Lawyer in Vietnam Oliver Massmann BREAKING NEWS The Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement VIETNAM WILL REAP HUGE BENEFITS

Trade ministers reached an agreement on the TPP on Monday (05 October 2015) after five days of intensive talks, following their failure to reach consensus in Hawaii in late July.
The TPP is one of the largest trade agreements ever to be negotiated, involving some of the largest nations in the world with an annual gross domestic product of nearly $28 trillion that represents roughly 40 percent of global GDP and one-third of world trade. Countries participating in the negotiations include those throughout the Asia- Pacific region, namely Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam. The TPP is touted to be the 21st century trade agreement, set a template for regional and global trade and investment and incorporate next-generation issues.
The TPP addresses a number of rising trade issues which have been stumbling blocks to global trade recently, such as e-commerce, financial services and cross-border electronic communications. Other cross-cutting issues are also covered, such as role of state-owned enterprises in the economy, government procurement, and other topics.
Vietnam would be the largest beneficiary of this trade pact as a result of its strong trade ties with the United States, and its highly competitive positions in industries such as manufacturing where China is gradually losing its competitive advantage. Vietnam is also considered as one of the countries among Japan, Malaysia, Brunei, New Zealand that the United States would like to establish formal trade agreements. Statistics shows that by participating in the TPP, Vietnam’s GDP would add an additional increase of 13.6% to the baseline scenario.

Some major points in the TPP are as follows:
Free trade zone: tariff and quotas have been long used as trade measures to protect domestic industries from cheap overseas goods and efficient sources of collecting revenue for the states, especially for developing ones. However, tariff and quotas have been used less compared with other non-tariff measures in the past years. With the TPP, tariff and non-tariff barriers are even reduced and removed more substantially across all trade in services and goods. TPP Parties, especially Vietnam, would gain many benefits from the upcoming business opportunities and open market access resulting from the trade pact.
Trade in goods
With tariff and non-tariff reduction and elimination on industrial goods, high quality- jobs will be supported and trade in a 800-million people market will increase. Most tariff elimination will be implemented immediately, with tariff on some other products will be reduced over a committed period of time. For elimination and reduction of restrictive policies on agricultural goods, food security will be enhanced. Vietnam’s agricultural products will have more opportunities to be exported to other TPP members and gain their competitive advantage due to cheap labors and natural endowments.
Trade in services
Trade in services is of utmost importance to all TPP Parties. Thus, all 12 countries give consent to a liberalized trade in this area. Besides incorporating basic WTO principles (national treatment, most-favored nation treatment, market access, and local presence), the TPP takes a negative approach, meaning that their markets are fully opened to service suppliers from other TPP Parties, except otherwise indicated in their commitments.
Comprehensive trade: The TPP includes commitments that seek to encourage participation and development of businesses of all levels and sizes. Small-and medium-sized businesses, which are quite popular in Vietnam, will receive assistance from other countries to understand the agreement, take advantage of their opportunities, build their own trade capacity to grow fast in the future.
Government procurement: All TPP parties commit to ensure transparent, predictable and non-discriminatory government procurement markets. National treatment and non-discrimination are core principles. Governments undertake to timely publish information on tender, allow sufficient time for bidders to prepare for and submit bids, maintain confidentiality of tenders. The TPP also requires its Parties assess bids based on fair and objective principles, evaluate and award bids only based on criteria set out in notices and tender documentation, create an effective regime for complaints and settling disputes, etc. These rules require all Parties, especially Vietnam, in the context of China’s bidders predominantly win the bids with cheap offer price but low-quality services, to reform their bidding procedures and protect their own interests by disqualifying tenders with poor performance and low capacity.
State-owned enterprises: Vietnam and Malaysia have many state-owned enterprises. The United States and others have some as well which are involved in public services and other activities. TPP negotiators have place emphasis on how to regulate operation of such enterprises, preferential treatment granted to these enterprises, non-discrimination of the state-owned enterprises against other countries’ goods and services. Participating in the TPP would then be a driving force for Vietnam in its privatization process of 432 state-owned enterprises in the 2014-2015 period. The remaining Vietnamese state-owned enterprise will also need to undergo strict reform procedures to meet standard requirements in the TPP.
Transparency and anti-corruption: The TPP includes rules on goods governance, bribery and corrosive anti-corruption, which have long been considered as one of the factors that discourage investors when deciding their business expansion, especially in countries like Vietnam with corruption index ranking Number 119 out of 175 countries globally according to Transparency International. The TPP Parties have agreed on adopting or maintaining laws criminalizing corruption behaviors by a public official affecting international trade or investment. Parties also commit to effectively enforce their anticorruption laws and regulations. As part of the TPP, Vietnam’s business environment in terms of transparency and “cleanliness” would be much improved, paving the way for more foreign investment in the upcoming time.
Other important trade and trade-related issues are covered in 30 chapters of the TPP, ranging from customs and trade facilitation; sanitary and phytosanitary measures; technical barriers to trade; trade remedies; investment; intellectual property; labor; environment; dispute settlement; etc. All TPP parties are conducting procedures to release the text of the agreement, which would then have to be approved domestically in each country member.
Please do not hesitate to contact Oliver Massmann under 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 Solar Power Vietnam Breaking News: First Ever Regulations GOVERNMENT’S INCENTIVES TO DEVELOP SOLAR POWER PROJECTS IN VIETNAM

Vietnam is among the countries with the world’s highest annual sunshine allocation on the world’s solar radiation map. This is an advantage for Vietnam in its efforts to develop a solar power industry, in the context of increasing demand for electricity and the potential risks of traditional electricity production sources.
To encourage investment in renewable energy projects, the Vietnam Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) has proposed the first Draft Decision of the Prime Minister on incentives for solar power projects, especially in terms of investment capital, tax and land use rights. These incentives would apply to power generation projects using the photovoltaic method. The following analysis is based on the latest Draft Decision, which will be subject to further changes when the official decision is adopted.
Investment incentives
Investment capital: Investors may mobilize capital from domestic or overseas organizations and individuals to invest in solar power projects. Such projects are entitled to investment credit and export credit incentives. In particular, investors could apply for a loan of up to 70 percent of the total investment capital of their project with a maximum term of 12 years. Moreover, investors could also enjoy export credit incentives in a loan of up to 85 percent of the export/import contract value, also with a maximum term of 12 years.
Import duty: Solar power projects are exempted from an import duty on those goods imported to create fixed assets of the projects; these include components, materials and semi-finished products that are not available in Vietnam and that are needed for the project’s operation.
Corporate income tax: According to current taxation regulations, solar power projects will also enjoy the same corporate income tax exemption and reduction as projects in sectors that are receiving investment incentives. For example, a corporate income tax rate of 10 percent will be applied for 15 years, tax exemptions will occur within four years and taxes will be reduced by 50 percent in the next nine years.
Land: Solar power projects, lines and transformer stations connected to the national grid enjoy the same exemptions and reductions in land use and land rental as projects entitled to special investment treatment. Such incentives, among other things, include exemption of land rental within three years from the operation date of the project.
Who will be the off-taker?
According to the Draft Decision, the Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) or its authorized member units will be the power purchaser. The power sale and purchase will be conducted by negotiating and signing the power sale and purchase agreement according to the template agreement stipulated by the MOIT. Terms of the agreement extend 20 years from the commercial operation date of the project. Duane Morris will continue to monitor the issuance of the template agreement by the MOIT.
Feed-in-tariff (FIT) rate
EVN is responsible for buying the whole electric output from solar power projects, with the electric buying price at the point of electricity receipt to be 1,800 Vietnamese dong/kwh and 3,500 Vietnamese dong/kWh (equivalent to 12 U.S. cents/kWh and 16.7 U.S. cents/kWh).
For solar power projects installed on the roof of a house connected to the grid, if the electricty generated is more than that consumed, the difference to be bought at the point of electricity receipt is 3,150 Vietnamese dong/kWh (not including VAT, equivalent to 15 U.S. cents/kWh). This price will be adjusted based on the fluctuation rate between the Vietnamese dong and U.S. dollar. If the electricity generated is less than that consumed, the electricity received from the grid must be paid at the normal commercial price charged by the electricity purchaser.
The above FIT rate is still low compared to other neighboring Asian countries. In Thailand, the new FIT is THB 5.66/KWh (about 15.7 U.S. cents/kWh) for a solar farm of less than 90MW. For a solar rooftop, the FIT rate varies depending on the capacity of the project. With a solar rooftop of 250–1,000 KW, the FIT would be THB 6.01/kWh (about 17 U.S. cents/kWh). The FIT for solar rooftops of 10–250 KW and less than 10KW are THB 6.40/kWh (about 18 U.S. cents/kWh) and THB 6.96/kWh (about 19 U.S. cents/kWh), respectively. In the current Draft Decision, Vietnam does not draw any difference between the capacity of the solar rooftop projects but sets the FIT rate based on the difference between electricity consumed and generated. Meanwhile, the FIT in the Philippines for solar power projects is also higher than that of Vietnam, i.e., P 9.68/kWh (equivalent to 21 U.S. cents/kWh). As Vietnam’s FIT is still in the drafting process and not yet final, the anticipation is high for this to be amended in the next draft to reach regional levels. This is of vital importance to attract investment.
If the Draft Decision is adopted, it would be the first-ever legal document regulating solar energy in Vietnam. The Government of Vietnam strives to attract foreign investment in the sector and to take full advantage of the plentiful solar energy—an average solar radiation of 5kWh/m2 per day—across Vietnam. Foreign investors, especially those in the U.S, have been eyeing Vietnam for their investment in clean energy. The Government of Vietnam is aware of the need to garner support for these projects and is offering incentives. While these projects may not meet investors’ expectations in the immediate future, the movement appears positive. The developing agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), affecting Vietnam, the United States and 10 other countries, points the way toward a developing energy sector in general—and clean energy in particular. Therefore, these factors suggest a growing market and plenty of investment incentives for U.S investors, as well as other members of the TPP.
Oliver Massmann is the General Director of Duane Morris Vietnam LLC. Mr. Massmann practices in the area of corporate international taxation and on power/water projects, matters related to oil and gas companies and telecoms, privatization and equitization, mergers and acquisitions, and general commercial matters for multinational clients in relation to investment and doing business in Vietnam. He can be reached at

Disclaimer: This article is prepared and published for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the author’s law firm or its individual partners.

Vietnam Foreign Direct Investment

By Oliver Massmann and Manfred Otto – Duane Morris Vietnam LLC

Foreign Direct Investment

A Brief Overview
Vietnam is undergoing fundamental changes to form the basis for its attractiveness and competitiveness in preparation for the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), the upcoming trade agreements including the EU-Vietnam FTA and the Transpacific Partnership Agreement (TPP).
Since July 2015, a number of new laws and regulations governing foreign investment, enterprises, real estate and foreign ownership limits have come into effect. For example, the new Law on Investment and the new Law on Enterprises:
(i) clarify definitions of foreign-invested enterprises;
(ii) facilitate M&A activities;
(iii) reduce the number of prohibited and conditional business sectors;
(iv) reduce statutory business licensing times;
(v) provide more flexibility with regard to corporate governance (such as multiple legal representatives and lower voting thresholds); and
(vi) create more favourable conditions for shareholder lawsuits.
In addition, new laws and regulations affecting foreign ownership of real estate have come into effect. Foreigners can now own apartments and for the first time buy houses. They are now also permitted to sublease and inherit real estate.
With the coming into effect of several international trade agreements and more particularly, the EVFTA, EuroCham members are looking forward to the positive changes that will be implemented and that will further business incentives as well as contribute to Vietnam’s growth.
Vietnam as an attractive FDI destination
In addition to the numerous legal changes, Vietnam has fundamental elements that participate to its continued growth. For instance, Vietnam is in a demographic golden age, with 25% of its 90 million people population between 10 and 24 years old. GDP per capital is increasing drastically as Vietnam has the fastest-growing middle class in South East Asia – (12.9% per annum over the period 2012-2020). Along with a high literacy rate and education levels, comparatively low wages, connectivity and central location within ASEAN, more and more foreign investors choose Vietnam as their hub to service the Mekong region and beyond.
Vietnam’s attractive profile is reflected in its generally welcoming of foreign direct investment (FDI) in manufacturing activities. The gradual opening of most service sectors under Vietnam’s WTO commitments schedule that began in 2007 has been completed in 2015. Domestic law has expanded market access in some sectors beyond those of Vietnam’s WTO commitments. For example, foreign shareholding in public companies that was previously capped at 49% is now generally open for to up 100% foreign ownership. Vietnam also grants investment incentives including tax breaks in areas, such as high-tech, environmental technology, and agriculture, where European businesses are global leaders.
Furthermore, in 2014, Vietnam recorded $21.92 billion in FDI with a total of 1843 investment licenses for foreign invested projects with a registered capital of $16.5 billion, representing a 14% increase from the previous year. Among the foreign investors, the EU is an increasingly important source of FDI for Vietnam as ‘according to the Foreign Investment Agency of the Vietnamese Ministry of Planning and investment, investors from 23 out of 28 Member States of the EU injected a total committed FDI worth US$19.1 billion into 1566 projects over the course of the past 25 years (by 15 December 2014)’. With this strong activity, in 2014, the EU positioned itself as fifth in the top FDI partners of Vietnam with a combined committed FDI of US$587.1 million.

Source: ‘Vietnam’s logistics market: Exploring the opportunities, Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC)

In addition to FDI, the EU-Vietnam’s strong trade relationship can be seen through programmes like the Multilateral Trade Assistance Project (MUTRAP) which accounts for over €35.12 billion. MUTRAP has been instrumental in supporting Vietnam’s negotiating efforts during the WTO accession process and now continues to assist Vietnam in the implementation of trade commitments. In terms of trade, both the EU and Vietnamese businesses are expected to benefit under the EVFTA. The FTA will gradually eliminate tariffs for over 99% of goods and services besides other mechanisms to support bilateral trade. On 4 August 2015, the EU and Vietnam reached an agreement in principle for the free trade deal, an agreement that will also attract further FDI into the country.
Vietnam’s top trading partners 2013
Finally, the EU’s strong commitment to support Vietnam in its modernisation and integration in the world economy is mirrored by the aid programmes. In line with Vietnam’s 2020 socio-economic plan, the EU has increased its aid by 30 % reaching 400 million euros via its multi-annual indicative programme for the period of 2014-2020 focusing on the development of clean energy in Vietnam.

Further improvements necessary
It is clear that Vietnam’s development and its attractiveness to foreign investors are undeniable as Vietnam is constantly improving its business environment.
However, as of this writing, guiding regulations for many new laws have still not been published, and investors are experiencing delays in the processing of applications. We expect processing times to improve once the new implementing regulations come into effect and officials get accustomed to the changes.
Another issue that has been highlighted by our members is that many foreign investors still face significant challenges when dealing with Vietnam’s bureaucracy. Tax filing, customs clearance, business registration and licensing, and other administrative procedures are often delayed, outcomes can be unpredictable, and businesses find themselves spending resources on administration that they would prefer to invest in expanding their core activities.
Despite remaining hurdles, the national government of Vietnam has expressed an understanding of the issues surrounding foreign investment. Providing foreign investors increased access to its market, the stream of FDI is expected to continue. For many foreign investors the positive economic development of the country and its fundamentals substantially outweigh potential risks.
In this light, EuroCham wishes to present the key issues that our members face in their activity in Vietnam along with some key recommendations. EuroCham hopes to engage in a constructive dialogue and increasing cooperation with the relevant authorities on all the issues presented in this edition in order to improve the business environment for all enterprises in Vietnam and contribute to the country’s fast modernisation.


1‘Vietnam; from golden age to golden oldies’, UK FOC, 07/01/15. Available at
2‘Report revises 2014 FDI figures’ Viet Nam News, 18/03/15. Available at
3‘Investment -EU-Vietnam economic and trade relations’, Delegation to the European Union to Vietnam, 2015. Available at
4‘Vietnam’s logistics market: Exploring the opportunities, Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), 20/01/15. Available at
5‘Trade – EU-Vietnam economic and trade relations’, Delegation to the European Union to Vietnam, 2015. Available at
6‘European Union, Trade in goods with Vietnam’, European Commission DG Trade, 10/04/15, p.9. Available at
7‘Development Cooperation’, Delegation to the European Union to Vietnam, 2015. Available at

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Lawyer in Vietnam Oliver Massmann Core Features of new Investment Law for Investors

1) In your opinion, what are the most important features of the new investment law from an investor’s perspective?

It is considered as the most-investor friendly investment law ever in Vietnam. It provides clearer investment procedure timeline, consolidated conditional business sectors, defined capital ratio to be qualified as foreign investors which determines which licensing procedure applies. Notably, it explicitly states that there would be no investment registration certificate required for M&A transaction.

2) What impact do you expect these to have? How effective do you think this law will be?

The investment environment will become more attractive. Investors would face less burdens and unexpected statutory requirements. A new wave of M&A is expected to come. However, the real effectiveness of this law would need to be assessed at a later stage when the implementing decrees are issued. As long as these documents have not been adopted, positive changes that the new investment law is said to bring are just theoretical.

3) How does this law fit in with the current investment climate of Vietnam, and the growth and development path the country is taking?

Vietnam is making great efforts to integrate into the world’s economy. The EU-Vietnam FTA is at the final stage whereas the TPP is also expected to be concluded soon. The Government of Vietnam is fiercely improving the business and investment environment and making great attempts to achieve key economic indicators of top regional countries until 2016. Resolution No. 19/NQ-CP/2015 of the Government dated 12 March 2015 has set out the Government’s strong commitments and positive changes to improve the business environment and strengthen the economy’s ability to compete in 2015 and 2016 by pushing for reforms to reduce time-consuming and burdensome administrative procedures; enhancing governmental offices’ transparency and accountability; and adopting international standards. These positive changes could be seen clearly in the tax, insurance and customs related sectors.

Please do not hesitate to contact Oliver Massmann under 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.



Anwalt in Vietnam Oliver Massmann Vietnam – das Investor freundlichste Land in ASEAN – eine Analyse aus Investorensicht

Vietnam ist der beste Ort in ASEAN um Investitionen zu tätigen – das ist die weit verbreitete Antwort von Investoren, wenn Sie gefragt werden, wo sie in der nächsten Zeit planen Geschäfte zu tätigen. Das ist keine Überzeichnung der Lage in Vietnam, denn das Investitionsumfeld in Vietnam hat Potential und basiert auf einer soliden Grundlage, verbesserter wirtschaftlichen Diversifizierung, internationaler Anpassung, reformierter Investitionsgesetzgebung und guter Wirtschaftspolitik.

Wirtschaftliche Erholung und stabiles Wachstum

Den neusten Statistiken zufolge hat sich das BIP in Vietnam in den letzten Monaten stark erhöht, es ist um 6,28% gestiegen. Das ist der größte Anstieg der letzten fünf Jahre und könnte weit über dem angestrebten Ziel für 2015 liegen. Nicht nur die vietnamesische Regierung ist optimistisch bzgl. der wirtschaftlichen Entwicklung des Landes im letzten Jahr, auch internationale Organisationen kommen zu dem Schluss, dass das BIP 2015 erheblich steigen wird. ANZ hat ein BIP-Wachstum von ungefähr 6,5% für Vietnam in den Jahren 2015 und 2016 vorausgesagt. Diese Voraussage basiert vor allem auf den positiven Signalen aus Vietnam, wie zum Beispiel, einer verstärkten Binnennachfrage, steigender Anziehung ausländischer Direktinvestitionen der verarbeitenden Industrie und der Konsumklima-Index erreichte einen neuen Höhepunkt im Juni diesen Jahres. Vietnam ist das einzige Land innerhalb der neun Ostasiatischen Staaten, bei dem die Weltbank die vorhandene Prognose nochmals erhöht hat, nachdem die Zahlen Ende 2014 vorlagen. In der PwC-Untersuchung “The world in 2050” wird Vietnam bescheinigt, weltweit an 2. Stelle hinsichtlich des durchschnittlichen jährlichen GDP-Wachstums zu liegen. Im Schnitt 5,3% p.a. von 2014 bis 2050. Damit ist Vietnams Wirtschaft die am schnellsten wachsende in ganz Asien, bis 2050. Darüber hinaus wird die Inflationsrate von der Regierung kontrolliert, indem der Verbraucher-Preis-Index gesteuert wird, dadurch liegt die Inflationsrate zwischen 3-5% während des kompletten Jahres, was unter dem maximal erlaubten von 5% für das Jahr 2015 liegt. Diese zwei wichtigen makroökonomischen Indizien sind ein Anzeichen dafür, dass die Bemühungen der vietnamesischen Regierung erfolgreich sind und dass sich die Wirtschaft erholt und stabilisiert.

Solide Wirtschaftspolitik der Regierung und deren positive Ergebnisse

Zusammen mit der makroökonomischen Stabilität und der kontrollierten Inflation schafft es die vietnamesische Regierung das Geschäfts-und Investitionsklima erheblich zu verbessern. Sie versucht außerdem Vietnam bis 2016 an die Spitze der Region zu bringen indem die wirtschaftlichen Kennzahlen verbessert werden sollen. Die am 12. März 2015 von der Regierung herausgegebene Resolution Nr. 19 / NQ-CP / 2015 zeugt von dem starken Engagement und den positiven Veränderungen die die Regierung bereit ist zu tätigen um die wirtschaftlichen Fähigkeiten Vietnams für die Jahre 2015 und 2016 zu stärken. Es sollen Reformen erlassen werden bzgl. der zeitaufwendigen und lästigen Verwaltungsvorschriften, Verbesserung der Transparenz und der Verantwortlichkeit staatlicher Stellen und indem internationale Standards eingeführt werden sollen. Seit dem 1. Januar 2015 ist die Zeit, die man damit verbringt Steuervorschriften einzuhalten von 872 Stunden pro Jahr im Jahr 2013 auf 370 Stunden gesunken, die Erarbeitung der Steuererklärung dauert nur noch 121,5 Stunden, diese kann dann sowohl online eingereicht werden als auch online bezahlt werden. 2014 haben ca. 95% der Unternehmen ihre Steuererklärung online eingereicht, 2013 waren es im Vergleich nur 65%.
Mit der Einführung des „Single-Window-Regime“ an internationalen Häfen wird erwartet dass sich die Warenabfertigung beim Export von 21 Tagen auf 14 Tage und beim Import auf 13 Tage reduziert. Unternehmen würden dadurch 10-20% ihrer Kosten und 30% der Zollkosten einsparen.
Nicht nur im Steuer-und Zoll Sektor hat die vietnamesische Regierung Reformen vorangetrieben, sondern auch im Verwaltungsbereich der Versicherungen, der Zeitaufwand für die Zahlung der Versicherung hat sich um 100 Stunden pro Jahr von 335 auf 235 reduziert.

Vietnams regionale und internationale Integration

Investoren sind der Ansicht, dass Vietnams aktuelle Bemühen um ein Freihandelsabkommen dazu führen, dass sich Vietnam immer besser in die Weltwirtschaft einfügt und immer bessere Investitionsmöglichkeiten bietet. Konkret sieht das folgendermaßen aus, Vietnam verhandelt zur Zeit mit 12 anderen Ländern, darunter sind unter anderem Vietnams Haupthandelspartner, Japan und USA, über das Transpazifische Partnerschaftsabkommen (TPP), wobei dieses Abkommen aus einem Markt von 800 Millionen Menschen besteht und somit 38% des weltweiten BIP stellt. Vietnam wäre einer der größten Nutznießer dieses Abkommens, als Folge der engen Handelsbeziehungen mit den USA sowie der guten wettbewerbsfähigen Situation in Bezug auf den Fertigungssektor, da China momentan dort immer mehr an Boden verliert. Statistiken zeigen, dass Vietnams BIP sich durch die Teilnahme am TPP um 13,6% steigen wird.
Neben dem TPP verhandelt Vietnam über ein Freihandelsabkommen mit der EU, welches auch eine Vielzahl an Möglichkeiten eröffnet, z.B. Zollsenkungen, Handelserleichterungen, Investitionsanziehungskraft, die Erweiterung des Marktes um die 27 EU-Ländern, nachhaltige Entwicklung und wirtschaftliche Umstrukturierung. Auf 99% der vietnamesischen Exporte in die EU wird kein Zoll mehr anfallen, was dazu führen wird, dass sich der Export um ca. 30-40% erhöhen wird und ca. 20-25% mehr importiert werden wird.
Vietnam und neun andere ASEAN Länder haben geplant die ASEAN Wirtschaftsgemeinschaft (AEC) bis zum Ende dieses Jahres zu gründen. Dieser Markt ist dynamisch und besteht aus über 620 Millionen Verbrauchern, wobei mehr als 60% davon unter 35 Jahre alt sind. Wenn diese Gemeinschaft einmal gegründet ist, ist sie zurzeit die siebtgrößte Wirtschaftsgemeinschaft weltweilt und wird die viert größte im Jahre 2050 sein, falls sich der aktuelle Wachstumstrend fortsetzt. AEC wird einer der Knotenpunkte für Produktion und internationalen Handel sein. Das Ziel ist es, Investitionsbarrieren abzubauen und die Freizügigkeit von Arbeitnehmer zu fördern. Investoren können ihre Produktion in einem Land haben und ihre Produkte dann in allen anderen Ländern der AEC vertreiben. Viele ausländische Investoren haben angefangen dem Trend zu folgen und verlegen ihre Produktionsstätten aus anderen Ländern, meist aus China, nach Vietnam.
Andere Freihandelsabkommen sind in Arbeit, wie Vietnam – Korea FTA und Vietnam – Eurasia Economic Union. Diese Abkommen öffnen für Vietnam die Tür um Textilien, Leder, Holzmöbel und landwirtschaftliche Produkte zu exportieren. Sie schaffen es aber auch, dass ausländische Investoren ihr Kapital in Vietnam erhöhen und ihre Geschäfte in Vietnam ausbreiten. Es wird erwartet, dass durch diese Freihandelsabkommen eine zweite Investitionswelle in Vietnam entstehen wird, der ersten, nach dem WTO Beitritt Vietnams im Jahre 2007, folgend.

Zweite Investitionswelle in Vietnam

Es ist nicht länger bloße Theorie, Vietnam profitiert wirklich von dem Lohnanstieg in China und der damit verbundenen Produktionsverlagerung nach Vietnam. Eine Vielzahl von High-Tech Investmentprojekten haben entschieden ihr Investitionskapital in Vietnam zu steigern und ihre Produktion zu erweitern um rechtzeitig fertig für die Chancen, die sich mit den diversen Freihandelsabkommen auftun werden, fertig zu sein.
Kürzlich hat Bel Vietnam, ein berühmter Produzent von französischem Käse in Vietnam, eine neue Fabrik in Binh Duong mit 17.000m2 Produktionsfläche erbaut, mit einem Investitionskapital von 17 Mio. US$. Die Fabrik soll 2016 in Betrieb genommen werden und bis 2020 eine Auslastung haben, die neunmal so groß ist als die alte. Dem Generaldirektor von Bel Vietnam entsprechend, soll das neue Werk als Regionalversorgungszentrum für den kompletten südostasiatischen Markt dienen und somit die Vorteile der AEC voll ausnutzen können. Außerdem soll das Werk auch als Forschungs- und Entwicklungszentrum für neue Produkte der Unternehmensgruppe dienen.
Ein weiteres Beispiel kommt von der LG Gruppe, deren ursprüngliches Investitionskapital lag bei 300 Mio. US$ um eine neue Fabrik in Hai Phong zu errichten, welches schließlich auf 1,5 Mrd. US$ aufgestockt worden ist. Das Werk ist der größte Komplex der Region, innerhalb von 800.000m2, und wird High-Tech-Produkte, wie Fernseher, Staubsauer, Handys, usw. für den Export und den lokalen Markt produzieren.
2014 hat Mercedes-Benz 10 Mio. US$ in eine der weltweit modernsten und umweltfreundlichsten Elektrotauchbeschichtungsanlage investiert. Außerdem wurden in das „Der-Sterne-System“ weitere 10 Mio. US$ investiert, um eine neue Produktlinie für 5 Mio. US$ zu fertigen sowie das Netz in Vietnam für 5 Mio. US$ auszubauen.
Am 10. November 2014 hat Samsung verkündet, dass in Bezug auf ihre Export orientierte Strategie das Investitionskapital in Vietnam um 3 Mrd. US$ erhöht wird. Samsung hat momentan drei Werke in Thai Nguyen und Bac Ninh Province mit einem Investitionskapital von 1 Mrd. US$, 2,5 Mrd. US$ und 2 Mrd. US$, wobei letzteres Headsets produziert und die zusätzlichen 3 Mrd. US$ in dieses investiert werden. Dies ist nur ein weiteres Beispiel für die Verschiebung der Produktionsstätten, weg aus China nach Vietnam, da Südkorea eine immer geringere Importrate nach China hat.
Andere Investoren im Textilsektor bereiten sich auf einen Markteintritt in Vietnam vor um von den Vorteilen des kommenden TPP zu profitieren. Dadurch, dass China, Thailand und Indien, welche direkte Konkurrenten in der Textilindustrie für Vietnam sind, nicht Teil der TPP Verhandlungen sind, hat Vietnam einen Wettbewerbsvorteil in der Preisgestaltung bedingt durch Steuervorteile in den teilnehmenden Ländern. Dies ist ein entscheidender Faktor, besonders, da China und die EU noch in möglichen Verhandlungen bzgl. eines Freihandelsabkommens stehen. Bis jetzt hat die Itochu Gruppe aus Japan 3% der Vinatex Aktien gekauft für 9,25 Mio. US$ und hat in einige Textilprojekte in Vietnam investiert. Eine taiwanesische Textilgruppe hat ebenfalls ihr Investmentkapital um 320 Mio. US$ erhöht und führt damit eine kompletten Produktionsstrecke in Vietnam ein. Es wird erwartet, dass durch das TPP Vietnams Textilexporte im Jahr 2020 30 Mrd. US$ und im Jahr 2030 55 Mrd. US$ erreichen werden. Nicht nur in der Textilindustrie, auch im Niedrigpreissegment hat es in letzter Zeit eine Umverteilung der Produktionsstätten gegeben, z.B. Schuhproduktionsunternehmen verlagern ihre Produktionsstätten von China nach Vietnam aufgrund der geringeren Produktionskosten. Den Statistiken von 2014 entsprechend waren mehr als 70% der ausländischen Direkt-Investitionen im Produktions- und Montagesektor. Diese Zahl beinhaltet bereits den Niedrigpreissektor von Textil- und Materialherstellung aus China.

Neue Investitionsgesetzgebung

Gleichzeitig ist sich die Regierung bewusst, wie wichtig die Reformen sind, die zur Verbesserung des Geschäftsklimas beitragen. Es gewinnt sogar noch an Bedeutung, wenn die neuen Freihandelsabkommen in Kraft treten, da diese teilweise institutionelle Reformen in Vietnam als Bedingungen zur Unterzeichnung voraussetzen. Die neuen Gesetze gelten als die liberalsten und Investor freundlichsten in der Region, wie zum Beispiel das neue Unternehmensrecht, das Investmentrecht und das Dekret über Public Private Partnerships, welche umgesetzt worden sind. Barrieren für Unternehmen und Investitionen wurden entfernt um den Weg für ein offenes, transparentes und „alles-ist-möglich“- Umfeld für Investoren zu ebenen. Das Investmentrecht von 2014 reduziert die verbotenen und die beschränkt erlaubten Geschäftsarten erheblich im Vergleich zum alten Investmentrecht. Wichtiger ist jedoch, dass im selben Gesetz erstmalig Vorschriften bzgl. M&A enthalten sind. Dementsprechend gilt ab dem 1. Januar 2015, dass ausländische Investoren bei dem Kauf von vietnamesischen Aktien nicht mehr ein langes Zertifizierungsprogramm durchlaufen müssen. Die Veränderung wird hoffentlich eine jahrelange Unsicherheit und Frustration bei den Investoren, die in den vietnamesischen Markt eintreten wollten um zu expandieren oder M&A zu tätigen, beenden. Die zweite Welle der M&A startete im Jahr 2014, als sechs Deals pro Tag gemeldet worden sind. 2014 wurden insgesamt 313 M&A Transaktionen in Vietnam getätigt, mit einem Volumen von 2,5 Mrd. US$, was einen Anstieg um 15% im Vergleich zum Vorjahr bedeutet. Bemerkenswerte Abschlüsse aus dem Jahr 2014 sind die folgenden Beispiele: der Erwerb von 19 Handelsmärkten und dem damit verbunden Eigentum von Metro durch Berli Jucker, wobei dieses Geschäft einen Wert von 879 Mio. US$ hatte, die Vingruppe kaufte 70% der Aktien von Ocean Retail Companys, Mondelez Internation kaufte 80% der Aktien von Kinh Do JSC’s Süßigkeiten Sparte für 370 Mio. US$, und Standard Chartered Private Equity hat eine signifikante Mehrheit an An Giang Plant Protection JSC Aktien für 90 Mio. US$ erworben. Die Geschäftswelt hofft, dass der Gesamtwert der M&A Transaktionen, im Rahmen der zweiten Welle (2014-2018) 20 Mrd. US$ betragen wird.
Inzwischen räumt das Unternehmensrecht von 2014 den Investoren eine gewisse Flexibilität ein, um ihre Unternehmen in Vietnam zu verwalten, indem mehrere gesetzliche Vertreter benannt werden können, sowie die Erlaubnis, dass jegliche Art von Geschäften durchgeführt werden dürfen, sofern sie nicht explizit verboten sind.

Potentialer Privatisierungsmarkt

Darüber hinaus will die Regierung im Jahr 2015 289 der staatlichen Unternehmen privatisieren und betont die inhaltliche Wichtigkeit und deren effiziente Umsetzung. Die Zahl der Handelsbanken soll auf 13-15 reduziert werden und kleinere Banken werden aufgrund des Wettbewerbsdrucks und der Kapitalanforderungen nach neuen ausländischen Investoren suchen müssen um expandieren zu können. Die Regierung ist sich dessen bewusst, dass bei der Privatisierung die Anzahl der zu verkaufenden Aktien größer werden muss um sicher zu stellen, dass es eine Win-Win Situation sowohl für die Regierung als auch die Investoren ist. In der Zeit von 2000-2013 sank die Zahl der staatlichen Unternehmen um fast die Hälfte von 5.800 auf 3.135. Berichten zufolge war die Privatisierungsphase erfolgreich, da die Gewinne um mehr als 80% gestiegen sind, wobei 40% eine Gewinnsteigerung von 10% nach der Privatisierung festgestellt haben. Diese Erfolge haben einen positiven Einfluss auf den Zufluss von Investoren in den erfolgreichen Bereichen.
Mehr Raum für ausländische Beteiligungen in börsennotierten Unternehmen
In dem Versuch Belastungen von ausländischen Investoren zu nehmen wurde am 26. Juni 2015 das Dekret Nr. 60/2015 / ND-CP erlassen, welches es erlaubt, dass börsennotierte Unternehmen bis zu 100% in ausländischer Hand sein können und schafft somit wesentlich mehr Flexibilität. Dekret Nr. 60 erlaubt es ausländischen Investoren auch unbegrenzte Investitionen in Staatsanleihen, in Anleihen die von der Regierung gewährleistet werden, sowie in Anleihen von Landesbehörden oder Unternehmen zu machen. Ausländische Investoren können jetzt gesichert in Investmentzertifikate, Aktien von Investmentgesellschaften, in nicht stimmberechtigten Aktien börsennotierter Unternehmen, sowie derivative Wertpapiere und Hinterlegungsscheinen ohne Limit investieren.

Regierung reduziert Monopol über Verteilung und Erzeugung von Strom, Benzin und Kohle

Vietnams Energiemarkt war lange Zeit vor allem dadurch bekannt, dass das staatliche Unternehmen EVN (Electricity of Vietnam), welches eine Monopolstellung hatte, die Stromübertragung und -verteilung bestimmte. Investoren finden es schwierig Strom-Kauf-Verträge abzuschließen bzw. diese überhaupt mit der EVN zu verhandeln. Problematisch ist vor allem, dass die EVN mit Verlusten arbeitet und riesige Schulden bei Petrovietnam und Vinacomin hat.
Die vorgeschlagene Liste mit Waren und Dienstleistungen, welche in staatlicher Hand sind, ist noch in der Entwicklungsphase aber es steht jetzt schon fest, dass dieses Dekret die Vormachtstellung von EVN einschränken wird. Der Staat wird seine Monopolstellung nur in Bezug auf Betriebe mit sogenannten „Multi-Zwecken“ wie Wasserkraft- und Kernkraftwerke, Übertragungswerke, sowie die Aufsicht der Betriebe des nationalen Elektrizitätssystems im Bereich der Großkraftwerke und solche mit besonderer Bedeutung in Bezug auf die sozioökonomische und die nationale Verteidigung und Sicherheit, behalten. Der Handel mit Erdöl und Öl wird nicht länger in staatlicher Hand sein.
Mit einem offenen und wettbewerbsorientierten Markt ist es einfacher ausländische Investoren zu finden und der Sektor wird attraktiv genug um in ihn zu investieren. Die Stromerzeuger sind nicht mehr länger gezwungen ihren Strom an EVN zu verkaufen, sie können ihn an andere Stromanbieter weiterverkaufen oder aber ihn selbst in das Netz einspeisen.
Ausländische Investoren werden auch nicht mehr mit dem Hindernis konfrontiert, dass sie den Strompreis mit der EVN verhandeln müssen. Laut einem aktuellen Bericht von Ban Viet Securities Joint Stock Company, hat sich der Stromeinzelhandelspreis in Vietnam in den letzten zehn Jahren verdoppelt, von 781 VND / kWh (3,5 US-Cent / kWh) im Jahr 2005 auf VND1,622 / kWh (7,3 US Cent / kWh) im Jahr 2015. Im Vergleich mit anderen Ländern, wie Kambodscha, Thailand und Singapur, ist das jedoch noch gering. Dies ist einer der wichtigen Gründe, weshalb Investoren ihr Kapital in diesen Sektor bündeln sollten.
Der Strompreis wird sich jedoch von 2016 an gemäß dem Leistungssteigerungsplan erhöhen, dieser hat das Ziel der Kapitalrückgewinnung und angemessene Gewinne für die Anleger zu gewährleisten. Dementsprechend wird der Stromeinzelhandelspreis bei ca. 8-9 US-Cent / kWh im Jahr 2020 sein, was zu einem Anstieg um 18,4% innerhalb der nächsten fünf Jahre führen wird. Der Strompreis sollt die Nachfrage und das Angebot auf dem Markt widerspiegeln. Nur dann finden ausländische Investoren weitere Anreize und treffen darauf basierend ihre Anlageentscheidungen.


Land Begrenzung des Markzuganges* Land Begrenzung des Markzuganges *
Malaysia mittel Myanmar hoch
Indonesien mittel Kambodscha mittel
Philippinen mittel Laos mittel
Singapur gering Indien hoch
Thailand mittel China mittel
Brunei hoch Vietnam gering
Vietnam teilt sich den ersten Platz mit Singapur, das bedeutet, dass es die bestmögliche Absicherung für Investitionen in Vietnam gibt

Vietnam ist ein Land der Veränderungen und bietet zurzeit steigende Chancen für ausländische Investoren. Die Stärke der vietnamesischen Wirtschaft spiegelt sich vor allem in den kontrollierten makroökonomischen Indikatoren, der starken Produktivitätssteigerungen und der umfassenden Integration in die regionale und globale Wirtschaft wider. Es ist nun genau der Zeitpunkt für ausländische Investoren, um Geschäftspläne in die Tat umzusetzen und die kommenden Chancen zu ergreifen.

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



Lawyer in Vietnam Oliver Massmann The most investor friendly country in ASEAN

Vietnam is the most investment worthy place in ASEAN – this is a common response of many foreign investors when being asked about their investment plan in the upcoming years. This is not an exaggeration about Vietnam’s current investment environment as well as its potentiality but is in fact based on valid and practical grounds, where improved economic diversification, international integration, reformed investment legislation and good economic policy must be counted.

Economic recovery and stable development

According to a recent statistics by the General Statistics Office, GDP growth of Vietnam over the first six months is quite high, at 6.28%. This is the highest growth for the past five years and could be far over the targeted growth for 2015. Not only the Vietnamese Government is optimistic about the economic development of the country this year, other international organizations also provide positive forecast about Vietnam’s GDP growth in 2015. For example, ANZ maintains its forecast about Vietnam’s GDP growth to be at 6.5% in 2015 and 2016 based on positive signals such as increased domestic demand, increasing attraction of foreign direct investment of the manufacturing industry and consumer confidence index reaching a new peak in June. Vietnam is also the only country among the nine East Asian countries that World Bank raises its GDP forecast in 2015 compared with its previous forecast at the end of 2014. “The world in 2050”, a study made by PwC, concludes that Vietnam will have the second highest annual GDP-growth rate worldwide. There will be an average growth by 5.3% each year, from 2014 till 2050. That means Vietnam will have the fastest growing economy within Asia till 2050. In addition, the inflation rate is controlled by the Government with Consumption Price Index to be in the range of 3-5% for the whole year, which is far below the maximum allowed inflation rate of 5% in 2015. These two important macroeconomic indices have proved the Government’s success to a certain extent in recovering and maintaining stable development of the economy.
Government’s sound economic policy and positive results

Together with macroeconomic stability and controlled inflation, the Government of Vietnam is fiercely improving the business and investment environment and making great attempts to achieve key economic indicators of top regional countries until 2016. Resolution No. 19/NQ-CP/2015 of the Government dated 12 March 2015 has set out the Government’s strong commitments and positive changes to improve the business environment and strengthen the economy’s ability to compete in 2015 and 2016 by pushing for reforms to reduce time-consuming and burdensome administrative procedures; enhancing governmental offices’ transparency and accountability; and adopting international standards. Up to 01 January 2015, the total time for tax compliance is reduced to 370 hours per year, which is an impressive decrease compared with 872 hours annually according to the 2013 statistics. Time for tax declaration and payment is also reduced to 121.5 hours per year, with possibility of online tax declaration and payment. In 2014, 95% of the enterprises have conducted online tax payment compared with 65% of previous years.

With the implementation of single window regime at international sea ports, it is expected that goods clearance time would be reduced from 21 days to 14 days for exports and 13 days for imports. Enterprises would benefit from the reduction of 10-20% in costs and 30% in customs clearance time if the national customs single window regime is fully implemented.

Not only in the tax and customs sectors, the Government also managed to reform administrative procedures in insurance sector. The total time for insurance payment is decreased by 100 hours, from 335 hours to 235 hours per year.

Vietnam’s regional and international integration

Investors consider that Vietnam’s current efforts to integrate into the world economy by negotiating many Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) also brings them better investment opportunities. In particular, Vietnam, together with other 12 countries, including its major trading partners like Japan and the United States is negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) with market size of 800 million people (accounting for 38% of global GDP). Vietnam would be the largest beneficiary of this trade pact as a result of its strong trade ties with the United States, and its highly competitive positions in industries such as manufacturing where China is gradually losing its competitive advantage. Statistics shows that by participating in the TPP, Vietnam’s GDP would add an additional increase of 13.6% to the baseline scenario.

Beside the TPP, the EU- Vietnam FTA will also unlock huge opportunities to Vietnam such as tariff reductions, trade facilitation, investment attraction, expansion of markets to 27 EU countries, sustainable development and economic restructuring. 99% of Vietnam’s exports to the EU will be entitled with 0% import duty, leading to an increase of 30-40% in exports and 20%-25% in imports.

Vietnam and nine ASEAN countries will establish an ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by end of this year. This is a potential and dynamic market with over 620 million consumers, 60% of which is under the age of 35. This community, once established, would be the 7th largest economy in the world – 4th largest by 2050 if growth trends continue. AEC will be an attractive single production hub and facilitate international trade. The aim is to remove barriers to investment and enhance free movement of skilled labours. Investors can have a production base in one country and sell their products across the rest. Many foreign investors have started the trend and relocated their production base from other countries, especially from China, to Vietnam as shown in examples below.

Other FTAs that Vietnam has just concluded are Vietnam – Korea FTA and Vietnam – Eurasian Economic Union. These FTAs open the doors for Vietnam to export its textiles, leather, wood furniture, and agricultural products, etc. These FTAs are driving foreign investors to increase the investment capital and expand their businesses in Vietnam. The FTAs are expected to create a second investment wave in Vietnam after the first wave when Vietnam acceded to the WTO in 2007.

Second investment wave in Vietnam

It is no longer in theory. Vietnam is actually benefitting the most from growing wages in China, with more and more manufacturers shifting their production to Vietnam. foreign investors of a number of high-tech investment projects in Vietnam have decided to increase the investment capital and expand their production activities to timely grab the opportunities that FTAs create when they come into effect.

Recently, Bel Vietnam, a famous producer of French cheese in Vietnam has started constructing a 17,000 m2 new factory in Binh Duong with the total investment capital of US$17 million. The factory is expected to come into operation by June 2016 and full operation will be in 2020 with its capacity to be 9 times as much as the old factory. According to the General Director of Bel Vietnam, the new factory will be used as a regional supply centre, focusing on South East Asian market to take advantage of the AEC. The new factory will also serve as an R&D centre for products of the group.

LG Group is another case. Its initial investment capital was US$ 300 million to build a factory in Hai Phong. However, it then decided to increase the capital to US$ 1.5 billion. The factory is the largest complex in the region in an area of 800,000 m2, which will manufacture and assemble high tech products such as TVs, mobile phones, vacuum cleaners, etc. for export and domestic consumption.

Samsung in its export-oriented investment strategy announced its increase in investment capital by US$ 3 billion on 10 November 2014. Samsung is currently operating US$ 1 billion, US$ 2 billion and US$ 2.5 billion plants in Thai Nguyen and Bac Ninh Province. The additional US$ 3 billion is used to expand the US$ 2 billion plant to produce handsets. This is another example of production shifting away from China as a result of South Korea’s low exports to this country.

Other investors in textile sector are also preparing their entry into Vietnam’s market to grasp the advantages of the upcoming TPP. Since members of the TPP do not include China, India and Thailand, who are the direct competitors of Vietnam in the textile industry, Vietnam will have price related competitive advantage over these countries due to tax preferential treatment that TPP countries grant to Vietnam. This is critical considering the fact that China and the EU are still studying about the possibility to negotiate an FTA with each other. Up to now, Itochu Group from Japan has purchased 3% of Vinatex’s shares at US$ 9.25 million and invested in certain textile projects in Vietnam. A Taiwanese textile group has also increased its capital investment by US$ 320 million to conduct a complete production process in Vietnam. It is expected that with the TPP, Vietnam’s textile export turnover will reach US$ 30 billion in 2020 and US$ 55 billion in 2030. Not only in the textile industry, there has recently been a range of relocation of production facilities for low value goods such as footwear from China to Vietnam as investors search for lower production costs. According to 2014 statistics, more than 70% of foreign direct investment projects in Vietnam was in the manufacturing and assembly processing sectors. This number has already included low value-added textile and material manufacturing from China.

New investment legislation

At the same time, the Government is really aware of the importance of institutional reforms in improving the business climate. It is becoming more important when the new trade pacts are coming into effect very soon and institutional reforms are among conditions of these agreements. New laws considered the most liberal and investor-friendly in the region, such as the new Enterprise Law, Investment Law and a decree on Public Private Partnership, have been adopted. Barriers to business and investment are removed to pave the way for an open, transparent and full-of-opportunity environment for foreign investors. The 2014 Investment Law makes a great attempt to reduce the number of prohibited business activities and conditional business activities. More importantly, the 2014 Investment Law for the first time includes provisions regulating M&A activities. Accordingly, starting from 01 July 2015, foreign investors will not need to undergo lengthy investment certificate procedures when buying stakes in Vietnamese target companies. The change will hopefully end years of uncertainty and frustration faced by foreign investors eyeing Vietnam market entry or expansion via M&A. The second wave of M&A seems to already start in 2014 when six deals are reportedly made every week. The total M&A deals in 2014 was 313 with value of US$2.5 billion, a 15% increase compared with the previous year. Notable deals in 2014 include the acquisition of 19 Cash & Carry and their related real property of Metro by Berli Jucker with deal value of US$ 879 million; Vingroup bought 70% of Ocean Retail Company’s capital; Mondelez International bought 80% of Kinh Do JSC’s capital in sweets manufacturing section at US$370 million; and Standard Chartered Private Equity acquired a significant minority stake in An Giang Plant Protection JSC at US$90 million. The business community highly hopes that total value of M&A deals could reach US$20 billion in the second wave (2014-2018).

Meanwhile, the 2014 Enterprise Law grants certain flexibilities for investors to manage their entities in Vietnam by allowing multiple legal representatives and carry out all types of business activities provided that they are not prohibited by law.

Potential privatization market

In addition, the Government aims at privatizing 289 state-owned enterprises in 2015 and highly emphasized on substantive and efficient privatization. The number of commercial banks is forced to be reduced to 13-15 in 2017 and smaller banks under the pressure of competition and capital requirements will look for new foreign investors to achieve expansion. The Government is also aware that privatization process must increase the number of shares sold and ensure a win-win solution for both investors and the government. During the 2000- 2013 period, the number of state-owned enterprises fell by almost 50% from 5,800 to 3,135. Privatization was reported to be successful with over 80% growths in earnings, while 40% had growth of over 10% following privatization. These successes drive foreign investors in their investment in these very potential areas.

Relaxed foreign ownership in public listed companies

In an attempt to ease burdens on investors, on 26 June 2015, the Government issued Decree No. 60/2015/ND-CP to provide more flexibilities in foreign ownership ratio in public listed companies, up to 100% in certain cases. Decree 60 also allows foreign investors to make unlimited investment in Government bonds, bonds guaranteed by the Government, bonds of the provincial authority or enterprises. Foreign investors may also invest in securities investment fund certificates, shares of securities investment companies, non-voting shares of public listed companies, derivative securities, and depository receipts without any limit.

Government’s reduced monopoly over distribution and production of power, petrol and coal

In Vietnam’s energy market, EVN has long been known as the state monopoly in transmission and distribution of electricity. Vietnam still features the Single Buyer Model with EVN’s purchase of all electricity generated from on-grid independent power projects. Investors find it extremely hard to negotiate the Power Purchase Agreement with EVN. Meanwhile, EVN keeps operating at loss with huge debts to PetroVietnam and Vinacomin.

Although the decree is still in draft, the proposed adoption of the list of goods and services subject to state monopoly will then limit the power of EVN. The State only maintains its monopoly over the operation of multi-purposes hydropower and nuclear power plants, transmission, moderation as well as operation of the national electricity system of big power plants and those having special importance in terms of socio-economic and national defense and security. Trading in petroleum and oil is also no longer subject to state monopoly.
With an open and competitive market, foreign investors will find it more attractive to invest in this sector. They are now no longer required to sell the electricity they generate to EVN but can sell it to other distribution companies or even transmit/ distribute through their own system.

Foreign investors will also no longer face obstacles in negotiating the power price with the EVN. According to a recent report by Ban Viet Securities Joint Stock Company, although power retail price in Vietnam has doubled during the past ten years, from VND 781/kWh (3.5 US cents/ kWh) in 2005 to VND1,622/ kWh (7.3 US cents/ kWh) in 2015, this is still low compared with other countries like Cambodia, Thailand, and Singapore in the APEC. This is among major reasons that discourage investors from pooling their capital into the sector.

However, power price is planned to increase from 2016 according to power increase schedule, which aims to ensure capital recovery and reasonable profits for investors. Accordingly, power retail price may increase at 8-9 US cents/ kWh in 2020, equivalent to an increase by 18.4% within the next five years. Power price should also reflect the demand and supply in the market. Foreign investors then find more incentives when making their investment decision.


Country Limitation of market access* Country Limitation of market access*
Malaysia medium Myanmar high
Indonesia medium Cambodia medium
Philippines medium Laos medium
Singapore low India high
Thailand medium China medium
Brunei high Vietnam low

Vietnam ties in first place with Singapore, thus it provides highest possible protection for investment

Vietnam is a country of changes and currently offering 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 regional and global economy. It is now exactly time for foreign investors to start their business plans and grasp the upcoming clear opportunities.


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



More room for foreign investors in Vietnam’s securities market

On 26 June 2015, the Government issued Decree No. 60/2015/ND-CP to amend and supplement certain provisions of Decree No. 58/2012/ND-CP on detailing and guiding the implementation of certain provisions of the Law on Securities and the Law on amending and supplementing certain provisions of the Law on Securities (“Decree 60”).
More flexible foreign ownership ratio in public listed companies
Previously, foreign ownership ratio in public listed companies is the same for all sectors and subsectors. Decree 60 now provides different foreign ownership ratio for each sector and subsector, in particular:
– Requirements on foreign ownership limits in international treaties to which Vietnam is a party will prevail;
– In case public listed companies do business in sectors, subsectors where foreign ownership limits are stipulated by the investment law and its related requirements, such limits will apply;
– In case public listed companies do business in conditional sectors or subsectors applicable for foreign investors but there is not yet a specific requirement on foreign ownership limit, such limit would be 49%;
– In case public listed companies do business in different sectors or subsectors with different requirements on foreign ownership limits, the applicable foreign ownership limit will not exceed the lowest foreign ownership limit required for sectors or subsectors that the company does business in, except otherwise stipulated by the international treaties;
– There would be no limit on foreign ownership ratio for other public listed companies, except otherwise stipulated by the company’s charter.
Decree 60 is thus expected to have a positive impact on the development of the securities market by attracting more foreign investment in the market and expedite the current equitization process.
Unlimited foreign investment in Government bond
Decree 60 allows foreign investors to make unlimited investment in Government bonds, bonds guaranteed by the Government, bonds of the provincial authority or enterprises.
Foreign investors may also invest in securities investment fund certificates, shares of securities investment companies, non-voting shares of public listed companies, derivative securities, and depository receipts without limit.
New delisting requirements
If the listing company does not meet the listing requirements after its offer for sale, issues 50% or over of its existing shares in exchange for shares or contribution part in another company, the securities delisting is compulsory.
The company may also voluntarily delist their securities with the condition that there is approval of at least 51% of the voting shares of all shareholders (not including major shareholders) instead of 50% in the previous requirement. The delisting can only be conducted after at least two years from the listing date on the stock exchange.


Please do not hesitate to contact Mr. Oliver Massmann under 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.



Breaking News – Vietnam – Broadcasting Market – First time Investment of foreign investors possible!

Breaking News – Vietnam – Broadcasting Market – First time Investment of foreign investors possible!

For your information, on 7 January 2015, the Prime Minister of Vietnam issued Decision 01 amending the “master plan on radio and television transmission and broadcasting through 2020” (the “Master Plan”). Decision 01 officially came into effect as of 15 March 2015.

The biggest change that Decision 01 makes is involvement of enterprises of all economic sectors, arguably including foreign invested enterprises, in the transmission and broadcasting market of Vietnam. Before Decision 01, only State owned enterprises or enterprises where State has majority ownership were given access to such markets.

As a matter of fact, VTV and its affiliates/subsidiaries hold a dominant role in the TV market. The “group” is responsible for both content provision and transmission/broadcasting. When a number of software/telecommunication giants such as (Viettel, the biggest telecomunication or FPT, the largest telecommunications and software companies respectively) start their TV business by taking advantages of their available infrastructure, VTV has sought to isolate them by offering content to its affiliates and subsidiaries first. This results in a modest expansion of newcomers like FPT and Viettel for the last two years.

The cause behind such change is, on one hand, the Government’s plan to separate the pay TV transmission/broadcasting and content provision which fall inside the sphere of the Law on Telecommunications and the Law on Media of Vietnam respectively. On the other hand, the Government wishes to form major transmission/broadcasting companies of large scale which are able to cover services nationwide.

We hope the above is useful for your consideration and will keep you updated of latest developments in this sector from time to time.

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



Lawyer in Vietnam Oliver Massmann Online Gaming and Gambling in Vietnam

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



© 2009- Duane Morris LLP. Duane Morris is a registered service mark of Duane Morris LLP.

The opinions expressed on this blog are those of the author and are not to be construed as legal advice.

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