Tag Archives: oliver massmann

VIETNAM – SOLAR ROOFTOP – WHAT YOU MUST KNOW:

Rooftop PV power projects having a capacity of under 1 MW are not subject to procedure to amend the Power Master Plan. The investor only needs to register the connecting terminal with a provincial power company and provide general information about expected capacity, specifications of solar panels and the power inverter.
Rooftop PV power projects having a capacity of 1 MW or over must be included in the master or provincial Power Master Plan. In addition, they must obtain the license for generating electricity.
There is a standard PPA for rooftop PV projects between the seller and EVN in Circular 16/2017/TT-BCT by the MOIT. Although the Investment Law does not prohibit investment in the form of a direct PPA, a direct off-grid PPA between the investor and the buyer other than EVN is still pending for further guidance now being worked on by the Electricity Regulatory Authority of Vietnam (“ERAV”). Our contacts in the ERAV informed us that these new rules might come out in the 3rd quarter of 2018.
Rooftop PV power projects shall apply the net-metering mechanism using the two-way electric meter system. In a billing cycle, if the amount of electricity generated from rooftop PV power projects is greater than the amount consumed, the excess amount shall be transferred to the next billing cycle. At the end of the year or the termination of the PPA, any residual electricity generated by rooftop solar projects shall be sold to EVN at the place of electricity delivery (VAT exclusive) to be VND 2,086/kWh (equivalent to U.S. cent 9.35/kWh, the “FiT”).
The electricity price of the following year shall be adjusted according to the central exchange rate of VND over USD quoted by the State Bank of Vietnam on the last working day of the previous year.
The mentioned FiT only applies to part of the rooftop PV power plant having the commercial operation date before June 30, 2019 and shall apply for 20 years from the commercial operation date.
In order to meet this tight deadline we recommend to start working on establishing the Project Company now because the whole procedure might take some months.
Industrial parks and zones are good places to build solar panels because they have large rooftops and strong electrical connections already available. The Provincial Competitive Index including the Industrial Zones of Vietnam provides an excellent starting point for working on developing your rooftop projects. Please let us know if we shall send you the Provincial Competitive Index of Vietnam and the Standard PPA for solar rooftop.
If you have any question on the above, please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Oliver Massmann under omassmann@duanemorris.com . Dr. Oliver Massmann is the General Director of Duane Morris Vietnam LLC.

Thank you very much!

VIETNAM – AUTOMOTIVE SECTOR – CURRENT ISSUES AND SOLUTIONS FOR INVESTMENT AND OUTLOOK ON MAJOR TRADE DEALS TPP11 AND EUVNFTA

A. ISSUES AUTOMOBILE SECTOR

1. Small production and competition
2016, the Automobile market in Vietnam reached over 300,000 units (consisting of: 230,000 CKD and 70,000 CBU vehicles). However, the overall production only covers around 50% of the total capacity. Furthermore, investors do not decide to invest in long –term project due to big fluctuations in the past and the lack of a stable market. It is very risky for suppliers to invest in high investment producing parts due to disadvantages of small production. These high prices on parts manufactured locally is affecting the competition between local parts and imported parts. As a result, many suppliers cannot afford and sustain the production in the Vietnamese market.
Moreover, with the lack of local manufactured parts available in Vietnam, CKD vehicle assemblers need to import the most parts and materials which is causing higher costs due to logistics, packaging and import duty. Thus, these conditions are opening a gap between Vietnam CKD vehicles and CBU vehicles from about 10-20%.

2. Critical delivery capability of suppliers
A fully assembled car is consisting of hundreds of parts. As a result, car assemblers need a well-structured supply chain meeting their supply requirements. In Vietnam, many Vietnamese suppliers cannot provide materials in the required QCD standards for being able to take part in the international supply chain. Furthermore, the technology transfer, the right on use of patents, licensing agreements and copywriting permits are still required and not developed enough to ensure supply in global standard. Moreover, the safety standards for 4-wheel parts production is not developed as required yet.
In addition, the government is not developing well-supporting policies or measures to ease the production and trade for suppliers. In the last years, the government issued supporting decrees but they contain complicated procedures. There is no list provided containing information about all relevant suppliers available in Vietnam. As result, it is very difficult for companies to find all needed suppliers to ensure efficient production.
Further policies for stabilizing the market are to be made. Countermeasures and infrastructure development is a very important aspect to improve current issues. Moreover, the production cost cap and the gap between CBU and CKD vehicles need to be narrowed by setting new regulations or enforcing policies. Lastly, the government needs to give incentives to attract investments to support the development of the automobile sector.
Suppliers should try to go in cooperation with foreign suppliers for transferring technology to Vietnam and take part in databases for suppliers. National suppliers have to listen to international companies to develop the understanding of vehicle assemblers and their requirements. If assemblers find supplier companies understanding their needs and they are able to operate in the way of those needs, new investments will be attracted in the future.

3. Issues with Decree 116/2017/n33-CP on requirements for automobile supplier, importer, manufacturer and automobile aftersales guarantee and maintenance
a. Article 6, clause 2 point a rules that CBU importers must submit vehicle type approval certificate (VTA) and COP factory certificate. These have to be issued from the overseas authority. This is a major issue due to every agency is following national regulations and is adjusting their work to domestic requirements. It is unbearable to demand that suppliers must adjust work on regulations to each export country. In addition, there is no VTA authority in some countries (for example: Korea), so that, the VTA certificate cannot be issued to CBU importers in these countries. As result, the requirement of certificates’ issuance is a major reason for slow development of the automobile sector. Thus, Vietnam is limiting market access to some foreign investors in a very critical way. Furthermore, tests on safety and emission will be conducted of every single CBU shipment. This provision will highly increase the production time. However, the requirement of testing each shipment should be amended due to lack of necessity. Moreover, the government should start accepting the UNECE certificate. It is an internationally accepted certificate while it is meeting the Vietnamese requirements as well. In addition, the government needs to act as fast as possible to create transparent and stable environment for investors and their businesses in the automobile sector due to recent production cancellations of some enterprises on import of CBU vehicles.
b. Article 7, clause 1, point a provides the requirement of test roads with 800m length for CKD makers by 17 April 2019. The requirement of owning a test road is a huge financial burden, even renting test roads is very expensive and most producers are not owning test roads or do not have so much land available for that use.

B. ISSUES MOTORCYCLE SECTOR

1. Intellectual property
Intellectual property infringement is not only a small deal in Vietnam. Many Illegal imitations of motorbikes and parts, for example, Honda or Piaggio are manufactured in Vietnam. This is causing bad impacts on business and consumers due to lack of quality of imitated vehicles or parts of it. Furthermore, decreasing prestige and competitiveness are notable consequences of intellectual property infringement. There have to be further regulations on protection of intellectual rights and guidelines on enforcing these rights should be provided soon.

2. Increase of VAT
The increase of VAT from 10 to 12% on purchase of motorcycles is planned. Still, the motorbike is the main transportation vehicle used by Vietnamese in cities and rural areas. The increase of VAT will lead to worse socio-economy growth, thus, the government again should overthink the necessity of this planned measure.
C. OUTLOOK ON MAJOR TRADE AGREEMENTS TPP 11 AND EUVNFTA
In January 2017, US President Donald Trump decided to withdraw from the US’ participation in the TPP. In November 2017, the remaining TPP members met at the APEC meetings and concluded about pushing forward the now called CPTPP (TPP 11) without the USA. The agreement shall be signed by all member states by the first quarter of 2018. After that, it has to be ratified in each member state before taking effect.

The effects of the TPP 11 promising great benefits for the automotive sector in Vietnam. The TPP 11 is targeting to eliminate tariff lines and custom duties among member states on certain goods and commodities to 100%. Due to mostly high tariffs on vehicles, the TPP will impose great impact on production, business and trade flows. For ensuring the better market access under the TPP, suppliers must satisfy the regional value content requirements (RVC), thus, Vietnam will have to adjust regulations to ensure the satisfaction of the requirements of the TPP. As a result, Vietnam will be more competitive, but also be able to offer international standards to foreign investors.

One another notable major trade agreement is the EUVNFTA between the European Union and Vietnam. The EUVNFTA offers great opportunity to access new markets for both the EU and Vietnam. It will help to bring more capital into Vietnam. In addition, the EUVNFTA will boost the most economic sectors in Vietnam. In particular, the agreement will impose new foreign direct investment in Vietnam but there still remain problems regarding lack of infrastructure and low technology. On the other hand, it will also give the chance for better transfer of technology from Europe to Vietnam. Furthermore, the low labor costs in Vietnam are a big advantage for European investors to do business in the automotive sector in Vietnam.

Furthermore, the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) will ensure highest standards of legal certainty and enforceability and protection for investors. We alert investors to make use of these standards! We can advise how to best do that! It is going to be applied under the TPP 11 and the EUVNFTA. Under that provision, for investment related disputes, the investors have the right to bring claims to the host country by means of international arbitration. The arbitration proceedings shall be made public as a matter of transparency in conflict cases. In relation to the TPP, the scope of the ISDS was reduced by removing references to “investment agreements” and “investment authorization” as result of the discussion about the TPP’s future on the APEC meetings on 10th and 11th November 2017.
Further securities come with the Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) which is going to be part of the TPP 11 and the EUVNFTA.
The GPA in both agreements, mainly deals with the requirement to treat bidders or domestic bidders with investment capital and Vietnamese bidders equally when a government buys goods or requests for a service worth over the specified threshold. Vietnam undertakes to timely publish information on tender, allow sufficient time for bidders to prepare for and submit bids, maintain confidentiality of tenders. The GPA in both agreements 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.
This instrument will ensure a fair competition and projects of quality and efficient developing processes.

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

Thank you very much!

Vietnam – Agriculture Sector – Current Issues and Solutions for Investment and Outlook on Major Trade Deals TPP 11 and EUVNFTA

A. OVERVIEW AGRICULTURE SECTOR VIETNAM

Since 2016, the exports of many products in the agriculture sector in Vietnam has strongly increased. On the other hand, the agriculture sector is still vulnerable as shown in the past due to its limited development.
The development of the agriculture sector in Vietnam needs to come on track to solve the important issue on shifting from price to quality to ensure sustainable growth as backbone sector of Vietnam’s economy.
However, to ensure high quality products, Vietnam needs to make changes.
Firstly, the use of prohibited chemicals during breeding, preservation, digestion needs to be enforced and controlled by state authorities. The stricter control of raw materials before digestion and the manufacturing standards are further issues that need to be addressed to make the agriculture competitive with international players. Furthermore, the transformation of the domestic Vietnamese agriculture into a self-sufficient sector is another important step that needs to be realized.
In addition, to ensure sustainability, growth and for protection against crisis, farmers need to earn stable income, the farmers’ carbon footprints need to get reduced and the production must be adjusted to the requirements of the consumers and demand in the market.
However, for solving these problems, long term solutions need to be enrolled, those can be (i) increased food safety, (ii) diversification of products, (iii) improvement of regulatory environment, (iv) observing costs and improved finance, (v) the dependence on China in fruits, vegetables and pork meat must be addressed due to caused problems in the past.
On the other hand, Vietnam’s export of dragon fruit to Australia and export of poultry to Japan shows capability of Vietnamese exports meeting high safety requirements.
If the current issues can be addressed in the future, Vietnam’s exports in agriculture sector will show sustainable growth in the future.

B. ISSUES

1. Traceability and safeguarding of products
Vietnamese and international consumers are concerned about quality and safety of the food they are purchasing.
Currently, there are no well-developed traceability systems of the government for agricultural products in force. This is leading to significant consequences for the competitiveness in production. Further, the potential of product improvement is reduced, exports and market access is limited.
In Addition, the safety for consumers is deceased leading to low satisfaction of consumers.
As result of the existing issues, there are almost no financial incentives for improvement of processes.
However, now, it is possible for the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) to monitor animal movements with the help of the Department of Animal Health for protection against diseases of animals.
Furthermore, the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Department of Livestock Production improved systems for better protection and regulation of unofficial imports of products from other countries. This monitoring system shall also improve competitiveness and market accessibility in foreign countries.
On the other hand, these issues can only be fully addressed if obtained in regulations. TE Food System is operating a traceability system helping the authorities in HCMC and surrounding provinces on monitoring movements of pigs. This system is embedded in Decision 6079/QD. This year, the system was extended to eggs (Decision 3583/QD), chicken and poultry (Decision 3584/QD). Further extension to fruits, vegetables and beef are planned.
Nevertheless, these systems not only grant possibility on making regulations, it also can lead to reduced corruption due to better possibility to control.
For addressing the issue best, the systems should be improved on including the whole agriculture sector for ensuring sustainable growth, a fair and well-developed competition between national famers and international farmers as well as good market access.

2. Management of Plant Protection Products and its approach to regulation based on science
On 6th August 2015 the Circular No. 21/2015 was released. It is addressing Management of Plant Protection Products.
However, it contains provisions that could turn out as dangerous to the economy, environment and to the farmers as displayed in the following:
The circular contains provision about no registration and the banning of pesticides falling under GHS Category 3 and 4 in area of vegetable, tea and fruit. Further, the banning and no registration of crop protection products for use with vegetables, tea and fruit with having PHI bigger than seven days of use.
There is no scientific approach behind these provisions. As result, they could ban the availability on technologies for farmers in Vietnam operating in vegetable, tea and fruit.
Furthermore, these provisions lead to a significant competitive disadvantage to the agriculture sector. In addition, they contain specific risks to the environment, consumers and domestic economy due to the potential prohibition of the most-developed technologies bringing biggest amount of safety against diseases and climate issues to the consumer and possibility of productivity to farmers.
These provisions should not be adopted due to lack of science-based approach. Vietnam should handle this issue as other countries in southeast-Asia did.

3. Import and Export of Plants and Seeds
The import of plants and seeds can be done online in Vietnam. The purchased seeds have to be registered before the import can be successful. In cases where the online application file does not fit with the registration requirements, the import is delayed until registration is successful.
Enterprises need to be provided with sufficient information or guidelines to accelerate the import processes and for excluding delays in imports. On the other hand, export cannot be done online, thus, exports of plants and seeds need an insufficient amount of time.
The online export should be made possible for more efficiency in Vietnam.

4. Legal environment on banned substances and reduction of Antimicrobial Resistance
The last issue addresses the enforcement of regulations on bans and limitations regarding substances and the reduction of Antimicrobial Resistance. The use of antibiotics in animal nutrition can have various good effects such as prevention of diseases or treatment against them. On the other hand, it has bad impact on the consumer by means of the human body is building resistance against antibiotics leading to significant health risks for consumers.
As result, Vietnamese lawmakers have made big efforts to enforce existing regulations regarding to violations on the use of banned antibiotics and other substances.
Several circulars have been provided containing a list of prohibited chemicals and antibiotics on import, use in livestock and trading. However, the Circular No. 28/2014/TT-BNNPTNT is only addressing a few types of banned antibiotics and substances. After releasing the circular, many farmers concluded about reducing the use of antibiotics in animal nutrition and tried to replace them with alternative substances. Therefore, the government should endeavor research activities on alternative treatments and substances.
Another important measurement for enforcing the regulations were urine test kits for scanning on prohibited substances and uncovering violations against the regulations. Violations can lead to hard penalties up to the obligation on killing all animals on the farm. As result, it was possible to reduce the overuse of prohibited substances.
Moreover, the mass usage of antibiotics is leading to Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR). According to the WTO, AMR is a huge global problem and estimated to be main cause of death by 2050 in Vietnam. Further, the economic costs will be USD 100 trillion!
However, in 2015, the four competent Vietnamese Ministries, Development Partners and a National Steering Committee signed an Aide Memoire as action plan against misuse and control of antibiotics in the livestock production and aquaculture. Vietnam should adopt measurements and strategies from other countries to address these issues in a successful way and to ensure strict enforcement of existing regulations. Further, biosecurity, monitoring, genetics, nutrition and control are other aspects that have to be addressed to grant safe products to the consumer without major health risks and to reduce AMR.

C. OUTLOOK ON MAJOR TRADE AGREEMENTS TPP 11 AND EUVNFTA

In January 2017, US President Donald Trump decided to withdraw from the US’ participation in the TPP. In November 2017, the remaining TPP members met at the APEC meetings and concluded about pushing forward the now called CPTPP (TPP 11) without the USA. The agreement shall be signed by all member states by the first quarter of 2018. After that, it has to be ratified in each member state before taking effect.
The effects of the TPP 11 promising great benefits for the agriculture sector in Vietnam and will support Vietnam’s national agriculture transforming into a self-sufficient and competitive sector. The TPP 11 is targeting to eliminate tariff lines and custom duties among member states on certain goods and commodities to 100%. As a result, international products will arrive at the Vietnamese market, so that, the Vietnamese livestock should use the given time for restructuring but also for becoming competitive and creating efficient environment for international investments.
With the National and Most-Favored Nation Treatment principle, the TPP is ensuring a fair competition which will attract new foreign investments as well as support for the agriculture sector in its restructuring process.
Moreover, national farmers must adopt high-developed technologies in nutrients and animal healthcare to be competitive. This will lead to more safety and trust of the consumer in the agriculture market in Vietnam.

One another notable major trade agreement is the EUVNFTA between the European Union and Vietnam. The EUVNFTA offers great opportunity to access new markets for both, the EU and Vietnam. It will help to bring more capital into Vietnam. In addition, the EUVNFTA will boost the most economic sectors in Vietnam. Moreover, the agreement will eliminate 99% of tariffs on agricultural products leading to huge dynamic in the sector and Vietnam will get the chance on adopting technology from the European Union.
Furthermore, the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) will ensure highest standards of legal certainty and enforceability and protection for investors. We alert investors to make use of these standards! We can advise how to best do that! It is going to be applied under the TPP 11 and the EUVNFTA. Under that provision, for investment related disputes, the investors have the right to bring claims to the host country by means of international arbitration. The arbitration proceedings shall be made public as a matter of transparency in conflict cases. In relation to the TPP, the scope of the ISDS was reduced by removing references to “investment agreements” and “investment authorization” as result of the discussion about the TPP’s future on the APEC meetings on 10th and 11th November 2017.
Further securities come with the Government Procurement Agreement (GPA), which is going to be part of the TPP 11 and the EUVNFTA.
The GPA in both agreements mainly deals with the requirement to treat bidders or domestic bidders with investment capital and Vietnamese bidders equally when a government buys goods or requests for a service worth over the specified threshold. Vietnam undertakes to timely publish information on tender, allow sufficient time for bidders to prepare for and submit bids, maintain confidentiality of tenders. The GPA in both agreements 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.
This instrument will ensure a fair competition and projects of quality and efficient developing processes.
***
If you have any question on the above, please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Oliver Massmann under omassmann@duanemorris.com . Dr. Oliver Massmann is the General Director of Duane Morris Vietnam LLC.

Thank you very much!

Vietnam – Real Estate Sector – Current Issues and Solutions for Investment and Outlook on Major Trade Deals TPP 11 and EUVNFTA

A. INTRODUCTION
The legal framework for the real estate sector in Vietnam is set with the Law on Real Estate Business 2014 (LREB), the Law on Residential Housing 2014 (LRH) (both effective since 1st July 2015). The LREB is guided by Decree No. 76/2015/ND-CP, the LRH respectively is guided by Decree No. 99/2015/ND-CP. In addition, long-awaited Decree No. 01/2017/ND-CP was released on 6 January 2017 and is amending three decrees guiding the law on land 2013 (Land Law).
The provisions of the mentioned regulations have brought more investment in the real estate market to Vietnam. They have reduced barriers for investment and widened accessibility to properties in Vietnam.

B. ISSUES
However, not every issue is solved yet.
1. Delay in issuance of land use right certificate (LURC) for foreign investors
The issuance of the land use right certificate to foreigners is one essential requirement for developing projects on purchased land. Article 75 of Decree 95/2015 provides the obligation for the Department of Construction on issuing the “Foreign Ownership Prohibited Projects List”. However, the list is not released yet. As result of that, the Department of Natural Resources and Environment is refraining from issuing LURCs to foreigners.
As conclusion, the Foreign Ownership Prohibited Projects List should be issued as soon as possible so that foreigners purchasing land in Vietnam can obtain the LURC and are able to develop their projects.
2. What are ‘’foreign invested enterprises”?
The LREB, the Land Law and the Law on investment 2014 (LOI) rule about “foreign invested enterprise”. There remain uncertainties about this term.
The LREB is not providing any definition for foreign invested enterprises. Furthermore, the Land Law is providing that joint ventures enterprises, 100% foreign invested enterprises and Vietnamese enterprises of which foreigners are buying shares, merche with and acquire are included as foreign invested enterprises without any given guidance about percentage of ownership. Under the LOI an economic organization with foreign investors being member or shareholder shall be a foreign invested enterprise if part of ownership of the foreigner in the economic organization is 51% or more. On the other hand, organizations with foreign members or shareholders holding less than 51% are not classified as domestic enterprises under the LOI.
However, this issue is crucial due to different treatment of foreign invested and domestic enterprises. For example, domestic enterprises are able to transfer land use rights in form of division whereas this is prohibited to foreign invested enterprises.
Further, the Document No. 386/BXD-QLN (28 February 2017) issued by the Ministry of Construction states that the LREB does not need to provide provisions relating to foreign invested enterprise as the LOI has already did. However, Document 386 does not state that LREB can adopt the same definition of foreign invested enterprise the term remains ambiguous under the LREB.
3. Restrictions on sources of capital
Due to limiting the sources of capital for residential housing by the LRH, foreign developers cannot obtain loans from offshore credit institutions and non-credit institutions anymore. This measure is reducing the ability and opportunity to raise capital effectively and the competitiveness for foreign developers. Even though, there is no necessity for limiting opportunities to raise capital from legitimate sources.
4. Change of land user rights in case of acquisition of shares/ capital contribution
Article 2.27 of Decree 01/2017 provides the obligation for enterprises on assigning for land use rights or registering changes in the land and assets attached to the land when there is any change in the land user in case of acquisition shares or contribution of capital with land use rights included. In case of acquiring land, the land still remains with the same enterprise. Furthermore, the assigning process can impose financial obligations. This issue can lead to difficulties for investors when they acquire shares or contribute capital in enterprises.
5. Investment Approvals
The main approval for residential developments is either an investment in-principle decision (IID) or investment in-principle approval (IAA). In addition, an investor wishing to establish a company in Vietnam needs an investment registration certificate (IRC).
a. Circumstances requiring an IID:
Article 32 of the LOI is ruling the requirement of the IID that is only applying to projects where developers receive land use rights from State directly by way of allocation or lease of land without auction, tendering or transfer. Furthermore, the Land Law states the only way developers can receive land from State is either by way of allocation or lease of land. As a result, it is uncertain in which way developer can receive land by transfer.
b. Investment approval for capital contribution by way of land use rights:
Under a joint venture between a domestic and foreign investor to develop residential housing projects, the domestic investor will contribute capital by way of land use rights. In such case the IID is required only in cases of allocation or lease of land by the State without auction tendering or transfer. It is uncertain if the IIA will be required in cases of tendering or transfer.
Under the Law of Construction 2014 the developer has to obtain the construction permit before he can commence the project. It is not clear if the IIA is required to obtain the construction permit. This requirement could lead to lack of ability on proceeding the project in cases where obtaining the IIA failed.
On the other hand, if the IID is required, the developer will have more assurance because of the possibility to obtain the IID before the land use right is contributed.
c. Overlapping investment approvals
As mentioned above, the LOI provides the requirement of the IRC apart from the IID and IAA. For projects which require the IID, the IRC will be issued automatically after 5 working days from the Issuance of the IID. The content of the IID is similar to the IRC and no additional documents are necessary for issuance of the IRC. As a result, the IRC is not necessary when the IID is issued.
For projects requiring the IIA, the developer shall obtain the IRC first, then set up the company before obtaining the IIA. As mentioned above, the developer is unable to develop the project without IIA in cases of failing to obtain the IIA. Furthermore, the IIA and IRC are dealing with authorities and their approvals and the IIA is issued based on the 1/500 planning approval so that the necessity of the IRC is not given.
6. Capital contribution in the form of land use right
The Land Law and the Law on Enterprises 2014 provide possibility of contribution land use rights by individuals of a peace of land as capital to an enterprise for a certain time period.
Under Article 80 of Decree No. 43/2014/ND-CP (15 May 2014) on guiding the Land Law, capital contribution in form of land use rights shall terminate if the individual capital contributor passes away. As a result, if the capital contributor is passing away the capital contribution agreement will be terminated which will cause affection of the enterprise’s LURC and its land use rights. On the other hand, the Law on Enterprise 2014 stipulates that if an individual contributes land as capital the enterprise will have the right over the land.
Therefore, Article 80 of Decree No. 43/2014/ND-CP has caused confusion and uncertainty for developers in case to consider receiving land use rights from individuals.
7. Conducting real estate business on land contributed as capital
Under the Land Law, domestic and foreign invested enterprises are entitled to receive capital contribution by way of land use rights. However, there is no provision in the LREB regarding contributions as capital for organizations and individuals. As a result, organizations are not entitled to receive capital contribution by way of land use rights for developing real estate projects. This is causing inequalities and an unfair competition in the real estate sector.

C. OUTLOOK ON MAJOR TRADE AGREEMENTS TPP 11 AND EUVNFTA
In January 2017, US President Donald Trump decided to withdraw from the US’ participation in the TPP. In November 2017, the remaining TPP members met at the APEC meetings and concluded about pushing forward the now called CPTPP (TPP 11) without the USA. The agreement shall be signed by all member states by the first quarter of 2018. After that, it has to be ratified in each member state before taking effect.
The effects of the TPP 11 promising great benefits for the real estate sector in Vietnam. The TPP 11 is targeting to eliminate tariff lines and custom duties among member states on certain goods and commodities to 100%. This will make the Vietnamese market more attractive and could cause motivation for foreign enterprises to settle to Vietnam for building warehouses, offices, setting up plants or even for investing in the real estate sector because the market is becoming more dynamic with the TPP.
One another notable major trade agreement is the EUVNFTA between the European Union and Vietnam. The EUVNFTA offers great opportunity to access new markets for both the EU and Vietnam. It will help to bring more capital into Vietnam. In addition, the EUVNFTA will boost the most economic sectors in Vietnam. Establishments in other economic sectors in Vietnam will have impact on the real estate sector due to its association with these sectors such as healthcare, technology or education.
Furthermore, the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) will ensure highest standards of legal certainty and enforceability and protection for investors. We alert investors to make use of these standards! We can advise how to best do that! It is going to be applied under the TPP 11 and the EUVNFTA. Under that provision, for investment related disputes, the investors have the right to bring claims to the host country by means of international arbitration. The arbitration proceedings shall be made public as a matter of transparency in conflict cases. In relation to the TPP, the scope of the ISDS was reduced by removing references to “investment agreements” and “investment authorization” as result of the discussion about the TPP’s future on the APEC meetings on 10th and 11th November 2017.
Further securities come with the Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) which is going to be part of the TPP 11 and the EUVNFTA.
The GPA in both agreements, mainly deals with the requirement to treat bidders or domestic bidders with investment capital and Vietnamese bidders equally when a government buys goods or requests for a service worth over the specified threshold. Vietnam undertakes to timely publish information on tender, allow sufficient time for bidders to prepare for and submit bids, maintain confidentiality of tenders. The GPA in both agreements 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.
This instrument will ensure a fair competition and projects of quality and efficient developing processes.

D. CONCLUSION
The mentioned issues are affecting the competitiveness in the real estate sector. The given restrictions, additional obligations for foreign investors, the lack of clear guidelines on implementing regulations are hurdles for investors seeking to invest in this sector in Vietnam. In view of the government’s commitments to ensure growth and the issues mentioned above, it is necessary to create clear guidelines for eliminating confusion to the investors and real estate buyers. Furthermore, the upcoming major trade agreements will have a great impact on the development of the real estate sector in Vietnam. On the other hand, the Vietnamese government still has to make further improvements on the legal environment for ensuring the implementation of the agreements.

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

Thank you very much!

Vietnam – Solar Energy – Action plan for getting deals done with the new Power Purchase Agreement

Interview with Dr. Oliver Massmann\

1. Which significant changes does the new PPA contain for the solar energy sector?

Decision 11 introduces the Feed-in-Tariff (FiT) rate of UScents 9.35 per kWh. The FiT rate is only applicable for on-grid solar power project with efficiency of solar cells greater than 16% or with efficiency of the modules greater than 15%. The FiT rate depends on the currency exchange rate of the Vietnamese Dong and the US-Dollar. The rate remains the same throughout the whole year. It is adjusted by the Vietnamese State Bank on the last working day of the year for being used in the following year.

As a result, the financial planning is easier and it grants certain security for investors such as protection against currency fluctuation.

2. Which aspects in the new PPA have changed compared with the draft PPA from April 2017?

Compared with the draft PPA, the FiT rate is now indicated in the final version and there is reference to the adjustment of the FiT in case of USD/VND exchange rate fluctuation.

The MoIT made no big changes regarding the shortcomings of the draft of the PPA from April 2017.

The investor still has to bear the biggest risk.

3. Is the PPA bankable?

No, in general the PPA is not bankable in its final version.

4. Is there a way to make it bankable?

Yes, it is possible to make the PPA bankable. We have 20 years of experience making PPAs bankable for gas and coal fired power plants and wind energy plants in Vietnam. The investor should use all business channels and experienced negotiators to make the PPA bankable.

It is a matter of negotiation and experience. Decision 11 is granting investors the possibility to negotiate the conditions with EVN. The price remains fixed.

Agreements such as the EU – Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (“EVFTA”) or the Trans-Pacific Partnership (“TPP”), which is now called the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (“CPTPP”), lay a big milestone for making the PPA bankable.

The EVFTA was signed in 2015 and is expected to be ratified by all member countries by 2018. It is probably going to take effect in 2019. It is estimated to generate an increasing GDP and to liberalize the economy of Vietnam. Another aspect is the elimination of almost all custom duties (over 99% of all tariff lines). As a result, there will be a huge impact on trade development and the interest of investors.

Another important agreement is the CPTPP. On 4th February 2016 the TPP was signed between 12 countries. The signing nations made up 28% of the global trade and 40% of the global GDP. However, at the beginning of 2017, the US President Trump decided to withdraw from the TPP. The remaining 11 member states discussed the future of the TPP in APEC event in Da Nang, Vietnam and agreed to push ahead with the TPP but now under the name of CPTPP. Furthermore, the states agreed to work out a new framework agreement, which includes changes to the previous TPP agreement. The largest amendment was made in the field of intellectual property, for example, easing the protection of copyright or the special protection of biologics and pharmaceuticals.

However, the level of market access is still the same as in the first TPP. For some countries, further negotiations have to take place and they need time to adapt their laws to the CPTPP rules. The negotiators have set the goal of signing the revised TPP by the first quarter of 2018. After 6 countries have ratified the partnership, it will come into effect.

With the CPTPP, market access to more sectors will be opened than the WTO such as telecommunication, distribution of goods, manufacturing and fabrication. However, there will remain a few restrictions in the power/energy sector as discussed below.

As a result of the EVFTA and the TPP, Vietnam will get access to a huge part of international markets. This gives Vietnam the possibility to increase the amount of imports and exports (estimated up to 37% higher until 2025) and to improve foreign investments.

Another essential instrument is the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS)[N1] which is going to be applied under the EVFTA and the TPP. Under that provision, for investment related disputes, the investors have the right to bring claims to the host country by means of international arbitration. The arbitration proceedings shall be made public as a matter of transparency in conflict cases. In relation to the TPP, the scope of the ISDS was reduced by removing references to “investment agreements” and “investment authorization” as result of the discussion about the TPP’s future on the APEC meetings on 10th and 11th November 2017.

As a conclusion, the bankability of the PPA will get enhanced as a consequence of the EVFTA and TPP in the next few years if the legislative framework is being reformed in the right direction. The economy will become more dynamic because of access to other markets and further foreign investments. With the implementation of the ISDS in the TPP, investors will be more secured in relation to dispute resolution and protection against the risks of international trading. As a result, banks will be more willing to finance PPAs.

Our recommendations: For now, the bankability of the PPA is not as it is expected. But you should be aware of the upcoming agreements which will lead to a big impact on the economy growth and the economy itself. If everything is improving in the right direction as it is now, the PPAs will be more bankable in the future and there will be better investment opportunities.

5. How was the bankability issue handled in the past years?

The TPP and the EVFTA are not the only agreements regarding the bankability of the PPA.

Vietnam and the USA signed the Bilateral Trade Agreement (BTA) in 1999 which was implemented in 2001. It was a huge success and very important agreement for the economy of Vietnam. It was the first opening of the Vietnamese market and important for the creation of more business opportunities and new standards for financing projects.

Another important fact was Vietnam’s accession to the WTO in 2007. This has improved trade relations between Vietnam and other countries by removing trade barriers and the commitment to non-discrimination. It was also a political sign to show Vietnam’s will to get integrated in the international trade by accepting international trading rules.

To be able to fulfill the commitments, it is necessary to make legislative adjustments and adopt laws that ensure the viability and efficiency of the projects. In the last years, many important laws have been introduced. They have helped to enhance the bankability of the PPA, for example, the 2014 Investment Law, 2014 Enterprise Law, 2012 Labor Law, etc.

In addition, in 2011, the legal framework for wind power projects was introduced.

Our recommendation: You should use existing international agreements and local laws as the bases for negotiation. Remember to rely on existing precedents and keep in mind that there are some difficulties for project development. But with a well-structured project development, it is still possible to getting a bankable PPA done.

6. What are the main risks of the PPA for investors?

With many solar projects currently focused on a few central locations, the capacity of existing facilities to absorb power must be a cause of some concerns given the PPA’s transfer of such risk to power producers.

EVN holds a monopoly of distribution, repair, maintenance, inspection and examination of the grid.

There is a big risk because of the lack of the government’s guarantee for EVN’s payment obligation in cases energy is provided from the producer but cannot be transmitted due to interruption of EVN’s grid connection. One solution for bridging that guarantee gap can be the use of the MIGA backup from the Worldbank (Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency) or backup from the Asean Development Bank.

Reasons for the interruption can be, for example: force majeure or termination of contracts. EVN can refuse transmitting the energy in cases of maintenance or repairing.

Circular 16 does not contain any guarantee or compensation for investors in these cases.

Our recommendations for avoiding potential risks: Be aware of veto rights of EVN and Vietnamese authorities. You have to be patient because the decision making process in Vietnam goes through many levels and takes time.

7. There will be conflicts between the investors and EVN because of the shift of risks to the investors. Which means of conflict resolution does the PPA grant to investors?

In general, the PPA is governed by the Vietnamese law.

The PPA does not provide for international arbitration as a means of dispute resolution.

Conflicts can be submitted to the Department of Electricity and Renewable Energy. If this option fails, investors can seek help at the Electricity Regulatory Authority of Vietnam (ERAV) or with application to a Vietnamese court.

The PPA implicitly allows the involvement of domestic and offshore arbitration. However, whether it can be a prior agreement with EVN in the PPA or only until there is an arising dispute simply lies in the hands of EVN.

Our recommendations for successful negotiations with EVN: You have to understand how EVN is working and what their targets are. Be aware of their monopoly position in the energy sector in Vietnam. Don’t try “to reinvent the wheel”!

Do not overexert them with too ambitious intentions related to the development proposal. They might be afraid of so many new things. Rely on workable precedent strategies and make reference to successful projects.

8. Which view does the MoIT hold regarding the shortcomings of the PPA?

The MoIT knows about the shortcomings of the PPA and is aware about the fact that the PPA will not attract investors to meet the power demand or to solve problems regarding the development of renewable energy.

The MoIT also knows that the solar energy sector in Vietnam has a lot of potentials.

Finally, the MoIT expects to attract smaller investment projects where bankability is not really an issue for the investors.

9. Is the view of the MoIT realistic?

In our opinion, the MoIT’s view is not realistic. It may lead to unfeasible projects because of the existing risks of the final version of PPA and without assurance for supportive services from a bank. Furthermore the success of projects depends on the result of the negotiation with EVN.

10. Which advice can you give to future investors regarding their project development?

Be aware! You have to take care of your project on a step-by-step-base and get well prepared for the negotiations with EVN when you decide to invest in an on-grid power project.

***

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!

 

 

 

CASINO BUSINESS UNDER STRICT REGULATIONS

On 20 January 2017, the Government issued a long-awaiting casino business decree No. 03/2017/ND-CP (Casino Decree). Although the issuance of the Casino Decree after almost 10 years of waiting opens a promising market to casino industry, foreign investors have been very hesitant and in the waiting mode for further clarification documents from competent authorities. Finally after more than six months since the Casino Decree’s effective date, on 05 October 2017, the Ministry of Finance issues Circular No. 102/2007/TT-BTC (Casino Circular) guiding the Casino Decree. The Casino Circular helps complete the regulatory framework for casino business in Vietnam and put the young industry in momentum growth.

Local Vietnamese eligible for gambling

Local Vietnamese will be permitted to gamble at specific casinos approved by competent authority on a 3-year trial basis (i.e. – calculating from the first day opening of the authorized integrated resorts). According to the public media, only 02 casinos are open to Vietnamese individuals on a 3-year piloting scheme, which are located within complex resorts in Phu Quoc District, Kien Giang Province (South Vietnam) and Van Don District, Quang Ninh Province (North Vietnam). A small likelihood that Ho Tram Resort would join the list.

Local players are permitted to enter casinos if they essentially satisfy the following conditions: (i) 21 years old or above; (ii) monthly salary of VND10 million or more (equivalent to approximately US$440); (iii) paying entrance fee of VND1 million (US$44)/24 hours/ person or VND25 million (USD1,100)/ month/ person; and (iv) not being objected in writing by siblings, spouses and/or biological and adopted parents to play at casinos. However, these conditions, especially the monthly income requirement, are complicated to prove and were not previously dealt with in the Casino Decree. The Casino Circular then substantiates this requirement as below:

– Having documents (tax declarations/ confirmation by tax authorities) proving taxable income at level 3 or above pursuant to the Law on Personal Income Tax;

– Notarized house/ assets lease contract, where the total monthly rent is VND 10 million or above;

– Notarized bank savings book or bank statement of savings with a term of one year or more and having monthly interest from VND10 million or above;

– Other documents proving that the usual monthly income of players being VND 10 million or above; or

– In case a single document mentioned above is not sufficient to prove the VND10 million monthly income, players can submit several documents to prove such total monthly income.

Casinos under strict supervision of tax authorities

Casino-operating enterprises must arrange a place in the casino with necessary means and equipment for state authorities to perform the casino management and surveillance directly or via electronic equipment and camera system. Transactions under supervision are monetary transactions and/ or tokens related ones. These transactions must also be recorded ad reported to the tax authorities.

In addition, state authorities also supervise, either directly or via electronic and camera system, the inventorying and calculation of transactions performed at cashier area and/ or areas for counting and storing cash and tokens.

Foreign currency control in casino business

Casino-operating enterprises must exchange Vietnamese Dong or other currencies for tokens and vice versa for players.

The exchange rates for Vietnamese Dong or other currencies to tokens and vice versa must be based on the purchasing rates on the transaction date announced by the licensed bank where the casino-operating enterprise’s specialized foreign currency account is opened. In case the transaction date falls on days off or public holidays, the exchange rates must be based on the rates announced on the previous transaction date.

A casino-operating enterprise may accept bank cards of players to exchange for tokens when they play in the casino. The transaction must be in Vietnamese Dong.

In case the Vietnamese players win the prizes, they are only allowed to receive the prize in Vietnamese Dong (whether in cash or by bank transfer). This is not the case for foreign players where they can also receive the prize in foreign currency.

Conclusion

The issuance of the Casino Decree and the Casino Circular timely open Vietnam’s young casino industry to attract foreign investment and limit foreign currency loss to other neighbouring countries. According to recent statistics, Vietnam loses about USD800 million in tax revenue annually from gamblers who cross the border to Cambodia. This is even more critical as many countries in the region already allows casino business such as Macau, Singapore, Philippines, Korea and recently Japan. In such scenario, the Vietnam Government still has a lot to do in order to not only retain Vietnamese players in the market but also attract foreign players who are already familiar with other casinos in the region.

***

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

Thank you very much!

 

 

 

Rechtsanwalt in Vietnam Dr. Oliver Massmann DAS TRANSPAZIFISCHE PARTNERSCHAFTSABKOMMEN VERPFLICHTUNGEN ÜBER DEM LEVEL DER WTO – EINE ANALYSE

Überblick über das Transpazifische Partnerschaftsabkommen (TPP)

Das TPP wurde ursprünglich bekannt als „Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership“, das 2006 zwischen Singapur, Neuseeland, Chile und Brunei als „P-4-Abkommen“ abgeschlossen wurde als Mittel zur Förderung der Handelsliberalisierung im asiatisch-pazifischen Raum. Wie der Name schon sagt, war der ursprüngliche Zweck der Vereinbarung nur, ökonomische Fragen zu betreffen. Da die Zahl der teilnehmenden Länder in der P-4-Vereinbarung gestiegen ist, beginnend mit den Vereinigten Staaten im September 2008 (welche aber 2017 wieder terminiert haben) und anderen Ländern, wie Australien, Peru, Vietnam, Malaysia, Kanada, Mexiko und Japan bis Juli 2013 zu folgen, wird die Vereinbarung vereinbart “Eine umfassende, regionale Vereinbarung der nächsten Generation, die Handel und Investitionen liberalisiert und neue und traditionelle Handelsfragen und Herausforderungen des 21. Jahrhunderts anspricht” von den TPP-Handelsministern. Im Juni 2015 genehmigten die Vereinigten Staaten die Handelsförderungsbehörde für Präsident Obama. Die Vereinbarung endlich wird so, wie es heute durch harte Verhandlungsrunden ist, während die letzte Runde in Atlanta im September 2015 als die intensivste war. Die Verhandlungen zum TPP wurden bereits am 06. Oktober 2015 abgeschlossen. Im Februar kuendigten die USA das TPP worauf alle anderen Staaten sich einigten, das Schicksal des TPP im November 2017 endlich zu beschließen, wobei jetzt schon klar ist, dass die Mehrheit der Unterzeichnerstaaten das abkommen ratifizieren will (TPP11).

Der erfolgreiche Abschluss der TPP-Verhandlungen fügt Vietnam einer Gemeinschaft von 11 Nationen hinzu, die 28% des weltweiten Handels ausmacht.

Vietnam wäre der größte Profiteur dieses Handelspaktes. Das BIP in Vietnam würde eine sich zusätzlich um 13,6% steigern. Nach dem Weltwirtschaftsforum wird Vietnam voraussichtlich im Vergleich zu anderen TPP-Volkswirtschaften, RECP-Volkswirtschaften und RCEP-Volkswirtschaften die bedeutendste Veränderung des BIP im Jahr 2025 (d.h. 28,2%) aufweisen. Die Reallöhne von Vietnam werden bis 2025 ebenfalls voraussichtlich um 10,5% ansteigen, so dass Malaysias als zweithöchstes Einkommensaufsteigerland aus den TPP-Mitgliedern weit hinter sich gelassen werden wird.

Das TTP wird Vietnam dabei helfen, internationale Kooperationsmöglichkeiten zu nutzen, die Beziehungen zu den wichtigsten Märkten auszugleichen, sich größeren Märkten zu nähern, darunter Japan, Kanada, den Im- und Export zu steigern, das Import-Defizit zu reduzieren und ausländische Investitionen zu vergrößern. Darüber hinaus wird TTP auch dazu beitragen, dass die Wirtschaft Vietnams ihre Ressourcen effektiver nutzt und aktive Unterstützung der Prozesse der Umstrukturierung, der Innovation und der Verbesserung der Vorschriften ermöglicht und die Verwaltungsreformen verbessert.

Was macht das TPP zur Vorlage für kommende Vereinbarungen – Welche Verpflichtungen liegen außerhalb des WTO-Niveaus?

Die freiere Handelszone

Verpflichtungen im Handel mit Waren

Tarif- und nichttarifgebundene Handelshemmnisse werden im gesamten Handel mit Dienstleistungen und Waren im Rahmen des TPP erheblich reduziert und entfernt. Einfuhrzölle werden zu 100% für Waren reduziert, die zwischen den Mitgliedsstaaten gehandelt werden, wobei mehr als 90% sofort bei Abschluss des Abkommens beseitigt werden. Das TPP umfasst auch Fragen, die in Abkommen der WTO noch nicht angesprochen wurden, einschließlich der Ausfuhrabgaben, der Einfuhrzölle für Wiederverkäufe, des Marktzugangs für neu gestaltete Waren, strengere Vorschriften für Einfuhr- und Ausfuhrlizenzen, Monopole und Waren im Transit. Niedrigere Tarifbarrieren aus dem TPP geben Vietnam einen größeren Zugang zu großen Verbrauchermärkten in den USA, Japan, Kanada und Australien. Die potenziellen positiven Auswirkungen auf den Handel könnten transformativ sein, mit Schätzungen, dass das TPP die Ausfuhren Vietnams um über 37% bis 2025 steigern wird. Bemerkenswerterweise schloss Vietnam im August auch das Freihandelsabkommen mit der EU ab und ist somit dabei, Freihandelsabkommen mit drei seiner vier größten Exportziele – der EU, Japan und den USA – abzuschließen.

Verpflichtungen im Handel mit Dienstleistungen und Investitionen

Alle 12 Mitgliedsstaaten eröffnen die Möglichkeit eines liberalisierten Handels in diesem Bereich. Mehrere Sektoren werden im TPP im Vergleich zur WTO eröffnet, wie z.B. Telekommunikation, Vertrieb und Fertigung.

Darüber hinaus nimmt das TPP neben der Einbeziehung von grundlegenden WTO-Grundsätzen (nationale Behandlung (NT), Meistbegünstigung (MFN), Marktzugang und lokaler Präsenz) einen negativen Ansatz ein, so dass ihre Märkte für Dienstleister voll offen sind. Andere TPP-Parteien, soweit diese in ihren Verpflichtungen nichts anderes eingegangen sind (d.h. nicht- konforme Maßnahmen). Um solche Vorbehalte zu erheben, muss der Mitgliedsstaat die Notwendigkeit einer solchen Erhaltung und Verhandlung mit anderen Mitgliedsstaaten nachweisen. Bei der Genehmigung sind die nicht-konformen Maßnahmen nur auf solche Listen beschränkt, mit Ausnahme von Maßnahmen in bestimmten sensiblen Sektoren, die in einer separaten Liste enthalten sind. Die Mitgliedstaaten sind nur berechtigt, Maßnahmen zu ergreifen, die bereits besser sind als das bestehende (Ratchet-Prinzip). Das TPP schließt auch Verpflichtungen zur Beseitigung von Leistungsanforderungen ein (d.h. keine Bedingungen für lokale Anforderungen an Inhalte, Exportbedingungen, Nutzungen bestimmter Technologien, Standort des Investitionsprojekts usw.) und angemessene Anforderungen an die Geschäftsleitung und den Vorstand. Bemerkenswert ist, dass das TPP-Kapitel über Investitionen erstmals sehr klar und transparent im Hinblick auf das MFN-Prinzip ist, dass die Länder, die im Mehrstaatsregime tätig sind, den ausländischen Investoren die besten Investitionsbedingungen aller Staaten geben müssen, unabhängig von dem Staat, in dem die Investition findet statt. Investoren sind auch berechtigt, gegen die Regierung von der Investitionsregistrierung Anträge zu stellen.

Textilien

Textilien gehören zu den wichtigsten Handelswaren Vietnams. Nach Vorschlägen der Vereinigten Staaten wurden die Verhandlungen über Textilien getrennt von Verhandlungen über den Marktzugang für andere Güter geführt. Um für die TPP-Präferenzzollbehandlung qualifiziert zu sein, wendet das TPP das Stoff-Verarbeitungs-Prinzip an, d.h. Textilprodukte müssen in TPP-Ländern aus Stoffen vorbereitet werden. Allerdings enthält das TPP Ausnahmen, die es erlauben, dass (i) bestimmte Materialien von außerhalb TPP bezogen werden (“Short supply list”), (ii) bestimmte Fertigungsphasen (z.B. Färben, Weben usw.), die außerhalb von TPP durchgeführt werden sollen; Und (iii) ein Land, um Nicht-TPP-Materialien im Austausch für die Ausfuhr bestimmter Textilwaren in ein anderes Land verwenden zu können.

Staatliche Logistik

Das TPP macht eine Liste von Regierungsstellen und Agenturen, deren Logistik von bestimmten Waren und Dienstleistungen in einem bestimmten Betrag der öffentlichen Ausschreibung unterliegen muss. Dieses Kapitel enthält NT- und MFN-Prinzipien, entfernt bevorzugte Bedingungen, die lokale Ausschreibungen wie die Verwendung lokaler Güter oder lokaler Lieferanten, Bedingungen für den Technologietransfer oder den Zwei-Wege-Handel und die Investition usw. begünstigen. Diese Regelungen erfordern die Mitarbeit aller Parteien, insbesondere Vietnams, in Bezug auf Chinas Vorreiterstellung durch die vielen Angebote mit niedrigem Angebotspreis, aber qualitativ minderwertigen Dienstleistungen, ihre Gebotsverfahren zu reformieren und ihre eigenen Interessen zu schützen, indem sie die Angebote mit schlechter Leistung und geringer Kapazität disqualifizieren.

Streitbeilegung zwischen Investoren und Staaten

Das TPP zielt darauf ab, Investoren und ihre Investitionen in das Gastland zu schützen, indem sie Anforderungen an die Nichtdiskriminierung einführt; eine gerechte Behandlung einfordert; einen vollen Schutz und Sicherheit wahrt; das Verbot der Enteignung, das nicht für den öffentlichen Zweck, ohne ordnungsgemäßen Prozess oder ohne Entschädigung ist; die freie Übertragung von Mitteln im Zusammenhang mit Investitionen; und die Freiheit, Führungspositionen unabhängig von der Nationalität zu ernennen.

Das TPP enthält auch Verfahren für die Schiedsgerichtsbarkeit als Mittel zur Beilegung von Streitigkeiten zwischen Investoren und dem Aufnahmestaat. Es deckt neue Bestimmungen im Vergleich zu bestehenden Vereinbarungen wie Transparenz in Schiedsverfahren, Offenlegung von Einreichungen und Schiedssprüchen und die Beteiligung interessierter nicht streitender Parteien, um amicus curiae (lat. für: unabhängige Sachverständige) Entscheidungen zu erhalten.

Vereinbarkeit des TPP und älterer / bestehender Vereinbarungen

Die Mitgliedsstaaten des TPP erkennen die bestehenden Rechte und Pflichten jedes Mitglieds im Rahmen bestehender internationaler Vereinbarungen an, zu denen alle TPP-Mitgliedsstaaten Parteien sind (z.B. WTO-Abkommen, NAFTA oder weitere bilaterale Abkommen) oder von den mindestens zwei Mitgliedsstaaten Parteien sind. Im Falle einer Kollision zwischen einer Bestimmung des TPP und einer Bestimmung einer anderen Vereinbarung, auf die mindestens zwei TPP-Mitgliedsstaaten Parteien sind, werden diese Parteien miteinander eine gemeinsame zufriedenstellende Lösung erreichen. Bitte beachten Sie, dass der Fall in dem eine andere Vereinbarung eine günstigere Behandlung von Waren, Dienstleistungen, Investitionen oder Personen als die Behandlung des TPP vorsieht, nicht als Inkonsistenz angesehen wird.

Frist der Umsetzung des TPP

Am 04. Februar 2016 trafen sich die Handelsminister in Neuseeland, um das Abkommen zu unterzeichnen, damit es in den einzelnen Mitgliedstaaten im nächsten Schritt vor dem Inkrafttreten des Abkommens ratifiziert wird. Die TPP wird nicht wirksam, wenn nicht mindestens sechs Länder, die 85% des BIP des Blocks ausmachen, es ratifizieren. Laut dem Vietnamesischen Minister für Industrie und Handel, Herrn Vu Huy Hoang, wird erwartet, dass das TPP im Jahr 2018 in Kraft tritt auch ohne die USA! Dies wird auf dem APEC Treffen im November 2017 entschieden.

***

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

Vielen Dank!

 

 

 

 

 

Rechtsanwalt in Vietnam Oliver Massmann – Fusionen und Übernahmen

Seit Vietnam 2007 offizielles Mitglied der Welthandelsorganisation (WTO) wurde, war dort ein stetiges Wachstum an M & A-Vorgängen zu verzeichnen.

Die erste M&A Transaktionswelle erreichte Vietnam im Zeitraum zwischen 2008 und 2013, mit einem gemeldeten Gesamtwert von 15 Milliarden US-Dollar. Der Gesamtwert der Deals von japanischen Investoren betrug dabei 1,2 Milliarden US-Dollar im Jahre 2012.

Hinsichtlich der Menge und des Wertes einzelner Deals in Vietnam ist Japan dabei das führende Land. Dies verhalf dem M&A-Markt in Vietnam im Jahre 2012 dazu, einen Höhepunkt von 5,1 Milliarden US-Dollar zu erreichen.

Der Immobiliensektor gilt dabei als der attraktivste Sektor mit einem Gesamtwert an M&A-Transaktionen von bis zu 1,637 Milliarden Dollar, wobei hierbei 20 Deals etwa 69% des gesamten M&A-Transaktionswertes von ausländischen Investoren in Vietnam ausmachen.

Aber auch beim  Einzelhandel sowie in den Konsumgüter-, Industriegüter- und Dienstleistungssektoren ist große Aktivität mit hochpreisigen Transaktionen zu verzeichnen.

Laut einer von StoxPlus durchgeführten Untersuchung erlebte der vietnamesische M&A-Markt  2014 eine starke Erholung. In diesem Jahr, so hieß es, seien wöchentlich etwa 6 Deals durchgeführt worden. 2015 gab es dabei insgesamt 341 M&A-Deals mit einem Gesamtwert von 5,2 Milliarden Dollar. Dies bedeutete einen 23,1 prozentigen Anstieg hinsichtlich der Anzahl und einen 9,7 prozentigen Anstieg hinsichtlich des Gesamtwertes der Deals im Vergleich zum Vorjahr.

Wie man die Kontrolle über eine Aktiengesellschaft erlangt

Die gängigsten Wege, die Kontrolle über eine Aktiengesellschaft zu erhalten, sind die folgenden:

– Der Erwerb von Aktien / Stammkapital durch:
– der Kauf von Aktien / Stammkapital von den Aktionären der Gesellschaft;
– der Kauf von Aktien / Stammkapital eines börsennotierten Unternehmens an der Börse; und
–  ein öffentliches Aktienkaufangebot.
– eine Fusion. Das Unternehmensgesetz von 2014 legt die Verfahren für  Unternehmensfusionen (durch die Übertragung aller gesetzlichen Vermögenswerte, Rechte, Pflichten und Interessen an das fusionierte Unternehmen) und für die gleichzeitige Liquidierung der fusionierenden Gesellschaften fest.
– Durch den Erwerb von Vermögenswerten.

Es bestehen Beschränkungen für den Erwerb von Aktien / Stammkapital von einheimischen Gesellschaften durch ausländische
Investoren. Darüber hinaus erlaubt das Gesetz noch keine Fusions- oder Vermögensübernahmegeschäfte bei denen ausländische Investoren Partei sind.
Wertpapiere öffentlicher Unternehmen müssen beim Vietnam Securities Depository Centre  registriert und hinterlegt sein bevor mit ihnen gehandelt werden kann.
Abhängig von der Anzahl der gekauften Aktien kann ein Investor kontrollierender Anteilseigner  werden.

Nach dem vietnamesichen Law on Securities, ist ein Aktionär, der direkt oder indirekt
5% oder mehr der Stimmrechte (qua Aktienbesitz) einer ausgebenden Organisation besitzt, Großaktionär.
Bei Transaktionen, die zu mehr als 10% Eigentum an dem eingezahlten Stammkapital der Wertpapierfirma führen, muss die Zustimmung der staatlichen Wertpapierkommission (SSC) eingeholt werden.

Was Bieter in der Regel fragen, bevor sie ein Gebot abgeben:

Bevor das potenzielle Ziel offiziell kontaktiert wird, führt der Bieter eine vorläufige Beurteilung aufgrund der öffentlich zugänglichen Informationen durch. Der Bieter kontaktiert dann das Ziel und bringt seine Absicht zum Ausdruck, Aktien zu kaufen bzw.  Aktien zu zeichnen, und die Parteien unterzeichnen eine Vertraulichkeitsvereinbarung bevor es dann zum Due Diligence Prozess kommt. Die Vertraulichkeitsvereinbarung umfasst grundsätzlich Vertraulichkeitspflichten bei der Durchführung der Transaktion. Die klageweise Durchsetzbarkeit der Vertraulichkeitsvereinbarungen vor Gerichten in Vietnam ist mangels einschlägiger Verfahren unklar.

Die Due Diligence des Bieters umfasst in der Regel folgende Einzelheiten:

  • Unternehmensdaten der Zielgesellschaft, seiner Untergesellschaften, Tochtergesellschaften und der sonstigen Gesellschaften, die dazugehören.
    · Haftungsverhältnisse (aus vergangenen oder anhängigen Rechtsstreitigkeiten).
    · Arbeitsrechtliche Fragen
    · Vertragliche Vereinbarungen der Zielgesellschaft.
    · Gesetzliche Genehmigungen/Erlaubnisse bzgl. der Geschäftstätigkeit der Zielgesellschaft
    · Versicherungen, Steuern, geistiges Eigentum, Schulden und grundstücksbezogene Themen.
    · Kartellrecht, Korruption und andere regulatorische Fragen.

Beschränkungen der Aktienübertragung von Hauptaktionären

Innerhalb der ersten drei Jahre nach Erteilung des Enterprise Regulation Certificates können Gründungsaktionäre ihre Anteile/Aktien nur an andere Gründungsaktionäre der Gesellschaft übertragen. Danach können Aktien frei übertragen werden.

Eine interne Zustimmung der Hauptversammlung ist immer dann erforderlich, wenn:

  • Das Unternehmen sein Kapital durch die Ausgabe von Aktien erhöht.
    · Bei der Übertragung von Aktien/Anteilen von Gründungsaktionären innerhalb der vorgenannten dreijährigen Sperrzeit.

Beziehen sich Verkauf und Kauf auf eine direkte Vereinbarung zwischen  Zielunternehmen und dem Verkäufer hinsichtlich der Ausgabe von Aktien, so muss der Verkaufspreis niedriger sein als der Marktpreis zum Zeitpunkt des Verkaufs,

oder, sollte es einen solchen Marktpreises, nicht geben der Buchwert der Aktien zum Zeitpunkt des Genehmigungsplans.
Die Aktien verkaufen. Darüber hinaus muss der Verkaufspreis für ausländische und inländische Käufer gleich sein.

Wann es eines Übernahmeangebots bedarf

Ein Übernahmeangebot ist in folgenden Fällen erforderlich:

  • bei einem Kauf der Umlaufaktien einer Firma, bei dem ein Käufer ohne oder mit weniger als 25% Anteilenen, 25% oder mehr erwirbt
  • bei einem Kauf der Umlaufaktien einer Firma, bei dem ein Käufer (oder mit diesem verbundene Personen) der bereits 25% oder noch mehr Anteile hält, weitere 10% der Aktien im Umlauf erwirbt
  • · bei einem Kauf der Umlaufaktien einer Firma, bei dem ein Käufer (oder mit diesem verbundene Personen) der bereits 25% oder noch mehr Anteile hält, weitere 5-10% der Aktien im Umlauf innerhalb von weniger als einem Jahr seit der Beendigung seines letzten Angebots erwirbt.

Es gibt keine Anleitung zum Aufbau einer Beteiligung durch Derivate. Darüber hinaus kann der Bieter während der Übernahmeangebotsfrist außerhalb des Angebotsprozesses keine Aktien oder Aktien(-kauf)rechte erwerben.

Der Bieter muss das Angebot in drei aufeinander folgenden Ausgaben einer schriftlichen oder elektronischen Zeitung öffentlich und (bei börsennotierten Gesellschaften) bei der zuständigen Börse innerhalb von sieben Tagen nach Erhalt der Stellungnahme der

staatlichen Wertpapierkommission (SSC) bzgl. des Übernahmeangebots bekanntgeben.
Das Angebot kann erst umgesetzt werden, nachdem die SSC ihre Stellungnahme abgegeben hat und die öffentliche Bekanntgabe durch den Bieter erfolgt ist.
Die Veröffentlichung des Gebots
Der Ablauf stellt sich wie folgt dar:

  • Der Bieter bereitet die Registrierungsunterlagen für sein öffentliches Aktienkaufangebot vor
    · Der Bieter sendet die Registrierungsunterlagen zur Genehmigung an die SSC und gleichzeitig an die Zielgesellschaft
    · Die SSC überprüft die Unterlagen innerhalb von sieben Tagen.
    · Der Vorstand der Zielgesellschaft muss seine Stellungnahme zum Angebot innerhalb von 14 Tagen ab dem Erhalt der Übernahmeunterlagen an das SSC und die Aktionäre/Anteilseigner der Zielgesellschaft versenden
    · Das Angebot wird in den Massenmedien angekündigt (obgleich dies keine gesetzliche Voraussetzung ist).
    · Die Dauer der Angebotsfrist beträgt zwischen 30 und 60 Tagen.
    · Der Bieter meldet die Ergebnisse des Prozesses innerhalb von 10 Tagen nach Fertigstellung an die SSC

Bei Unternehmen, die in bestimmten Sektoren tätig sind (Banken-, Versicherungssektor etc.) kann der Ablauf jedoch ein anderer sein.

Die Form der Berücksichtigung und Mindestanforderungen an diese

Nach vietnamesischem Recht kommen als Zahlungsmittel beim Aktienkauf Bargeld, Gold, Landnutzungsrechte, Geistiges Eigentum, Technologie, technisches Know-how oder andere Vermögenswerte in Betracht. In der Praxis dürfte das geläufigste Zahlungsmittel allerdings das Bargeld sein.
Beim  vollständigen Erwerb von staatseigenen Unternehmen muss die erste Zahlungsrate mindestens 70% des Gesamtwertes der Aktien betragen. Der überbleibende Betrag muss innerhalb der nächsten 12 Monate gezahlt werden.
Bei der Ersteigerung von Aktien/Anteilen, die von staatlichen Unternehmen durchgeführt werden muss der Käufer eine Anzahlung iHv. 10% des Reservepreises der dauerhaft registrierten Aktien leisten. Dies muss mindestens 5 Werktage vor dem Auktionstag und entsprechend der Firmenregelungen der Zielgesellschaft geschehen.

Darüber hinaus hat der Käufer den gesamten Kaufpreis für die Aktien innerhalb von zehn Werktagen ab der Verkündung der Versteigerungsergebnisse an das Konto der die Auktion durchführenden Körperschaft/Stelle zu überweisen.
.
Im Falle eines öffentlichen Übernahmeangebots muss die Zahlung und Übertragung von Aktien, die über eine Wertpapiervertretergesellschaft als Bevollmächtigte für das öffentliche Übernahmeangebot abgewickelt wird, dem Erlass 58/2012 / ND-CP entsprechen.

Das Delisting eines Unternehmens / der Börsenabgang
Sofern ein Unternehmen seinen Börsenabgang vollziehen will, muss es hierzu einen entsprechenden Antrag stellen, der die folgenden Unterlagen enthalten muss:
· Ein Antrag auf Delisting.
· Bei Aktiengesellschaften:
O die Genehmigung der Hauptversammlung bzgl. des Delistings der Aktien;
O die Zustimmung des Vorstands zum Delisting von Anleihen; und
O die Zustimmung der  Hauptversammlung zum Delisting von Wandelschuldverschreibungen.

  • Die Zustimmung Gesellschafterversammlung (bei einer Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung mit mehreren Gesellschaftern) bzw. des Einzelgesellschafters (bei einer Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung und nur einem Gesellschafter) zum Delisting der Anleihen.
    · bei einem Wertpapier-Investmentfonds muss die Anlegerhauptversammlung dem Delisting der Fondszertifikate zustimmen
    · bei einer öffentliche Wertpapierfirma muss ebenso die Hauptversammlung der Aktionäre  dem Delisting zustimmen

    Ein börsennotiertes Unternehmen kann seine Wertpapiere nur delisten, wenn diese  Entscheidung bei der Hauptversammlung durch mehr als 50% der stimmberechtigten Aktionäre, die nicht Großaktionäre sind bestätigt wurde.
    Soweit ein Unternehmen sich freiwillig von der Börse in Hanoi oder Ho-Chi-Minh delistet,  muss der Antrag auf auch einen Plan zum Umgang mit den Interessen der
    Aktionäre und Investoren enthalten. Die Börse in Hanoi bzw. Ho-Chi-Minh muss
    das Delisting innerhalb von 10 bzw.15 Tagen nach Eingang des gültigen Antrags
    prüfen.

Transaktionszölle, die auf den Verkauf von Anteilen an einer Gesellschaft zu zahlen sind
Abhängig davon, ob der Verkäufer eine Einzelperson oder eine Körperschaft ist, fallen folgende Steuern an:

· Kapitalertragsteuer. Die Kapitalertragsteuer ist eine Form der Einkommensteuer, die auf jedwede Prämie auf den tatsächlichen Beitrag des Anlegers zum Kapital oder auf seine Kosten zum Kauf von solchem Kapital zu leisten ist.
Ausländische Unternehmen und lokale Körperschaften leisten eine Körperschaftssteuer iHv. 20%. Wenn die übertragenen Vermögenswerte allerdings Wertpapiere sind, fällt für die verkaufenden ausländischen Unternehmen eine Körperschaftssteuer iHv. 0,1% des Bruttotransferpreises an.
· Einkommensteuer. Wenn der Verkäufer eine ortsansässige natürliche Person ist, beträgt die Einkommensteuer 20% der Gewinne und 0,1% des Verkaufspreises bei der Übertragung von Wertpapieren. Der ortsansässige Steuerpflichtige in diesem Sinne ist dabei definiert als eine Person, die:
O innerhalb eines Kalenderjahres 183 Tage oder mehr in Vietnam verbringt,
O seit ihrer Ankunft 12 aufeinanderfolgende Monate oder mehr in Vietnam verbringt,
O einen eingetragenen ständigen Wohnsitz in Vietnam hat; oder
O im Steuerjahr mindestens 90 Tage lang in Vietnam ein Haus mietet (per Mietvertrag).

Wenn der Verkäufer eine nicht in Vietnam ansässige natürliche Person ist, unterliegt er einer Einkommensteuer von 0,1% des Bruttotransferpreises, unabhängig davon, ob es überhaupt Kapitalgewinn gibt.
Die Zahlung der genannten Abgaben/Steuern ist in Vietnam obligatorisch.
Gesetzliche Genehmigungen
Der Anleger muss die Kapitaleinlage und den Kauf der Aktien registrieren, wenn:

  • Die Zielgesellschaft in einem der 267 Sektoren tätig ist, die im Investmentgesetz von 2015 genannt werden

    · Die Kapitaleinlage und der Erwerb von Aktien zu einem ausländischen Investorenanteil von 51% des Stammkapitals der Zielgesellschaft oder mehr führen.
    (im Einzelnen: von unter 51% auf über 51% und von 51% auf über 51%).

Die örtliche Stelle für Planungen und Investitionen, in deren Zuständigkeitsbezirk sich die Zielgesellschaft befindet, muss ihre endgültige Genehmigung innerhalb von 15 Tagen ab dem Eingang eines gültigen Registrierungsantrags abgeben. Wegen der hohen Arbeitsbelastung und dem Fehlen klarer Leitfäden bei einigen zentralen Behörden kann diese Prozedur in der Praxis allerdings mehrere Monate in Anspruch nehmen. Deshalb kann es wegen dieser Registrierungsanforderung für den gesamten M&A-Prozess zu Verzögerungen kommen.

In anderen Fällen muss die Zielgesellschaft nur eine Änderung der Mitgliedschaft / der  Aktionäre bei der Geschäftsregistrierungsabteilung/ dem Handelsregister anzeigen.

Beschränkungen der Rückführung von Gewinnen und / oder Devisenregeln für ausländische Gesellschaften

Wenn die Zielgesellschaft in Vietnam bereits ein Investmentzertifikat hat, muss sie bei einer lizenzierten Bank in Vietnam ein Investment-Kapital-Konto eröffnen. Zahlungen für einen Aktienkauf durch ausländische Investoren müssen über dieses Konto durchgeführt werden. Das Konto kann über den Vietnamesischen Dongoder eine ausländische Währung laufen. Wenn der ausländische Investor zudem ein Offshore Investor ist, muss  sie zudem ein Kapitalkonto bei einer in Vietnam tätigen Geschäftsbank eröffnen, um
die Zahlungen auf dem Konto des Verkäufers durchzuführen und Gewinne zu erzielen.
Wenn die Zielgesellschaft in Vietnam kein Investmentzertifikat hat, muss der ausländische Investor ein indirektes Investmentkapitalkonto für die Zahlung an den Verkäufer und die Überweisung von Gewinnen eröffnen.

***

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!

 

 

 

 

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.
Conclusion
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 omassmann@duanemorris.com.

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 Human Resources – Best Practice Solutions and Impact of ASEAN

The new Law on Social Insurance is coming into force at the 1 January 2016 and it will introduce some extensive changes which are considered to be good for Vietnam and align with international practice. These changes include, among others, expansion of the subjects of application of compulsory social insurance; additional provisions to improve the transparency of social insurance regime such as rights of employees to self-manage their social insurance books and obligations of employers to publicize information about the payment of social insurance premiums to employees every 6 months; steps to be taken to separate unemployment insurance from the social insurance regime; etc.
In order to ensure such changes are properly understood by employers and employees, the Ministry of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs should have more consultation and communication with the business community by reviewing regulations related to such changes, directly interacting with employers and employees during the consultation and opinion collecting process and building trust for social insurance agency. This would allow employers to be better positioned while explaining issues to their employees.
With respect to foreign workers, following the adoption of the new Labour Code in 2013, the Government of Vietnam recently issued Decree No. 102/2013/ND-CP elaborating the Labour Code’s provisions on foreigners working in the country. While the Decree clarifies the issuance and reissuance of work permits and eligibility for work permit exemption, there are current issues that should be resolved:
• Procedure for re-issuance of work permit should be simplified and it should be possible to apply at least 30 days prior to its expiration so that applicants have time to get their visa/temporary cards renewed;
• Trainees, who are working in Vietnam, and freelancers, who are working for many entities, are not covered by this Decree;
• The requirement of a criminal record certificate should only be applicable for applicants who have been in Vietnam for 6 months or more;
• The period for approval of a “foreign labour demand report” should be maximum 15 days and not 6 weeks as in some provinces;
• Documents for issuance of work permit should depend on type of employment/assignment including foreigners working under labour contracts and intra-company transferees or assignees working under service contracts; foreigners working in Vietnam less than 90 days to conduct audit, training, internship, etc.;
• Procedure for work permit exemption should be simple; and
• More comprehensive guidelines for applicants and training of officers in charge of issuance of work permits should be provided.
Please kindly note that the upcoming ASEAN Economic Community will impact the hiring of regional skilled labour in certain job categories by end the of 2015. The Ministry of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs should maintain the communication channels with the business community on this to address both opportunities and challenges.

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

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN DOING BUSINESS IN VIETNAM PLEASE VISIT: www.vietnamlaws.xyz

THANK YOU VERY MUCH