

The LREB authorizes organizations and individuals to lease properties for use and to purchase or lease-purchase residential houses in accordance with the LRH. Article 160 of the LRH repeats the authorization but adds a few conditions. Organizations who want to own residential houses, must establish and maintain their presence in Vietnam although foreign individuals only need to have a valid passport affixed with entry stamp. The stricter requirement for foreign organizations should be up-lifted as it is unnecessary to fix conditions to own residential houses to organizations and not to individuals.

A very concerning contradiction must be solved as it deals with notarization of sale and purchase contracts. Article 93.3(b) of the LRH allows contracts for residential housing signed with a real estate business enterprise not to be notarized. However, Article 122 of the LRH stipulates that all contracts in relation to sale and purchase of residential houses must be certified or notarized.  We could then understand that sale and purchase contracts for residential housing signed with real estate business should be notarized. However, Article 17.2 of the LREB states that real estate business contracts do not have to be notarized except contracts signed between two individuals/households.

A clearer provision should establish that notarization is not required in case a real estate business enterprise is a party to the sale and purchase contracts.

Limitation on foreigners’ purchase and ownership of real estate

Foreign individual and organizations are allowed to own a maximum of 250 individual residential houses in a ward according to Article 161.2(a) of the LRH. However, Article 76.4 of Decree 99 guiding the LRH, limits foreign individuals or organizations to possess maximum 10% of individual housing in each residential housing project. The Decree provision is then not consistent with the LRH.

In addition, pursuant to Article 159.2(b) of the LRH, foreign individuals and organizations are only prohibited from purchasing houses in national defense and security area. But pursuant to Article 75 of Decree 99, the prohibition is extended to all areas where foreigners are restricted from residing or travelling as provided under the Law on Residence and Travel. Once again, the Decree is restricting the conditions under the LRH.

In addition, Articles 77.1(b) and 77.2(b) provide additional restriction when granting the possibility of one-time expansion of residential houses owned by foreigners. Such restriction can have a serious impact on business development of developers and in the meantime on Vietnam’s competitiveness. Unlimited extensions should be granted with the exception of national defense and security areas only.

Another issue which causes many difficulties for developers concerns capital reserve. Indeed, Article 108.1(b) of the LREB requires that developers contribute 2% of apartment’s value for unsold apartments at the time of commissioning. Value is calculated based on the highest selling price of an apartment in the building regardless of the differences between the apartment of reference and the commissioned one. The requirement is not practical and should therefore be amended to refer to an apartment of the same category. Furthermore, establishing a mechanism to deal with such payments when apartments are sold at a later stage is necessary for the efficiency of the requirement.

Outlook on the EVFTA

Signed on December 2nd 2015 and expected to enter into force by 2017, the EVFTA offers great opportunity to access new markets for both the EU and Vietnam. Not only Vietnam will foster more foreign investors but also welcome more enterprises in order to develop the European-Vietnamese Cooperation.

The Vietnamese Government has already started to amend the legislation with the Law on Enterprise 2015 and the Law on Investment 2014. Yet some further changes must still be made and we can expect the influence of the EU on opening the real estate market to facilitate enterprises’ establishment.

Most important issues

–       Requirements of sources of capital are too restricted and prevent real estate developers from easily raising capital. In addition, the definition of foreign invested enterprise is not clear enough to determine the sources and the nature of transactions in the sector.

–       Vietnamese and foreign developers are treated differently which creates unfair competition and restrains the real estate sector.

–       The contradiction that sale and purchase contracts signed with real estate business enterprise have to be authorized must be up-lifted.

–       Restrictions on foreigners’ purchase and ownership rights regarding the percentage of possession, the restricted areas and the possibility of extension are not consistent in the whole Vietnamese legislation and should be standardized.

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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.

Thank you!

 

 

 

VIETNAM – PRIVATE SECTOR DEVELOPMENT – OUTLOOK ON THE EUROPEAN UNION VIETNAM FREE TRADE AGREEMENT (EVFTA)

The private sector is an intrinsic part of the economic and social development. Yet Vietnam does not have as many private enterprises as its neighboring countries.

Private enterprises enhance job creation, Gross Domestic Product and competitiveness. In order to achieve the private sector development, Vietnam should provide elements enhancing technological reform and innovation support, develop measures against corruption and finally encourage the return of Vietnamese young talents to Vietnam.

Encouraging innovation, international cooperation and global supply chain operation

The agriculture industry serves as a good example of differences we can find between Vietnamese industries and developed countries’ ones. In Vietnam, the agricultural sector is mostly made of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with low product value and most of them did not invest in hi-tech equipment. Thus to raise productivity, not only technological reform, but innovation as well as investment in hi-tech sectors must be encouraged. Cooperation with foreign enterprises would accelerate the development and exploitation of new technology products, inventions, machinery that undoubtedly increase product value and competitiveness.

In addition, with establishment of international brands, Vietnamese enterprises could attend international fairs and exhibitions where they would approach other enterprises and techniques. Vietnamese enterprises would then be more likely to receive knowledge and to develop international cooperation with foreign enterprises. The Vietnamese Government and Vietnamese associations could co-organize business delegations to exhibit, outside Vietnam, its industry and production to compare the product value and understand the expected requirements.

Private enterprises do not manage to operate a complete supply chain which has a great impact on export. Indeed, it implies higher costs for finished products, longer delay for production and finally a decreased competitiveness. Policies aiming at promoting local investment and international cooperation for the acquisition of new techniques and technologies must be promulgated. With the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the EVFTA and all free trade agreements Vietnam has signed, new requirements are expected from Vietnam.

Fighting against corruption and supporting credit to SMEs

The Ministry of Planning and Investment noted that half of Vietnamese enterprises is having difficulties to obtain credits due to the lack of transparency in their operation, lack of transparency caused by unofficial payments to Government’s agencies. The Government has already manifested its will to combat corruption in the Directive 12/2016/CT-TTg issued by the Prime Minister in April 2016, which tasks Ministries, People’s Committees and the Government Inspectorate with direct inspection and handling corruption-related matters. Moreover, the Government is drafting a law to support SMEs and enhance their role in the global supply chain. A practical mean to control corruption could be to encourage the use of non-cash payments to Government’s agencies and to adopt business codes of conduct.

The Government has duties to enhance private enterprises’ development and businesses by encouraging account transparency and implementing preferential tax policies. To fulfill its duties and facilitate credit access for SMEs, the Government should also establish itself a link between enterprises in need for capital and credit institutions. Therefore in order to facilitate loan procedures, the Government should lower interest rates and require credit institutions increase loans to businesses.

Improving the Corporate Governance

Development of the private sector goes together with the improvement of the Law on Enterprise 2014,  in which the Government’s policies appeared to be more comprehensive than in the previous Law on Enterprise 2005. Nevertheless, regarding the corporate governance, more efforts could be managed to reach international standards. Regarding the advantages, most of foreign private enterprises choose the form of Single-Member Limited Liability Company (SMLLC) to establish their presence in Vietnam.

The question of how a SMLLC manager exercises its powers shows the necessity to improve the corporate governance and integrity. Article 75 of the Law on Enterprise gives the manager a supreme authority in dealing with his business. However, the owner cannot directly use its power and must act through the Member’s council or the Company’s President which means that he only has the power to nominate the people acting on behalf of the company and ratify their decisions. The regulations should thus be more specific on what decisions require the owner’s approval and which do not.

A general clarification of provisions related to corporate governance will help the development of a clear and transparent business and contribute to promote integrity in businesses’ establishment and transactions.

Attraction and training of qualified workforce

Young talents such as Vietnamese students or young professionals overseas must be attracted back to Vietnam as they constitute a highly efficient mean to allow transmission of foreign know-how and considering the undeniable need for innovation. The Government should then encourage the promotion of talents’ knowledges especially those acquired abroad. In order to attract them, private enterprises should offer students or professionals a deserved remuneration and the opportunity to become part owners in businesses, as the best way to secure a lasting professional relationship.

In addition, for the enterprises to receive foreign knowledges and deepen the spillover effects, local workforce needs a specific training in order to meet with industrial requirements regarding productivity, products quality etc. It is only then that SMEs will be able to perform a complete supply chain. The Government should assist the creation of specialized schools and the development of intensive program centers in cooperation with local universities.  Indeed, the private enterprises’ competitiveness starts with a highly qualified labor force.

Outlook on EVFTA

On December 02 2015, the EVFTA is signed and is planned to enter into force by January 2018. Under this agreement, almost all tariff lines disappear and many tax duties are reduced. For some products such as agricultural products, tariff rate quotas are put in place.

We can expect many consequences. Firstly, the consolidation of Vietnam’s privileged position in the ASEAN as one of few countries to have signed a free-trade agreement with the EU (except for Singapore which concern different trade). Secondly, Vietnam will have to meet more requirements especially in productivity, product value and workforce qualification. Then, a lot of investment will flow from Europe to Vietnam and will bring capital to more businesses helping them to finance innovative products and techniques and to perform a complete supply chain in the textile and footwear industry.

Finally, real wages of qualified laborers are expected to increase by up to 12%, leading to attract more students and young professionals overseas to Vietnam. The EVFTA will assist the Government in helping private enterprises through investment and expected requirements.

The most important issues

–       The situation is, at the present time,  precarious for SMEs. The development of private enterprises remains a priority and the EVFTA is expected to help the Government support private enterprises.

–       Innovation is the key to access a complete supply chain and requires precise needs in order to perform it: young talents, favorable policies and capital.

–       Education, by means of well thought programs and abroad studies, is necessary to prepare the workforce to embrace new requirements and increase products value and private enterprises’ competitiveness.

–       Corruption is a drag in the private sector development because it limits credit access and discourages foreign investment. This issue also impacts the whole economy development and requires immediate reaction from the Government through mandatory measures.

–       Reorganization of the corporate governance will benefit companies especially SMLLC by creating a clear and transparent business environment and promoting integrity.

***

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.

Thank you!

 

 

 

Rechtsanwalt in Vietnam Oliver Massmann STEUERRECHT – AUSBLICK AUF DAS EU – VIETNAM FREIHANDELSABKOMMEN (EVFTA)

 

Die soeben erst gebildete Regierung hat bekundet, durch Reformen die Wirtschaft unterstützen zu wollen. Kurz nachdem der Amtseid geschworen war, wurde eine Konferenz mit vietnamesischen Unternehmen organisiert, die zur Verabschiedung Verordnung 35/2016 / NQ-CP vom 16. Mai 2016 führte. Der Schwerpunkt lag auf der Verbesserung des Investitionsumfelds. Dennoch bestehen nach wie vor einige Schwierigkeiten und eine Überprüfung der Steuerpolitik aus bestimmten Perspektiven.

Gewährung steuerlicher Anreize

Die Regierung kann ausländischen Unternehmen durch Investitionszulassung oder -zertifikat bevorzugte Steuersätze gewähren, was der sicherste Weg für Unternehmen ist trotz steuerrechtlicher Änderungen ihre bevorzugte Stellung zu behalten. Einige kommunale Steuerbehörden widersprechen jedoch der Politik der Staatsregierung und verpflichten Unternehmen, die geltenden Vorschriften ungeachtet der zugesicherten Unternehmensbevorzugungen anzuwenden. Dieser Widerspruch ist verletzt den zugesicherten Schutz von Investments und Investoren durch die Regierung und muss verhindert werden.

Rundschreiben 12404 / BTC-TCT und Rundschreiben 96/2015 / TT-BTC, vom Finanzministerium (MOF), gewähren steuerliche Rabatte für die Unternehmenssteuern für Einkommen von Unternehmen, die vor dem 1. Januar 2014 gegründet und noch nicht betriebsbereit sind. Einige kommunale Steuerbehörden weigerten sich, diese Anreize zu akzeptieren und forderten Unternehmen auf, ihre Satzung zu ändern, um den Geschäftsbeginn auf das Jahr 2014 zu verlegen, damit ein Anspruch auf Rabatte für die Unternehmenssteuern gewährt wird. Diese Forderungen stellen die Bereitschaft des Finanzministeriums zur Investitionsförderung in Frage und sollten aufhören.

Nach dem Verständnis der Finanzämter ist jedes Projekt, das die Erhöhung der Kapazitäten der Unternehmen oder Anlagevermögen plant, notwendigerweise als eine Investition zu betrachten, soweit die Kapazitätserhöhung einhergeht mit Kapitalerhöhung. Die Steuerbehörden lassen dann Rabatte für die Unternehmenssteuern wegfallen, weil sie davon ausgehen, dass Investmentzertifikate aufgrund des Anstiegs nicht mehr anwendbar wären. Dennoch beschränken sich die anfänglichen Anlagezertifikate nicht auf die Kapazitäten und sollten solange anwendbar sein, wie die Zunahmen nur die Unternehmenskapazität und nicht das Kapital betreffen. Ein Gesetz sollte präzisieren, dass die Projektausweitung nur dann als Investitionen gilt, wenn Kapitalanpassungen vorgenommen werden.

Die von der Regierung verabschiedete Verordnung 218/2013 / ND-CP, verlängert den gesonderten Steuersatz auf 15 Jahre für Investitionsprojekte unter VND 6 Mio. (umgerechnet 260.000 US-Dollar). Um eine gerechtere Behandlung von Unternehmen zu gewährleisten, könnten weitere Ebenen der Besteuerung eingeführt werden,  wie z.B. drei Jahre den bevorzugten Steuersatz für Projekte zwischen VND 10 bis 20 Mia. (umgerechnet 450.000 US-Dollar bis 900.000US-Dollar).

Gemäß dem Entwurf der Verordnung Nr. 12 sind Prämien und Provisionen, die auf der Grundlage des Verkaufsvolumens gewährt werden, abzugsfähige Ausgaben für Unternehmen. Nichtsdestotrotz müssen Vermittler, die Einzelpersonen oder Organisationen sind, Steuern auf diese Ausgaben zahlen, da diese Ausgaben im Zusammenhang mit ihrer Geschäftstätigkeit stehen. Es wäre einfacher für Vermittler, wenn ihre Provisionen und Verkaufsprämien von der Verpflichtung einer Ausstellung von Mehrwertsteuerrechnungen befreit wären.

Andererseits sollten die den Mitarbeitern gewährten Leistungen teilweise auf ihre Familie ausgedehnt werden dürfen: Sozial- und Freizeitausgaben, Visumanträge für Familienangehörige der Arbeitnehmer usw. Durch diese Vorteile wird eine längere Beziehung zwischen dem Unternehmen und dem Arbeitnehmer gewährleistet. Aufwendungen für Arbeitnehmerfamilien sind für Unternehmen nur abzugsfähig, wenn sie im Arbeitsvertrag oder in der Personalentwicklungsstrategie der Unternehmen angegeben sind. Die Verordnung 218/2013 / ND-CP sollte dahingehend abgeändert werden.

Beheben von Steuerproblemen

Steuerrechtliche Regelungen werden häufig von Jahr zu Jahr unterschiedlich ausgelegt und interpretiert. Da Steuerprüfungen oft nach dem entsprechenden Geschäftsjahr stattfinden, ist es für Unternehmen unmöglich, zu wissen, was zu beachten ist. Viele Unternehmen müssen Sanktionen und hohe Interessen bezahlen, da sich die Regelungen zwischen dem Zeitpunkt der Steuerzahlung und dem Zeitpunkt der Steuerprüfung ändern. Außerdem werden viele Unternehmen wegen fehlender Steuern vom Finanzamt auf unbezahlte Steuern gejagt, obwohl die Steuern ordnungsgemäß gezahlt wurden. Im Finanzamt sind die Mitarbeiter nicht eng genug, um Steuerverpflichtungen und Zahlungen in Einklang zu bringen.

Eine jährliche Steuerprüfung oder eine Änderung der Berechnungsweise von Sanktionen und Verzugszinsen sollte in Betracht gezogen werden. Darüber hinaus wäre die Nominierung einer Task Force ausschließlich zur Vereinbarkeit von Steuerverpflichtungen und Zahlungen eine gute Verbesserung.

Eine Untertreibung der zu zahlenden Steuern oder eine Überbewertung der Steuererstattung ist mit einer Geldbuße von 20% der Differenz zwischen der zu zahlenden Steuer und dem erklärten oder gezahlten Steuerbetrag verbunden. In Artikel 107 des Steuerverwaltungsgesetzes genannte Haushalte oder natürliche Personen sind von der Geldbuße befreit. Unternehmen sind manchmal in überbezahlter Position und sind immer noch mit einer Geldstrafe, wenn die Inspektion erfolgt, unabhängig von der Absicht, eine falsche Erklärung zu machen oder nicht bezahlt. Die Umsetzung klarerer Vorschriften würde Verwirrung und falsche Erklärungen, die zu Geldstrafen in solchen Fällen führen, vermeiden.

Eine jährliche Steuerprüfung oder eine Änderung der Berechnungsweise von Sanktionen und Verzugszinsen sollte in Betracht gezogen werden. Darüber hinaus wäre die Nominierung einer Task Force ausschließlich zur Vereinbarkeit von Steuerverpflichtungen und Zahlungen eine gute Verbesserung.

Eine nicht legale Steuerverkürzung wird mit einer Geldbuße von 20% der Differenz zwischen der zu zahlenden Steuer und dem erklärten oder gezahlten Steuerbetrag bestraft. In Art. 107 des Steuerverwaltungsgesetzes genannte Haushalte oder natürliche Personen sind von der Geldbuße befreit. Unternehmen haben manchmal Überzahlungen und werden nach einer Betriebsprüfung mit einer Geldstrafe belangt, obwohl kein Vorsatz bestand eine falsche Erklärung zu machen oder nicht ausreichend Steuern zu bezahlen. Die Umsetzung klarerer Vorschriften würde Konfusion und fehlerhafte Erklärungen, die zu Geldstrafen in solchen Fällen führen, vermeiden.

Eine verspätete Steuerzahlung unterliegt ebenfalls einer Geldstrafe. Dennoch werden mehrere widersprüchliche Dokumente ausgestellt, und es wurde kompliziert zu bestimmen, auf welcher Grundlage die Verzugszinsen berechnet werden. Das vom Finanzministerium erlassene Rundschreiben 26/2015 / TT-BTC sieht einen Zinssatz von 0,05 % pro Tag des Verzuges vor, abhängig vom Defizit der Steuerschuld, für Steuern die vor dem 1. Januar 2015 erklärt wurden und nach diesem Datum unzureichend gezahlt wurden. Das Rundschreiben 130 erläutert hingegen, dass Verzugszinsen für jeden Zeitraum speziell geregelt werden. Die beiden Dokumente liefern gegenteilige Informationen, was für Unternehmen hochproblematisch werden kann.

Artikel 14 des Rundschreibens 78/2014 / TT-BTC besagt, dass die Übertragung der Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung das Ausfüllen eines Formulars erfordert, das der Immobilienübertragung gleichkommt, unabhängig davon wieviel Prozent des Unternehmens in Immobilien angelegt ist. Darüber hinaus fällt aufgrund des Umstands, dass die indirekte Kapitalübertragung sowohl in Vietnam als auch im Herkunftsland steuerpflichtig ist, eine Doppelbesteuerung in beiden Ländern an. Das System sollte revidiert und die Anwendung von sog. latenten Steueransprüchen (DTA, engl. Deferred Tax Assets) überprüft werden.

Erläuterung der Mehrwertsteuerberechnung und -erstattung

Das Rundschreiben 130/2016 / TT-BTC (Rundschreiben 130) sieht eine Steuerrückerstattung für kurzfristige Investitionen (unter 12 Monaten) vor, wobei Sonderregelungen für Unternehmen bestehen, soweit Projekte nicht innerhalb eines Jahres abgeschlossen werden können, wie z.B. im Schiffsbau. Die Mehrwertsteuer kann erst dann für den gesamten Zeitraum zurückerstattet werden, wenn das Schiff vollendet und ins Ausland exportiert wurde, unabhängig von der Gesamtinvestition. Dieser spezielle Ausnahmefall sollte auf ähnliche Branchen ausgedehnt werden können.

Das Rundschreiben 130 bezieht sich auf den Deklarationszeitraum für die Steuerrückerstattung und beschreibt das gesamte System ohne klare Definitionen der Begriffe oder Eingrenzungen. Gemäß Rundschreiben 130 wird die Mehrwertsteuer nicht für inländische Verkaufstätigkeiten zurückerstattet, ist aber bis zu 10 % des Umsatzes der exportierten Waren und Dienstleistungen erstattungsfähig. Allerdings ist die Unterscheidung für Unternehmen, die in beiden Bereichen aktiv sind, kaum stichhaltig.

Außerdem wird die Mehrwertsteuererstattung für den Handel mit importierten und exportierten Waren in Art. 1 des Rundschreibens 130 nicht eindeutig erläutert, insbesondere bezüglich der Bestimmung der für die Erstattung der Mehrwertsteuer zulässigen Tätigkeiten. Das Rundschreiben 119/2014 / TT-BTC fügt hinzu, dass der Vorsteuerabzug eine nicht zahlungswirksame Ausgabe erfordert, mit Ausnahme für Geschenke und Spenden, aber enthält keinerlei Muster oder Hilfestellung.

Darüber hinaus unterliegen gemäß Art. 10.11 des Rundschreibens 219/2013 / TT-BTC einige importierte Waren und Dienstleistungen 5% Mehrwertsteuer, insbesondere im Gesundheitswesen. Art. 10 des Entwurfes für die Verordnung 106/2016 / QH13 verhindert, dass Unternehmen mit 5% Mehrwertsteuer Anspruch auf Mehrwertsteuererstattung haben. Die Umstände, dass Kosten der Investition die im Zusammenhang mit solchen Unternehmen stehen 10% Mehrwertsteuer unterliegen und ein Vorsteuerabzug nicht möglich ist, hat signifikante Folgen für Unternehmen, um deren Aktivitäten weiterzuführen.

Die „exportierten“ Dienstleistungen die außerhalb Vietnams ausgeführt werden, unterliegen einem Mehrwertsteuersatz von 0%, während ein Mehrwertsteuersatz von 10% gilt, wenn diese Dienstleistungen in Vietnam ausgeführt werden. Die Steuerbehörden konzentrieren sich eher auf den Ort, an dem die Dienstleistung durchgeführt wird, als auf den Ort, an dem die Dienstleistung ihre Wirkung zeigt. Der Begriff der Exportdienstleistung sollte revidiert werden, damit unterschiedliche Interpretationen ausgeschlossen werden, um Rechtssicherheit herzustellen.

Nach dem vietnamesischen Recht ist der Gewährleistungsanspruch einer Dienstleistung, die der Lieferant auf Kosten des Käufers erbringt, nicht gebunden an die Lieferung von Waren oder Dienstleistungen. Das vom Finanzministerium erlassene Rundschreiben 103/2014 / TT-BTC machte deutlich, dass für die Gewährleistung von Waren die an die Grenzen Vietnams geliefert wurden, nicht Steuern einbehalten werden. Für die vor der Geltung des Rundschreibens 103 unterzeichneten Verträge ist die Situation unklar, und das Finanzministerium sollte klare Bestimmungen erlassen. Darüber hinaus würden Richtlinien für ausländische Lieferanten dazu beitragen, Garantien für Käufer effektiv zu gewährleisten.

Das Rundschreiben 39/2014 / TT-BTC legt die Kriterien für die Erteilung von Rechnungen als Bedingung für die Feststellung des Enddatums fest, ohne den Begriff „beendet” zu erläutern. Es kann von Typ, Häufigkeit oder Zeitraum (pro Monat, pro Stunde) der Dienstleistung variieren. Weitere Einzelheiten über die Frage ab wann eine Dienstleistung fertiggestellt ist und ab wann die Rechnungstellung erfolgen soll, sollten vorgelegt werden.

Ausblick auf das EVFTA:

Das EVFTA, welches am 2. Dezember 2015 unterzeichnet wurde, wird große Investitionsmöglichkeiten für Vietnam schaffen. Mit der Abschaffung fast aller Tarifbarrieren (85% direkt nach dem Inkrafttreten des EVFTA, 99% nach wenigen Jahren) wird die Automobilindustrie sowie der Handel in Sektoren wie Textil und Schuhen gestärkt.

Die Regierung unterstützt bereits ausländische Investitionen, indem sie begünstigende Strategien erstellt, die Bedeutung einer stabilen Wirtschaft achtet und die Inflation kontrolliert ablaufen lässt. Es steht zu erwarten, dass die EU zur Lösung von Problemen der Besteuerung beitragen wird und Vietnam strikte und festgelegte Steuervorschriften auferlegen wird.

Die wichtigsten Fragestellungen:

– Kommunale Steuerbehörden sollte klare Anordnungen erhalten bezüglich der Steueroptimierung der Unternehmen und dem Begriff der Projektausweitung.

– Das Steuersystem mit Erklärungen und Anreizen in mehreren Dokumenten ist zu komplex für Unternehmen. Die Berechnungsmethode für Steuerermäßigung muss nachvollziehbar angegeben werden, um einen Beitrag für die ordnungsgemäße Anwendung von Steuerzahlern zu leisten.

– Mehrwertsteuererstattungen für Unternehmen zu gewähren, die Waren und Dienstleistungen exportieren, aber nicht für Unternehmen mit einer Mehrwertsteuer von 5%, könnte als Benachteiligung hinsichtlich der Steuerlast unter Unternehmen betrachtet werden.

***

Bitte zögern Sie nicht, Herrn Rechtsanwalt Oliver Massmann unter omassmann@duanemorris.com zu kontaktieren, sofern Sie Fragen haben oder mehr darüber erfahren möchten. Oliver Massmann ist der Geschäftsführer von Duane Morris Vietnam LLC.

Vielen Dank!

 

 

 

VIETNAM TAX ISSUES – OUTLOOK ON THE EUROPEAN UNION VIETNAM FREE TRADE AGREEMENT (EVFTA)

 

The recently formed Government has manifested its ambition to support reforms especially related to business. Short after the oath of inauguration, it organized a conference with Vietnamese enterprises leading to the issuance of Resolution 35/2016/NQ-CP dated 16 May 2016. The main focus was to improve the investment environment. Nevertheless, some difficulties remain and review of tax policies is required from some specific perspectives.

Granting tax incentives

The Government can grant preferential incentives to foreign enterprises through investment licensing or certificate, the most secure way for enterprises to obtain their incentives despite tax law amendments. However, some local tax departments do not agree with the Government’s policy on incentives and oblige enterprises to apply the current regulations regardless of enterprises’ incentives. This reluctance is a breach in the Government’s protection over investment and investors and must be prevented.

Official Letter 12404/BTC-TCT and Circular 96/2015/TT-BTC, both issued by the Ministry of Finance (MOF), grant Corporate Income Tax (CIT) incentives for enterprises established before 01st January 2014 and not yet operational. Some local tax departments have refused to recognize such incentives and asked enterprises to amend their charter while making their business starts in 2014 in order to be entitled to CIT incentives. This request is acting towards the MOF’s willingness to boost investment and should be dropped out.

According to tax offices, any project planning the increase of enterprises capacity or fixed assets is necessarily considered an investment if increase of capacity was equivalent to increase of capital. Tax authorities then rescind CIT incentives because they believe that investment certificates are no longer updated due to the increase. Yet, initial investment certificates do not mention capacity and should remain updated as long as increases solely concern enterprise capacity and not capital. A regulation should precise that project expansion may only be investment when there are adjustments on capital investment.

Decree 218/2013/ND-CP issued by the Government, extends preferential tax rate application to 15 years for investment projects under VND6 million (~ US$260,000). To ensure a fairer treatment towards businesses, different levels could be established such as 3 years of preferential tax rate application for projects between VND 10 to 20 billion (~ US$450,000 to US$900,000).

According to the draft Decree No. 12, bonuses and commissions granted based on sale volume are deductible expenses for enterprises. Nevertheless, agents being individuals or organizations must pay taxes on these sum of money as such expenses are related to business activities. It would be more convenient for agents to have their commissions and sale bonuses exempted of VAT invoices.

On the other hand, benefits granted to employees should be extended in part to their family: welfare or recreational expenditures, visa application fee for employees’ families, etc. Through these benefits, a longer relationship between the company and the employee is ensured.  Expenses for employees’ families are deductible for companies if stated in labor contract or in companies’ Labor policy. Decree 218/2013/ND-CP should then be amended.

Resolving tax payment issues

Tax-related regulations are often amended and interpreted differently from one year to another. As tax inspections often take place a long time after the corresponding fiscal year, it seems impossible for companies to know what to comply with. Many enterprises have to pay penalties and high interests because of changing regulations between the time of tax payment and the time of tax inspection. Besides, many businesses are chased for unpaid taxes due to errors from the tax office, even though the taxes were duly paid. In the tax office, the members of the staff are not dedicated enough to reconcile tax obligations and payments.

An annual tax inspection or a change in the method of calculating penalties and late payment interests should be considered. In addition, the nomination of a task force exclusively for reconciling tax obligations and payments would be a good improvement.

Understatement of payable tax or overstatement of tax refund is liable to a fine of 20% of the difference between the tax payable and declared or paid tax amount.  Households or individuals stated in Article 107 of the Law on Tax Administration are exempted from the fine. Enterprises are sometimes in overpaid position and are still charged with a fine when the inspection occurs regardless of the intention to make a false declaration or not. The implementation of clearer regulations would avoid confusion and wrongful declaration leading to fines in such cases.

Late tax payment is also subject to penalty . Yet, several contradictory documents have been issued and it became complicated to determine on what basis to calculate the late payment interest. Indeed, Circular 26/2015/TT-BTC issued by the Ministry of Finance states a rate of 0.05% per day accordingly to the deficit of the tax payable until the tax is fully paid, for taxes declared before January 1st 2015 and found insufficient after the same date. Circular 130 contends that the late payment interest is regulated for each period. The two documents provide inconsistent guidelines, thus putting enterprises in a very delicate situation.

Article 14 of Circular 78/2014/TT-BTC states that transfer of Limited Liability Company requires filling a form equivalent to real estate transfer, regardless of the percentage real estate represents in the company assets.  Moreover, since indirect capital transfer is considered taxable income in Vietnam and in the country of origin, a double taxation in both countries applies. The system should be rethought and the application of deferred tax assets (DTA) should be considered.

Explaining VAT calculation and refund

Circular 130/2016/TT-BTC (Circular 130) provides a tax refund for short-term investment (under 12 months) with special provisions for businesses not executable within a year such as ship construction. Value Added Tax (VAT) can then be refunded for a few years only until the ship is completed and exported abroad, regardless of the total investment. This specific case should be extended to other similar industries.

Circular 130 is referring to declaration period for tax refund and elaborates the whole system around this notion without giving a clear definition and measurement. According to Circular 130, VAT is not refundable for domestic sale activities but is refundable up to 10% of the revenue generated by exported goods and services. However, the distinction is thin for enterprises doing both activities.

Besides, VAT refund for trading of imported and exported goods is not clearly explained in Article 1 of Circular 130., notably for determining the activities eligible for VAT refund. Circular 119/2014/TT-BTC adds that input VAT deduction requires non-cash payment except for gifts and donations, but excludes samples and test items.

In addition, some imported goods and services are subject to 5% VAT notably in health care industry according to Article 10.11 of Circular 219/2013/TT-BTC guiding the implementation of the Law on VAT. Article 10 of draft Decree guiding Law 106/2016/QH13 prevents businesses with 5% VAT to be entitled to VAT refund. The input costs related to such businesses being subject to 10% VAT and the input VAT not refundable are significant amount for enterprises to maintain their activities.

The services exported and “consumed outside Vietnam” have a VAT rate of 0%, whereas a VAT rate of 10% applies when such services are consumed in Vietnam. Tax authorities often focus on the place the service is performed more than on the place it is used. The notion of export services should be reviewed without allowing differing interpretation so that one definition – based on the location of the consumer – and one rule prevail.

Under the Vietnamese Law, warranty is a service the supplier provides at the expense of the buyer but not attached to goods or services delivery. Circular 103/2014/TT-BTC issued by Ministry of Finance made clear that warranty attached to goods delivered at Vietnam’s borders were not submitted to withholding tax. For the contracts signed prior to Circular 103, the situation is not clear and the Ministry of Finance should establish clear provisions. Furthermore, guidelines on provisions for foreign suppliers’ responsibility would help ensure the efficiency of free warranties for the buyer.

Circular 39/2014/TT-BTC sets out the criteria of issuing invoices as a condition to determine the finished date of service provision without explaining the term “finished”. It may depend on type, frequency or period (per month, per hour) of service.  More details on the definition of finished service and the calculation of the payment time should be provided.

Outlook on the EVFTA

The EVFTA signed on December 2 2015, will offer great investment opportunities for Vietnam. With elimination of almost all tariff barriers (85% right after the EVFTA’s entry into force, 99% a few years after), the automotive industry as well as trades in sectors such as textile and footwear will be boosted.

The Government is already supporting foreign investment by implementing a favorable policy and strict respect of a stable economy and a controlled inflation. We can expect that the EU will influence the resolution of tax issues and will impose fixed and determined tax rules to apply in Vietnam.

Most important issues

–       Local tax departments should be clearly guided about enterprises’ incentives and the notion of project expansion.

–       The taxation system with declarations and incentives in several documents, is too complex for enterprises to comply with. The tax refund calculation method must be clearly stated to help taxpayers apply regulations properly.

–       Granting VAT refund for business establishments exporting goods and services and not for businesses with output VAT at 5% may be regarded as discrimination in term of taxes among businesses.

If you have any question on the above, please do not hesitate to contact Mr. Oliver Massmann under omassmann@duanemorris.com . Oliver Massmann is the General Director of Duane Morris Vietnam LLC.

Thank you very much!

 

 

 

 

Vietnam – Power and Energy– Outlook on the European Union Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA)

Vietnam has expressed its commitment to turn to clean and green energy while prioritizing domestic energy in respect with social, economic and energy security goals. The increasing demand of energy is pressuring Vietnam into developing local resources which requires attracting private investment.

Up to now, Vietnam is not self-sufficient to provide the energy corresponding to local demand.  Therefore, in order to reach energy efficiency, Vietnam must put in place a double action: developing the local sector thanks to private investment, and set up management tools to reduce electricity waste by users.

A report issued by the “Made in Vietnam Energy Plan” commission, concludes that Vietnam can continue using indigenous energy resources (gas, coal, hydro, oil, wind, solar) until a future green energy is developed.  As the fire-coaled sector is expected to be revived, renewal of coal power plants would slow down the air quality deterioration caused by older mega-power coal plants. Yet, other measures could be initiated by the Government.

Encouraging natural gas energy

Vietnam is endowed with natural gas whose use should be preferred to coal use. Indeed, natural gas is a more flexible, cheaper and cleaner fuel than coal. Pursuant to many international agreements encouraging green energy development, Vietnam will be more likely to find financing for renewable energy sector than for coal-fired one.

Investment in exploitation of natural gas should be greatly encouraged as it follows international treaties and is a good economic and environmental opportunity. The Government should then prepare policy and regulatory framework to further enhance foreign and local investment, technology and experience sharing, and to develop successful markets.

Furthermore, development of offshore gas-to-power appears to be another beneficial and economical alternative to imported coal. Not only the cost of natural gas exploitation is less expensive than the cost of clean coal import or production considering taxes and royalties related to gas pricing, but it would also attract more investors. In addition, it would release the State from heavy expenses since the International Monetary Fund estimated that health and environmental costs, with the current energy development plan relying on coal, would reach US$15 billion annually by 2030.

Developing Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs)

The German Agency for International Co-operation issued recommendations regarding wind and solar power purchase agreements (PPAs) for renewable energy. They include specific evaluation of costs and tariffs for PPAs to be more bankable. Ensuring their implementation is greatly encouraged to favor a lasting and sustainable development.

Companies which made public commitment to use renewable energy and any other large power consumer should be entitled to sign Direct Power Purchase Agreements (DPPAs) with power suppliers. We find for instance in the cases of Nike, Coca-Cola, Apple, Google etc., Vietnamese legislation does not allow DPPA. By changing this policy, there will be more foreign investment in the value supply chain of green energy.

Controlling electricity use and reducing energy waste

Through a more efficient use of electricity and reduction of energy waste, Vietnam would be considered a competitive and viable alternative for foreign direct investment. Granting tax incentives for individual households and businesses that reduce their energy use, encouraging solar or wind or any other renewable energy, would depressurize the distribution system and educate users.

Development of waste to energy system in local communities would allow a dual benefit: improve health and hygiene as well as increase power supply and facilitate its distribution. The carbon emissions would be automatically diminished.

Establishment of a Power Price Roadmap using market based pricing with variable pricing considering residential, commercial or industrial use, should prevail. A belief that energy price will remain subsidized by the Government supplants any efforts to promote energy efficiency investment and innovation.  Then, knowledge of energy cost may induce consumers and investors to get more efficient equipment and processes.

Recommendations for Government’s regulations

In order to help the Vietnamese Government reach environmental goals, credit enhancement of the state-owned enterprise Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) should be developed. Guaranteeing that EVN will pay for renewable power supplies by increasing international donors will help ensure the projects’ feasibility and encourage investment.

A more sustainable plan can be implemented if enacted with proper policy and regulatory framework. The main recommendation to secure a greener future environment is to lower the part of coal power plants in the power development plan to 2030.

A flexible plan could be established to adjust the future demand and to stop the risk of a higher or lower demand than estimated. This plan should attract more foreign and local sources of investment and reduce reliability on foreign governments. However, establishing mandatory energy efficiencies and construction requirements for housing, office or retail development would also educate and have a positive impact on the renewable energy sector.

Outlook on the EVFTA

The EVFTA signed on December 2nd 2015 is expected to enter into force by January 2018. Relations between Vietnam and the EU will be greatly intensified, especially since Vietnam is the 2nd to sign such an agreement with the EU after Singapore, which does not compete in the same fields. Many investors will flow from the EU to Vietnam and bring new technologies and techniques.

A chapter in the EVFTA is dedicated to sustainable development and we can expect that the EU, a firm defender of green and clean energy, will influence Vietnam to review its power development plan in a foreseeable future.

Most important issues

–       The coal-fired sector is to be revived according to the power development plan whereas cleaner and more economical alternatives are open to Vietnam.

–       The International Monetary Fund has estimated that US$15 billion would be dedicated annually to health and hygiene costs. Air purification or stopping air quality deterioration is an issue to be solved urgently and threatened by the revival of coal energy.

–       Allowing DPPAs would boost investment and innovation in green energy sector and depressurize the distribution system.

–       Educating suppliers, users and investors through Power Price Roadmap, waste-to-energy system and tax incentives is the most effective way to ensure high observance of the Government’s measures regarding environment.

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If you have any question on the above, please do not hesitate to contact Mr. Oliver Massmann under omassmann@duanemorris.com, Oliver Massmann is the General Director of Duane Morris Vietnam LLC.

Thank you very much!

 

 

VIETNAM – INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT – OUTLOOK ON THE EUROPEAN UNION VIETNAM FREE TRADE AGREEMENT (EVFTA)

The Government has enacted several laws in order to promote infrastructure development especially through private investment. The latest one, Decree 15/2015/ND-CP on public-private partnership investment (the PPP Decree), was very promising regarding the forms of contract concerned, the various sectors targeted, the State support or participation and tender requirements. As a matter of fact, its enforcement revealed that more efforts were needed to achieve a successful PPP program.

To implement the PPP Decree, many documents were adopted in various sectors: project development procedures with Circular 02/2016/TT-BKHDT and Decision No. 06/2016/TT-BKHDT issued by the Ministry of Planning and Investment; financial management of PPP projects with Circular 55/2016/TT-BTC issued by the Ministry of Finance; power and energy tackled by the Ministry of Industry and Trade in Circular 23/2015/TT-BCT and Circular 38/2015/TT-BCT and finally transport sector with Circular 86/2015/TT-BGTVT issued by the Ministry of Transport.

Transparency and clearance of the PPP program

The issues remaining after the PPP Decree implementation concern the viability gap funding (VGF) and the project development fund (PDF) which differentiate PPP projects from Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) ones. Indeed, through availability payments incurred for PPP project, private operators are guaranteed with a profitable VGF regardless of the users’ fees and of the time before being profitable. Regulations on VGF and PDF should be established in order to fully control the PPP scheme.

Furthermore, infrastructure projects do not necessarily have to comply with PPP requirements since other contracts may be less demanding in terms of obligations and using incentives stated in the Investment Law of 2015. The idea, within the PPP program, is to attract private investors such as banks or credit institutions into financing highly-efficient projects and therefore relieving the State from the projects’ funding. This implies granting of more incentives to motivate foreign and local non-state banks.

Under the former regime concerning BOT contracts, a double licensing system was necessary for investors to qualify at selection stage and then for approval of the project and their own capacity.  The new PPP Decree does not clarify the process therefore a simplified procedure should be adopted.

Some difficulties, stated during the development of the drafts of the PPP Decree, are restraining project lenders. The first one concerns the impossibility of a mortgage on land use right for foreign contractors in BOT contracts and the issue regarding the interpretation of the land law. A provision of this law stipulates that a mortgage of land use rights is only possible if all land rents have been paid, whereas in BOT contracts land is granted for free. The Government decided then that a mortgage under this circumstance was impossible as no rent has been paid. The PPP Decree seems to allow payment of a nominal rent but this does not solve the mortgage problem for BOT foreign contractors. A practical provision should allow a certain land security for private investors.

Uncertainty regarding Government’s guarantees

Another concern tackles the guarantee on convertibility and remittability of VND income. Without such a guarantee, some BOT projects would not be bankable and sponsors even with the guarantee of exchange rate might be left with a residual risk of unconvertible income. A clear position on guarantees of exchange rates for project with VND revenues would remove the uncertainty.

The governing law for projects with a foreign contracting party or guaranteed by a competent authority in case the parties are two Vietnamese entities, may be a foreign law if not contradictory to the Vietnamese conflict of law rules. There is an uncertainty as whether the Government guarantees offtake or revenues for PPP projects or contracts under foreign or international law.

Furthermore, projects in sectors such as transport, renewable energy as well as traditional thermal power projects should be prioritized and if PPP projects’ proposals were not satisfactory, this implies to attract more foreign investors to develop sustainable projects. In this idea, the Vietnamese Government should financially support projects through guarantees or profitable VGF. In addition, establishing new guidelines on the preparation of PPP program will enhance projects’ planning and financing.

Opportunities within the PPP program

Many PPP projects are signed or about to be signed and all information related to PPP programs are compiled in a dedicated website provided by the Ministry of Planning and Investment and the Authorized State Agencies (ASAs), the latest also having its own list of projects. Achieving a successful PPP program and promoting infrastructure development in Vietnam require more efforts which could start with letting investors choose between PPP Decree and Investment Law. Indeed, imposing the PPP Decree as the exclusive way of developing infrastructure would be counter-effective regarding economy competitiveness.

As power demand is increasing in Vietnam, coal-fired power projects are under negotiations to be set in place for the time renewable energy will be sufficient to replace coal-fired energy. Due to the Paris Agreement, private investors in the coal-fired power sector will be getting rarer to turn to green energy projects.

Finally, the road sector is vital for economy and climate and yet, the risk allocation and concession principles as well as precisions on the bidding process are still expected in the Vietnamese legislation. Those issues should be solved to allow foreign investors’ involvement in the development of transport infrastructure.

Outlook on the EVFTA

As the EVFTA, officially signed on December 2nd 2015, is expected to enter into force by January 2018, many consequences will emerge. Concerning access to market, Vietnam will be in a privileged situation as the only country of South-East Asia (except for Singapore which does not stand as a direct concurrent) to have signed such an agreement. Both Vietnam and the EU will access a market of hundreds of millions people.

Besides, Vietnam and the EU’s commitments go further than the World Trade Organization’s ones especially in power/energy sector, maritime transport which shows a real effort to create the most sustainable and profitable environment for business and investment. In this idea, the Vietnamese legislation has been amended to become investor-friendly like the Law on Enterprises, the Investment Law and the PPP Decree. Some regulations still need development or implementation but we can expect new provisions and legislation with the entry into force of the EVFTA.

Most important issues

–       The impossibility of a mortgage on land use rights for BOT foreign contractors must be rearranged urgently by allowing a certain form of land or building security to insure BOT projects.

–       The licensing procedure for BOT investors and contractors should be simplified and regulations on VGF and PDF should be provided.

–       A review of the Government’s guarantees and conditions of granting guarantees should be established as to avoid investors’ discouragement at the preparation phase.

–       Investment in coal-fired sector might become rarer due to the Paris Agreement which encourages investment in green energy.

–       The road sector investment is uncertain when it should be supported to allow foreign investors’ involvement in transport infrastructure development.

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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.

Thank you!

 

 

Rechtsanwalt in Vietnam Oliver Massmann INFRASTRUKTURENTWICKLUNG IN VIETNAM – AUSBLICK ÜBER DAS EU – VIETNAM FREIHANDELSABKOMMEN (EVFTA)

Die Regierung hat mehrere Gesetze erlassen, um die Infrastrukturentwicklung vor allem durch private Investitionen zu fördern. Die jüngste Verordnung Nr. 15/2015 / ND-CP über öffentlich-private Partnerschaftsinvestitionen (PPP, engl. Public Private Partnership) war vielversprechend in Bezug auf die betreffenden Vertragsformen, die verschiedenen Sektoren, die staatlichen Unterstützungs- oder Beteiligungs- und Ausschreibungsanforderungen. In der Tat offenbarte die Durchsetzung der Verordnung, dass größere Anstrengungen erforderlich waren, um ein erfolgreiches PPP-Programm umzusetzen.

Zur Umsetzung der PPP-Verordnung wurden Dokumente in verschiedenen Bereichen verabschiedet: es wurden 1. das Verfahren zu Projektentwicklung mit dem Rundschreiben 02/2016 / TT-BKHDT und dem Beschluss Nr. 06/2016 / TT-BKHDT des Ministeriums für Planung und Investitionen; 2. die Finanzverwaltung von PPP-Projekten mittels Rundschreiben 55/2016 / TT-BTC vom Finanzministerium; 3. die Energie vom Ministerium für Industrie und Handel im Rundschreiben 23/2015 / TT-BCT und Rundschreiben 38/2015 / TT-BCT; sowie 4. im Verkehrssektor mit dem Rundschreiben 86/2015 / TT-BGTVT vom Verkehrsministerium ausgestellt.

Transparenz und Freigabe des PPP-Programms

Nach der Umsetzung des PPP-Beschlusses verbleiben Probleme betreffend der Rentabilitätslückenfinanzierung (VGF, engl. viability gap funding) und Projektentwicklungsfonds (PDF, engl. project development fonds), wodurch sich PPP-Projekte vom Betreibermodell (BOT, engl. Build-Operate-Transfer) unterscheiden. In der Tat wird privaten Betreibern – aufgrund der Verfügbarkeit von Zahlungen für PPP-Projekte – eine rentable VGF garantiert, unabhängig von den Gebühren der Nutzer und der Zeit. Verordnungen über VGF und PDF sollten erlassen werden, um das PPP-System vollständig zu kontrollieren.

Darüber hinaus müssen Infrastrukturprojekte nicht notwendigerweise den Anforderungen der PPP entsprechen, da andere Verträge im Hinblick auf Verpflichtungen und Anreize im Investitionsgesetz von 2015 weniger anspruchsvoll sein können. Die Überlegung im Rahmen des PPP-Programms besteht darin, private Investoren wie z.B. Banken oder Kreditinstituten zur Finanzierung hocheffizienter Projekte zu bewegen und damit den Staat von der Projektfinanzierung zu entlasten. Dies impliziert weitere Anreize zu gewähren, um ausländische und lokale nichtstaatliche Banken zu motivieren.

Im Rahmen der früheren Regelung über BOT-Verträge war für die Anleger ein doppeltes Lizenzsystem erforderlich, um sich bei der Auswahl und dann für die Genehmigung des Projekts und ihrer eigenen Kapazität zu qualifizieren. Das neue PPP-Dekret verdeutlicht diesen Prozess nicht, daher sollte ein vereinfachtes Verfahren beschlossen werden.

Einige Schwierigkeiten, die bei der Entwicklung der Entwürfe des PPP-Dekrets festgestellt wurden, beeinträchtigen Projektkreditgeber. Die erste betrifft die Unmöglichkeit  für ausländische Auftragnehmer in BOT-Verträgen Landnutzungsrechte als Sicherungsmittel einzusetzen und die Frage nach der Auslegung des Bodenrechts. Eine Bestimmung dieses Gesetzes sieht vor, dass Landnutzungsrechten nur als Sicherungsmittel eingesetzt werden können, soweit die Pacht vollständig bezahlt wurde, während nach BOT-Verträgen Grundstücke frei gewährt wird. Die Regierung entschied dann, dass Sicherungsmittel unter diesem Umstand unmöglich bereitzustellen ist, da keine Pacht bezahlt wurde. Das PPP-Dekret scheint die Zahlung einer nominalen Pacht zuzulassen, aber dies löst nicht das Problem mit Sicherungsmitteln für BOT ausländische Auftragnehmer. Durch praktische Regelungen sollte Privatanlegern zumindest eine gewisse Sicherungsmöglichkeit durch ihre Grundstücke eingeräumt werden.

Unsicherheit über die Bürgschaften der Regierung

Eine weitere Schwierigkeit betrifft die Garantie auf die Umwandelbarkeit und die Rückzahlbarkeit des Einkommens in Vietnamesische Dong. Ohne eine solche Garantie, wären einige BOT-Projekte nicht diskontfähig und Sponsoren könnte – selbst mit einer Garantie eines gleichbleibenden Wechselkurs – ein Restrisiko bleiben die Einnahmen nicht umwandeln zu können. Eine klarstellende Gewährleistung von Wechselkursen für Projekte mit Einnahmen in Vietnamesischen Dong, würde diese Unsicherheit beseitigen.

Anwendbares Recht für Projekte mit einer ausländischen Vertragspartei, oder zweier vietnamesischer Unternehmen, sofern die zuständige Behörde dies zulässt, kann dann ausländisches Recht sein, solange dies nicht im Widerspruch zum vietnamesischen Kollisionsrecht steht. Es besteht Unklarheit darüber, ob die Regierung Gewinne oder Einnahmen für PPP-Projekte, sowie Verträge nach ausländischem oder internationalem Recht garantiert.

Darüber hinaus sollten Projekte in Branchen wie Verkehr, erneuerbaren Energien sowie traditioneller Wärmeenergie bevorzugt werden, und wenn die Vorschläge der PPP-Projekte nicht zufriedenstellend waren, bedeutet dies, dass ausländische Investoren dafür gewonnen werden sollten, sich vermehrt für die Entwicklung nachhaltiger Projekte einsetzen. Mithin sollte die vietnamesische Regierung Projekte durch Garantien oder profitable VGF finanziell unterstützen. Darüber hinaus wird die Festlegung neuer Richtlinien für die Vorbereitung des PPP-Programms die Planung und Finanzierung der Projekte verbessern.

Chancen im Rahmen des PPP-Programms

Viele PPP-Projekte sind bereits unterzeichnet oder werden noch unterzeichnet und alle Informationen im Zusammenhang mit PPP-Programmen sind auf einer speziellen Website zusammengestellt, die durch das Ministerium für Planung und Investitionen und die Authorized State Agencies (ASAs) veröffentlicht werden, zuletzt auch mit einer eigenen Liste von Projekten. Den Erfolg zu erreichen mit einem PPP und die Infrastrukturentwicklung in Vietnam zu fördern, erfordert weitere Anstrengungen, was beginnen könnte mit einem Wahlrecht von Investoren zwischen der PPP-Verordnung und dem Investitionsrecht. Tatsächlich wäre die Verabschiedung der PPP-Verordnung als die einzige Möglichkeit Infrastruktur zu entwickeln, in Bezug auf die wirtschaftliche Wettbewerbsfähigkeit kontraproduktiv.

Da die Energienachfrage in Vietnam steigt, wird derzeit angedacht bis zu dem Zeitpunkt, an dem erneuerbare Energien ausreichen werden, vermehrt Kohlekraftwerke zu nutzen. Aufgrund des Pariser Übereinkommens werden private Investoren, die Kohlekraftwerke investieren rarer, da der Fokus auf der Grünen Energiebewegung liegt.

Schließlich ist der Straßenbausektor für Wirtschaft und Klima unentbehrlich, und doch bestehen für die Risikoverteilung, die Konzessionsgrundsätze und Klarstellungen des Bieterprozesses noch hohe Erwartungen an die vietnamesische Gesetzgebung. Diese Fragen sollten gelöst werden, um die Beteiligung der ausländischen Investoren an der Entwicklung der Verkehrsinfrastruktur zu ermöglichen.

Ausblick auf die EVFTA

Durch die EVFTA, die am 2. Dezember 2015 unterzeichnet und voraussichtlich bis Januar 2018 in Kraft treten wird, ergeben sich viele Änderungen. In Bezug auf den Marktzugang wird Vietnam in einer privilegierten Situation sein, da es als einziger Staat Südostasiens (abgesehen von Singapur, das eine kaum vergleichbare Ausgangssituation aufweist) eine solche Vereinbarung unterzeichnet hat. Sowohl Vietnam als auch die EU werden auf einen Markt von Hunderten von Millionen Menschen zugreifen.

Darüber hinaus gehen die Verpflichtungen Vietnams und der EU weiter, als die der Welthandelsorganisation – insbesondere im Energiesektor, im Schiffstransportwesen – was die ehrliche Bemühung zur Schaffung eines nachhaltigeren und profitableren Umfelds für Wirtschaft und Investitionen beweist. In diesem Sinne wurde die vietnamesische Gesetzgebung geändert, um Investoren-freundlicher zu werden, wie das Konzernrecht, das Investitionsrecht und die PPP-Verordnung. Einige Verordnungen brauchen noch Entwicklung oder Umsetzung, aber wir können mit dem Inkrafttreten der EVFTA neue Bestimmungen und Rechtsvorschriften erwarten.

Die wichtigsten Fragen

– Die Unmöglichkeit einer Hypothek auf Landnutzungsrechte für BOT ausländische Auftragnehmer bedarf dringender Nachbesserung, indem sie für BOT Projekte eine bestimmte Form von Sicherungsmittel durch Grundstücke oder Eigentum erlaubt.

– Das Genehmigungsverfahren für BOT-Investoren und Vertragspartner sollte vereinfacht und Vorschriften über VGF und PDF erstellt werden.

– Es sollte eine Überprüfung der von der Regierung abgegebenen Garantien und deren Voraussetzungen vorgenommen werden, um zu vermeiden, dass die Anleger in der Vorbereitungsphase entmutigt werden.

– Investitionen im Kohlebereich könnten seltener werden aufgrund des Pariser Abkommens, das Investitionen in die grüne Energie fördert.

– Für Investitionen für Straßenverkehr bleibt ungewiss, wann die Beteiligung der ausländischen Investoren in die Entwicklung der Verkehrsinfrastruktur unterstützt werden soll.

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Bitte zögern Sie nicht, Herrn Rechtsanwalt Oliver Massmann unter omassmann@duanemorris.com zu kontaktieren, sofern Sie Fragen haben oder mehr darüber erfahren möchten. Oliver Massmann ist der Geschäftsführer von Duane Morris Vietnam LLC.

Vielen Dank!