Why Is It Best To Start Preparing For Transactions Now In Vietnam?

Vietnam is currently at the final stage of negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership (“TPP”) and the EU- Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (“EVFTA”). Meanwhile, the ASEAN Economic Community, which Vietnam became a full member in 1995, is to be established by the end of 2015. With such deep integration into the multilateral and regional economy, Vietnam is expected to be an attractive investment environment for investors and witness a significant growth in the upcoming years. Samsung Electronics Company has decided to choose Vietnam as the Number 1 country to put their world largest mobile and tablet production and invested more than 6 Billion USD after a researching worldwide. Also major Japanese companies are convinced Vietnam is a top investment destination and become the largest investors in Vietnam. However, whether foreign investors should wait until the TPP and the EVFTA are concluded and the AEC has been established to enjoy their benefits then is a big question. The following section provides an overview of these free trade agreements and the AEC to help investors understand what is awaiting them ahead and choose the right time for their investment.

TPP

The TPP is one of the largest trade and investment agreements ever to be negotiated, involving some of the largest nations in the world. 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.

TPP Market Snapshot
• GDP: US$28,136.0 billion (2012)
• GDP per capita: US$35,488 (2012)
• Population: 792.8 million (2012)
• TPP % of world GDP: 39.0% (2012)
• TPP % of world population: 11.3% (2012)
• TPP % of world trade: 25.8% (2012)

The TPP is being negotiated across thirty chapters with deep focus on comprehensive market access, a fully regional agreement, cross-cutting issues (regulatory coherence, competiveness and business facilitation, small and medium sized enterprises, and development), new trade challenges (particularly rules on state owned enterprises and government procurement); as well as, finally, the notion of a living agreement.

The TPP would expand market access in goods and services among its signatories. The market access issues include liberalization of trade barriers protecting dairy, sugar, and rice; tariffs and origin rules affecting textiles, clothing, and footwear; and services trade reforms, especially financial services, insurance, and labor services. Vietnam would be the largest beneficiary of this trade pact, resulting from its strong trade ties with the United States, high level of protection against its main exports (i.e., apparel and footwear), 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.

Higher income will help Vietnam to invest more and grow more

Vietnam is among the largest income gains in TPP

Recently, President Barack Obama has been grated fast-track authority to negotiate the TPP with other 11 nations. This shows a step closer to its conclusion, hopefully by the end of 2015.

AEC
The AEC originates from the ASEAN Vision 2020, which was adopted in 1997 on the 30th anniversary of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, made up of Brunei Darussalam, Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam (ASEAN). With a population of more than 600 million and a nominal GDP of about $2.31 trillion, ASEAN is a strong economic community in Asia and also a driver of global growth.

The AEC encompass the following characteristics: (i) a single market and production base, (ii) a highly competitive economic region, (iii) a region of equitable economic development, and (iv) a region fully integrated into the global economy.
The AEC is expected to be an area where goods can circulate freely and in which custom duties on goods will be gradually reduced to 0%. It will establish ASEAN as a single market and production base, making ASEAN more dynamic and competitive with new mechanisms and measures to strengthen the implementation of its existing economic initiatives; accelerating regional integration in the prioritized sectors; facilitating movement of business persons, skilled labor and talents; and strengthening the institutional mechanisms of ASEAN.
The free flow of investment will also offer enhanced investment protection to all ASEAN investors and their investments in other ASEAN member countries, including the settlement mechanism of an investor state dispute based on a non-discrimination principle when investing in other ASEAN countries. Those principles play a very important role in providing investor confidence when making cross-border investment.

Once the AEC is completed, it will be a unified market, a common manufacturing area seeking for more dynamic and competitive development and to create new opportunities for tariff reductions as well as other trade incentives.

AEC Market Snapshot
• GDP: US$2311.3 billion (2012)
• GDP per capita: US$3748.4 (2012)
• Population: 620 million, 60% under the age of 35
• AEC % of world GDP: ~3.3%
• AEC % of world population: 9%
• AEC’s merchandise exports: US$1.2 trillion – ~54% of total ASEAN GDP and 7% of global exports
• If ASEAN were one economy, it would be the 7th largest in the world – 4th largest by 2050 if growth trends continue

EVFTA

It is estimated that Vietnam’s Gross Domestic Products (GDP) could rise by over 15% and that the value of its exports to the European Union could increase by almost 35% as a result of its entry into force.

In 2013, the EU was Vietnam’s second biggest trade partner with a total value of trade in goods of EUR 24.2 billion. In the same the EU was also Vietnam’s biggest export market with EUR 21 billion, representing 19% of Vietnam’s total export. Vietnam’s export to EU increased by 28% from 2012 to 2013. In addition, the EU is among the biggest investors in Vietnam, with 1,810 FDI projects in 2013. The EU committed to continuing to support with the foreseen assistance amount of EUR 400 million in the coming six years. EU exports to Vietnam are dominated by high-tech products including electrical machinery and equipment, aircraft, vehicles, and pharmaceutical products. Vietnam’s key export items to the EU include telephone sets, electronic products, footwear, textiles and clothing, coffee, rice, aqua products, and furniture.

The two parties have already been cooperating on various subject matters since the conclusion of the EU-Vietnam Partnership and Cooperation Agreement in June 2012. This cooperation will be brought to the next level by the conclusion of the FTA, which will tackle issues such as tariff and non-tariff barriers, regulatory issues, services, public procurement, Intellectual Property Rights, sustainable development, etc. 2015 will mark the 25th anniversary of EU-Vietnam cooperation, and it is expected to be the year the EU-VN FTA is concluded.

Conclusion: Why investment in Vietnam now – not after the trade pacts are signed and sealed?

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

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

*Typical restrictions: number of opened sectors, JV requirement, limits on foreign-owned shares, permission requirement

 Vietnam has the fastest growing middle class with a very good demographic situation: about 90 Million people of which about 50 percent are under 30 years old.

 Expectations of Vietnam parties might get unreasonable, the same as after Vietnam acceded to the WTO in 2007 and no projects could be done.

 Market opening in certain sectors, for example, media, and there could be more competing companies from the AEC with better market access to Vietnam. Thus, it is vital that investors start working on their projects now to position themselves as early as possible before the coming into effect of the trade pacts and the AEC.

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

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

THANK YOU VERY MUCH!

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 omassmann@duanemorris.com if you have any questions on the above. Oliver Massmann is the General Director of Duane Morris Vietnam LLC.

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

THANK YOU VERY MUCH!

Vietnamese Clean Development Mechanism CDM market – The perspective of an emission certificate buyer

Overview of the CDM market in Vietnam

Certain projects for the reduction of emissions in Vietnam are suitable for purchasing certified emission reductions (CERs) under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). The buyers sign an agreement with local project owners in order to obtain rights to CERs from the project. Purchasers are usually ultimate consumers and speculators. Most CERs are eventually used by power companies and other purchasers from the EU area that meet the requirements as well as governments of developing countries etc. The buyers of primary CERs obtain at the European Climate Exchanges a discount compared to the secondary market price because they carry considerable delivery risks and typically have met CDM related expenses. Delivery risks arise typically through project execution, but also in form of CDM registration- and validation-related risks. Validation-related risks are highlighted due to the fact that out of 85 projects which have been uploaded for evaluation in Vietnam only 8 have been registered yet. Over 40% of the projects have been under validation for a year.

Vietnam’s market potential

Vietnam could have the potential to generate up to 10 million CERs. However, it is subject to acceleration of the validation process, i.e. the publication of standard CEF for the Vietnamese grid, the encouragement of required local approvals etc. Due to delays in project validation and construction, the scope will be probably smaller. The global recession has adversely affected the access to financing, which in turn affected particularly the hydropower sector (the main CDM project type in Vietnam).

Due to uncertainties with regard to the system after 2012, projects have to be registered or ordered as quickly as possible. Although the market price of CERs has decreased due to the impact of global recession, there is still a sufficient demand for Vietnam’s CERs. Purchasers are prepared to change to new product fields and are particularly interested in projects with a high sustainable development value for the local community.

CER portfolio management

Compliance buyers have to administer their portfolio intensively in order to reflect their intended and actually provided loans. Higher prices are paid usually in connection with project types involving high registration and verification risks. Furthermore, higher costs could be incurred within projects which are well advanced in respect of construction, but it will be dependent on this and not on increased registration risks. In case of projects which have already been started, the earlier CDM consideration as part of an additionality analysis has to be proven. Distribution of risk is an important risk management instrument. For example, many buyers may have a big percentage of their portfolio in Chinese CERs, so it is recommendable to have a look at other markets, such as SE Asia etc. Distribution of risk extends right up to technology type.

Most important project types in Vietnam

– hydropower: most common project in Vietnam. Validation risks are named as medium and verification risks are low. Although in these projects are a long construction period and often numerous delays.
– wastewater used for generate energy: 7 projects are already applied for registration. Risk of validation is low to medium, construction time is low (often less than one year) and the risks of validation is medium size.
– other renewable energy types: wind is a high potential, so far only one project existing. Also bio energy project have a high potential. Risks of validation and verification are low to medium, even there is a long construction period.
– MSW-treatment- are only few projects so far, but there is a high potential for composting. Risks of validation are low to medium, medium risks of verification and medium period of construction.

Most important feasible project types in Vietnam

Case studies:

BinhThuan: 30 MW wind farm project

This project, construction of the first wind farm in Vietnam, is run by the Vietnam Renewable Energy JSC. The first turbine group has been already installed on the construction site. In April 2009, the project has been registered with the CDM EB. A production of electricity of 91.571 MWh/year is expected, whereas over 59,000 t of CO2 emissions/year are to be reduced.

Case study – Cu Chi 1000t/d MSW processing plant
This project was developed by Tam SinhNghia (TSN) and includes composting of 1000 t/d of municipal solid waste (MSW). The expected emissions reduction of CH4 avoidance is estimated at roughly 1 million tCO2e (more than seven years of credited period).

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

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

THANK YOU VERY MUCH!

Investments in the Energy Sector

Future market development and opportunities for foreign players
– Vietnam’s strategies and master plan with regard to the expansion of renewable energies by 2015 and visions for the years ahead…

General overview:

Vietnam’s requirement for renewable energies rises sustainably (in the past, in the present and in the future by an average of 10% per annum). The country becomes increasingly dependent on the world energy price because the growth of domestic energy sources is most likely not able to keep up with the economic growth rate. The high potential of the hydroelectric power will be consumed primarily in the next decade, with gas and coal supplies being limited, so that in the near future Vietnam will have to import coal for energy production. In this context, the Vietnamese government identified the necessity that the available resources of renewable energies have to be exploited and expanded, and the currently existing obstacles gradually removed.

Potential and current status of the expansion of renewable energies:

Vietnam has potential resources of renewable energies. These sources, which can be exploited and actually utilized, include small-scale hydropower, wind power, biomass, biogas, bio fuel, energy from domestic waste, solar energy and geothermal energy.

– Small-scale hydropower: taking into consideration the economic efficiency and profitability, it is classified as the most viable form of renewable energies. More than 1 000 locations show a potential for the development of small-scale hydropower in the range from 100 kW to 30 MW and a total capacity of more than 4 000.
– Wind power: Vietnam’s potential for wind power is classified as very high. However, as currently no reliable studies exist, the resources cannot be precisely quantified. In fact, available data on wind power potential show discrepancies. Figures from 1,785 MW up to more than 8 700 MW or even way above 100 000 MW are mentioned.
– Biomass: as the agriculture in Vietnam is widespread, so a high potential of power from biomass is available, too. The capacity for sustainable power production from biomass amounts to just 150 million tons per annum, 700 – 780 MW for electricity generation alone can be reached.
– Solar energy: Total number of sunshine hours up to 1400 – 3000 hours/year, the average total radiation amounts to 230 – 250 kcal/cm2, and strengthens towards the south. Solar energy can be used for water boiling, power production and other purposes, as e.g. drying, cooking etc.
– Geothermal energy: the recent figures show that Vietnam’s potential for geothermal energy amounts to about 200 – 340 MW.

Current status:
Currently, the consumption of renewable energies consists to the greatest extent in energy recovery from biomass in its original form. The proportion of energy from raw biomass to total energy requirement is high and amounts to roughly 38% of the entire final consumption of energy and about 30% of total initial energy consumption.

Power production for grid connection: There are only two kinds of small-scope hydropower with a capacity of over 300 MW; 30 MW from biomass (sugar cane waste) and 2.4 MW from household waste.

Network-independent power supply: Renewable energy sources have been utilized to supply rural areas, distant and remote territories as well as islands. 1.25 MW solar power, 1.2 MW wind power and more than 50 MW small and micro hydropower plants have been built and operated.

Biofuel: The government signed a decision on the approval of a project for “biofuel development”. In the country, 6 projects for ethanol production have been established, with each project showing an average capacity of 100 million liter /year. Several of the projects will start the production in 2010.

Summary of the strategies for the development of renewable energies and development targets in Vietnam

Development perspectives: – the development of renewable energy with economic feasibility is given priority; – the development of renewable energy to supply rural areas with electricity is fostered and supported; – support and investment in further development of certain technologies with regard to renewable energies which are not economically viable yet; – the development of renewable energies in cooperation with the government based on the principle of effective combination of market mechanisms; – the development of renewable energies in close relation to sustainable economic, social and environment-friendly development in order to reduce the effects of the climate change and the development of the environment.

Overall goals: – Improvement of the energy infrastructure, extension of energy sources, ensuring energy security, environmental protection and sustainable development, mitigation of damages with regard to the effects of climate changes; – to increase the national production and the national consumption of renewable energies; – Completion of the energy program in the mountainous region and contribution to the accomplishment of government objectives to provide electricity for rural areas.

Special goals: – to increase the share of renewable energies in the overall national energy production – from 1.3 billion kWh in 2008, by at least 7 billion kWh in 2015 and 20 billion in 2025; – by 2020, 100% of households in rural areas ought to be supplied with electricity; – increase of the number and the area of application of cooking devices which can be powered by solar energy, namely from the current very low percentage to 18 million m2 (in 2015) and 9 million m2 (in 2015); – increase and expansion of the area of application of biogas technologies from 0.12 million m3 of the current construction volume to 5 million m3 in 2015 and 15 million m3 in 2025; – to increase the number of households utilizing highly efficient biomass; – to increase the number of households using devices for conversion of efficient biomass (cooking devices with more than 30% efficiency) from the current low number to 1 million households in 2015 and 4 million households in 2025; – in 2015, the production of ethanol and vegetable oil should amount to 250 000 tons, which corresponds to 1% of the crude oil requirement. In 2015, the production of ethanol and bio-oil should reach 1.8 million tons and cover 5% of the crude oil requirement.

Solutions for implementation

General principles:

– all organizations, individuals, domestic enterprises, foreign enterprises and organizations have to be encouraged to participate; – promotion of projects concerning renewable energies in order to ensure better marketing;
– the government should support the national grid connection at the same or lower cost compared to avoidable economic cost of projects within the scope of renewable energies;
– the government should simplify the operation of the market; – preferential prices for renewable energies should be fixed on the basis of cost effectiveness aspects; – the government should support the use of renewable energies for the supply of rural areas with electricity;
– the government should support the initial phase for the promotion of installation and upgrading of technologies related to renewable energies for effective heat and fuel production and its use, based on the principles of standard and quality assurance.

Solutions and roadmap for implementation:
– establishing a national liaison body for the development of renewable energies; – preparation of a roadmap for organizational structure development; – preparation of a roadmap for supporting grid connection of the projects regarding renewable energies; – preparation of a roadmap for renewable energy development for heat and biofuel production; – preparation of most favorable terms of registration for CDM for projects based on renewable energies.

On financing of renewable energies in Vietnam: The basics

In order to be able to keep pace with growing requirement Vietnam’s for energy, an increase of the production capacity by approximately 4,000 MW per annum and its supply into the national grid are required.

Based on rapid shrinkage of Vietnamese gas and oil reserves (which will be exhausted within coming 20 to 30 years), the experts predict that, from 2020, in order to ensure the operation of its power plants Vietnam will have to import a volume of 100 million tons of coal per annum. Consequently, Vietnam will be dependent on the import of fossil fuels, unless it develops its enormous potential of renewable energy. Despite the negligible current capacities of renewable energy plants, Vietnam is blessed with considerable potential in this area which can be developed as alternative energy sources for the benefit of Vietnam. In spite of the fact that the current legal framework is very underdeveloped yet, the government, namely the Ministry of Industry and Trade, has adopted a constructive and supportive course which, in combination with political and financial assistance on the part of international institutions, makes this sector increasingly attractive for foreign investors.

Rich sources of clean energy

Vietnam has countless clean energy sources: Its abundance of streams, sources and nine main rivers gives Vietnam a place among the top 14 of countries with the best conditions for conversion of hydropower into electricity; its first-class coastal locations can boast a wind force of 860 to 1410 kWh/qm per annum or 800 to 1000 kWh/qm per annum; the tropical climate provides solar resources with a solar radiation between 3 and 4.5 kWh/gm/day in winter and about 4.5 to 6.5 kWh/qm/day in summer. Against this background, some experts even claim that Vietnam can completely cover its requirement for electricity by the use of renewable energies.

The government has gradually created a legal framework for the promotion of development of renewable energies in Vietnam. This new legislation does not establish any restriction for foreign investors that invest in renewable energies and introduces a favorable tariff for renewable power plants with an installed generation capacity of up to 30 kWh. According to this legislation, Electric of Vietnam (EVN), the only electric power company (and the only electricity buyer), will acquire electricity generated by such plants at approximately 11 US cent per kWh during peak load times of the dry season. The corporate income tax (CIT) for these project enterprises is limited to a rate of 10% and granted for a time frame of 15 years; in special circumstances, it can be even extended to just under 30 years. The entire equipment and machinery which are imported as inherent parts of solar or wind power plants are duty-free. Moreover, CDM projects (Clean Development Mechanism) are entitled to subventions provided that the production costs exceed the selling price.

… but challenges lie ahead …

Despite this country’s undisputable potential of resources of alternative energy, investors bringing in funds for Vietnam’s production efficiency within the scope of renewable energies are confronted with considerable challenges:

1 The lack of reliable legal framework conditions.

2 Protracted negotiations of electricity purchasing agreement with the EVN.

3 The lack of electricity supply tariffs which would be stringently required for successful renewable energy projects.

The supply tariff is a preferential price which is paid by power suppliers when purchasing electricity generated by an authorized producer of renewable energy for a timeframe from 15 to 20 years for electricity units fed into the grid. The payment for such renewable power plants is financed regularly by allocation of cost to all consumers as well as partly by government aid for renewable energies. The combination of preferential tariffs and the obligation to purchase enables feed-in tariffs to function in monopolistic or oligopolistic markets. Presently, the Vietnamese law does not provide for any feed-in tariffs. Article 31 of the Electricity Law provides principally that the producer price (i.e. the selling price ex power plant) must not exceed the tariff determined by the competent government agency.

EVN still refers to an out-dated rate according to Decision No. 2014/QD-BCN (of 2007) with a tariff for hydropower between 2 and 5 US$ cent and for combined gas turbine power plants from 3.5 to 4.7 US$ cent. Despite the fact that the preferential tariff was fixed for smaller renewable power plants, the price of 11 US$ cent /kWh is applied only during peak periods in the raining season. Energy purchasing at other times costs about 11 cent/kWh.

The main obstacle for electricity purchasing by EVN at an increased price is the low retail price. Even though from 2010 the electricity rates will be based on market prices, the prices for households being ultimate consumers remain a matter of annually determined fixed prices. Meanwhile, a fixed maximum price for consumers form the industry and service sector is applicable. Against the background of the risk of social unrest, a substantial increase of the retail price in the short term is not realizable.

The monopoly of the EVN is one of the main reasons why investors are discouraged from entering the renewable energy market. EVN is currently de facto the only buyer and controls the electricity feed-in, transmission and supply to ultimate consumers. A free competition in electricity generation can hardly be guaranteed because EVN, being the only buyer, operates also enterprises just in this sector. It was criticized that the National Load Dispatch Center or A0, a subdivision of EVN that is authorized to electricity feed-in for the entire national grid, does not draw on the capacity of expensive oil-fired or gas turbine power plants even in case of marginal underload of the power grid.

There is a great deal of administrative barriers which have to be broken down by investors when initiating a power project in Vietnam. A power plant project has to be in accord with the master plan at national level or at the level of a particular province. If a project is not listed in these master plans, it requires the approval on the part of the Prime Minister or the Ministry of Industry and Trade. Furthermore, before obtaining the investment certificate, foreign investors have to conclude a Power Purchase Agreement with the EVN. PPA negotiations and application for investment certificates as well as power plant operator’s licenses may take months if not years.

How can investors survive?

Projects in the renewable energy sector are – as long as no feed-in tariffs are introduced – not viable. Insofar, 2015 should be a good year with a prospect for implementation of a meaningful legislation in this area; namely, the national Master Plan for Renewable Energies and the Decree on power feed-in tariff. The adoption of such documents will clarify the attitude of the government towards the development in the renewable energy sector.

At this stage, a clear and feasible strategy regarding the investment form is a prerequisite for economic involvement in this growth sector. Project financing (as limited recourse financing) is a classical but effective approach to capital raising on a bigger scale. No large projects in the range of renewable energies have been realized in Vietnam so far, but there were already a number of financially intensive BOT power projects in the thermal power sector (namely Phu My 2.2 and Phu My 3) which can have a role model function also in the renewable energy sector. Moreover, on a case-by-case basis, preferential tariffs and other financial incentives as a basis for BOT projects can be negotiated.

Certified emission reductions (CER) trading can be taken into consideration because of continuing great demand for CERs from projects with high sustainability value for local community. The focus should be on CDM projects with smaller and medium financial volume as well as lower guarantee and delivery risk. However, CER trading should not be regarded as primary financing option. In view of yet very rudimentary legal framework for CDM projects as well as the lack of precise and official statistics on the basis of which future emissions would be determined, the validation necessary for such trading is much more difficult. It is to be stated that from 85 projects selected for validation in Vietnam yet only eight have been verified, and only one project (Rang Dong oilfield gas separation and utilization) was granted a CER.
In a growth market like Vietnam, well thought-out planning and thorough understanding of local legal situation and the obligatory approval procedures are basic prerequisites for successful investments. The renewable energy sector is no exception here.

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

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

THANK YOU VERY MUCH!

Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement in Vietnam

Vietnam is currently negotiating a Free Trade Agreement with the European Union (EVFTA) as well as the Trans-Pacific Partnership with the United States (TPP). In addition, the ASEAN Economic Community will be established by the end of 2015. Thus, Vietnam will soon expect a significant increase in foreign investment, most of which will depend on the effectiveness of intellectual property protection and enforcement in Vietnam. In this context, Vietnamese enforcement agencies and the courts have been actively issuing decisions with harsh sanctions on the infringers serving as good precedents and clear warnings on future violations.

Administrative relief or civil proceeding?

However, it should be noted that presently in Vietnam, rights holders mainly seek administrative relief and border control measures before competent authorities such as the Ministry of Science and Technology Inspectorate or the Vietnam Intellectual Property Research Institute rather than pursuing lawsuits before civil courts. They view that administrative route would take less time and money compared with civil actions, taking into account the unclear legal basis of IP disputes and lack of experience of judges. The non-binding opinions of these administrative agencies could then be included in the customs record, which effectively prevent the physical entry of infringing goods at the border. However, administrative decisions only result in the fine and destruction of infringing goods without compensating for the rights holders or even payment of legal fees. As such, there has been a recent increase in litigation in courts in patent area for the past few years. With the agriculture accounts for the majority of Vietnam’s economy (80%), it is not a big surprise that the first majors patent suits took place in this area. In these cases, the courts have issued decisions in favor of the foreign agroscience companies, which would set precedents for future judgments.

Preliminary injunctive relief and permanent injunction

In civil proceedings, especially in IP area, it is sometimes importance to seek for injunctive relief. Preliminary injunctive relief has its legal basis in Articles 99-126 of the 2004 Civil Procedures Code as amended in 2011 and Articles 206-210 of the IP Law promulgated in 2005. Rights holders can request a preliminary injunctive relief if they can prove either of the following: (i) there is a threat of irreparable damage; or (ii) there is a threat of dispersal or destruction of suspected infringing goods and related evidence if they are not protected in time. The aim of injunctive relief measure is the protection of the rights holders pending the final decision of the courts. Typical preliminary injunctions are goods seizure, sealing/ freezing, prohibition on status/ ownership change/ transfer, and other measures specified in the Civil Procedure Code. However, for the courts to render an injunctive relief, rights holders are requested to pay a deposit of at least VND20 million as a security. The courts then still take great caution in applying such measure and there is no clear guidance for the court to return the deposit to the rights holders when they have concluded against the infringers. Thus, there lies a risk for rights holders when asking for preliminary injunctive relief.

While the use of preliminary injunctive relief has a clear legal basis in Vietnamese law, permanent injunction is not that case. What is normally stipulated is a cessation of the infringement but not the court order to never commit the infringement again in the future. However, it seems that the Ho Chi Minh City Court for the first time in a case initiated by a European agrochemical company against a pesticide producer in Ho Chi Minh City has ordered the infringer not to infringe the patent until the expiry date of the patent in question. This is a precedent-setting decision for future courts decisions in patent area.

Recent typical IP court litigations in Vietnam:
 Dispute between a major French cement company and a defendant in Vietnam on domain name
 Dispute between US-based Videojet Technologies Inc., and Nam Trinh JSC on trademark infringement
 Dispute between a major European agrochemical company and a pesticide producer in Ho Chi Minh City on patent infringement.

Conclusion

The developments in the IP rights enforcement system shown in the choice of civil proceedings as well as the favorable binding decisions of the courts of foreign parties are good signals for better IP environment in Vietnam. Vietnam is taking steps to assure foreign investors of effective IP rights protection when doing business in Vietnam, especially when the EVFTA and the TPP are concluded by this year.

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

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

THANK YOU VERY MUCH!