Vietnam Solar Power  – Taking stock of Vietnam’s solar energy potential – What you must know:

With the latest official issuance of a Solar Decision, Vietnam has made steady progress on its solar energy potential. The FIT is introduced in the Solar Decision to be 9.35 UScents/ kWh for grid-connected solar projects. The draft solar Power Purchase Agreement has also been recently introduced in a draft Circular guiding the Solar Decision by the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

This webinar offers valuable insights into the newly formulated framework for Solar PV in the country and covers:

  • The roles and obligations for EVN carried forward by the draft
  • The bankability of the draft solar PPA, its guarantee scheme and room for negotiation
  • Insights how to make most of the opportunity for PV in the market – the 30MW off-grid rule – Getting Solar Power Project done in reasonable time:

More information of the webinar can be found here:;

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






Lawyer in Vietnam Oliver Massmann Trans Pacific Partnership Impact on labor environment – Asia Pacific Economic Review Interview:

1. How do you evaluate the impact of TPP on labor environment of Vietnam?

Answer: Being touted as the 21st century trade agreement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) also includes the strongest provisions on labour in history. In total 14 FTAs to which Vietnam is a party, the TPP is also its first FTA including labour provisions. If TPP is implemented fully, it will help improve on-the-ground labour conditions in its member countries by adopting binding and fully enforceable obligations to, among other, freely form unions and bargain collectively. The TPP is also the chance for member countries, especially Vietnam, to improve living standards and work quality for its own employees.

2. If TPP is fully implemented, does it help improve the labor conditions in its member in general and in Vietnam in particular?

Answer: Please see my answer also to Question 1 above.

3. According to you, how will TPP transform Vietnam Labour’s practices?

Answer: In the TPP, Vietnam has made a critical commitment, i.e., establishment of organization representing employees at grass-root level being independent of the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour. Differently speaking, TPP has laid a foundation for pluralism in trade union area. If independent TUs are established in Vietnam, employees’ living standards and rights will be much more improved as their TU will be one which can speak their voice.

Notably, in the side agreement mentioned above with the United States, a separate enforcement mechanism independent of the TPP if the United States is dissatisfied with Vietnam’s implementation.

Therefore, Vietnam must amend the current TU regulations towards international labour standards, despite the fear that rights of employees may be made political, resulting in instability of the country. The schedule for Vietnam to amend its legal system to materialize its commitments is already indicated in the side agreement with the United States as follows:

Principle 1: Right of workers to freely form and joint a labour union of their choice

Principle 2: Ability of labour unions to administer their affairs with autonomy

Principle 3: Worker representation in non-unionized workplaces

Principle 4: Representability in Selection of union officials

Principle 5: Non-interference of employers in organizational activity of labour unions.

4. Do you have any advice for Vietnam regarding to law on trade union to make the best use of TPP (export to its members, especially the US)?


In addition to my answer in Question 3 above, the Law on Trade Union must be amended:

(i) to allow workers to freely form and joint a labour union of their choice.

(ii) to protect workers from discrimination, especially in the use of trade union’s fee.

(iii) to ensure the right to go on strike of workers (remove cases where workers are not allowed to go on strike or go on strike outside their working place, etc.)


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


Lawyer Oliver Massmann interviewed by Channel News Asia on Reaction to new Vietnamese Government from the Business Community

1. Vietnamese legislators will elect the country’s new PM, President & NA Chair three months ahead of schedule. Reaction from business community?

So far, there has been no recorded official reaction from business community. But some unofficially view this move as unprecedented (though not entirely unusual).

As a foreigner having lived here for more than 20 years, I myself am not surprised at this change. The election result (who plays which role) perhaps has been set. This in fact is speeding up of the final formation process.

2. Does it show or mean anything about the “new regime”?

The expression of “new regime” isn’t one I would support and it is still too soon to conclude how the new premiership will unveil Vietnam politically and economically. It should be noted that Vietnam is a single party democracy therefore “regime change” is not technically correct in this case whatsoever.

However, the election result could be a signal that the Congress, or in other words, the conservative side, has gained an upper hand. This raises a concern about the reform progress in the upcoming time.

My recommendation to the Vietnamese Government at this stage: The new Government should not hesitate and make very clear via official channels that it will continue with its excellent strategy of high level international integration and speedy implementation of its signed trade pacts to pave the way for market access and strong growth in Foreign Direct Investment into Vietnam.


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


Foreigners with bachelor’s degrees and at least three years of experience working in their respective fields are no longer required to obtain work permits in Vietnam, according to a decree approved by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, IF they work in Vietnam for less than 30 days and less than 90 days in total in a year (Decree No. 11/2016/ND-CP).

The decree contains implementation guidelines for some items related to the management of foreign employees under the Law on Employment.

Under the new decree which was released recently, the following foreign employees are exempted from work permit:
1. Capital contributing member or owner of a limited liability company;
2. Member of the board of management of a shareholding company;
3. Head of a representative office or of a project of an international organization or non-governmental organization in Vietnam;
4. Entering Vietnam for a period under three (3) months in order to offer services;
5. Entering Vietnam for a period under three (3) months in order to resolve an incident [breakdown] or technically or technologically complex situation arising and affecting, or with the risk of affecting production or business with which Vietnamese experts or foreign experts currently in Vietnam are unable to deal;
6. A foreign lawyer issued with a certificate to practice law in Vietnam in accordance with the law on lawyers;
7. A student studying in Vietnam is permitted to work in Vietnam, but the employer must provide seven (7) days advance notice to the provincial State administrative authority for labour;
8. Intra-corporate transferee and within the scope of the eleven (11) services on the List of Commitments on Services of Vietnam with WTO namely business services; information services; construction services; distribution services; education services; environment services; financial services; medical health services; tourism services; culture and entertainment services; and transportation services;
9. Coming to Vietnam to provide expert and technical consultancy services or to undertake other tasks servicing the work of research, formulation, evaluation, monitoring and assessment, management and implementation of a program or project using official development aid (ODA);
10. Being issued with an operational licence in the information and press [sector] in Vietnam by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs;
11. Being appointed by a foreign agency or organization to come to Vietnam to teach or to conduct research in an international school managed by a foreign diplomatic office or organization in Vietnam, or certified by the Ministry of Education and Training to come to Vietnam to lecture or conduct research in an educational and training establishment in Vietnam;
12. Volunteers with certification from a foreign diplomatic office or international organization in Vietnam;
13. Coming to Vietnam to work as an expert, manager, executive director or technician for a working period under thirty (30) days and for a total cumulative period not exceeding ninety (90) days in any one (1) year;
14. Coming to Vietnam to implement an international agreement signed by a central or provincial level agency or organization in accordance with law;
15. A student currently studying at a school or training establishment overseas and who has an agreement on practical training at an agency, organization or enterprise in Vietnam;
16. Relations of members of a foreign representative agency in Vietnam who are working, after the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has so permitted, except where an international treaty of which Vietnam is a member contains some other provision; and
17. A person with service passport working for a State agency, political organization or socio-political organization.

The local Department of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs will be the in-charge authority to certify foreign employees to be exempted from work permit upon request by the employers within at least seven (7) working days from the work commencement of the foreign employees (except for employees under points (4)-(5) and (13) above.

The Decree will be in full effect from 01 April 2016.


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

Endlich – Ausländer können in Vietnam Häuser und Eigentumswohnung erwerben

Vietnam – Sie sind Ausländer und wollen ein Haus oder eine Eigentumswohnung erwerben?
Kommen sie zu uns! Wir helfen Ihnen damit auch alles richtig funktioniert

Seit dem 1. Juli 2015 gelten die neuen Gesetze zum Wohnungsbau und Immobilienhandel. Diese beiden Gesetze erlauben es nun auch Ausländern Grund und Boden sowie Häuser und Eigentumswohnungen zu erwerben. Am 10. September 2015 wurde die Implementierungsrichtlinie zum Gesetz zum Immobilienhandel erlassen und wirft endlich Licht auf das Gesetz. Die Richtlinie wird ab dem 01. November in Kraft treten. Für die anderen Gesetze für die es noch keine Umsetzungsrichtlinien gibt har das Bauministerium die zuständigen Stellen angewiesen, sich an die neuen Gesetze zu halten und bis es Umsetzungsrichtlinien gibt, sollen die Behörden die Gesetze mit Hilfe der Richtlinien zu den alten Gesetzen auslegen solange es dadurch nicht zu einer Verletzung des neuen Rechtes kommt. Details werden nun im Folgenden erklärt.

1. Eigentumserwerb

Das Gesetz zum Wohnungsbau besagt, dass es Privatpersonen, denen die Einreise gestattet ist und die nicht mit speziellen Rechten ausgestattet sind oder diplomatische oder konsularische Immunität genießen, nun erlaubt ist, Wohneigentum in Vietnam zu haben. Die Regierung wird detaillierte Richtlinien erlassen, die es ausländische Privatpersonen erleichtern soll, den Eigentumserwerb auf rechtlich sicheren Boden zu stellen. Diese Richtlinien sind jedoch leider noch nicht erlassen worden.
Investoren und juristische Personen können Wohneigentum zu Investmentzwecken erwerben. Es muss jedoch ein Investment-Zertifikat vorgelegt werden, welches im Falle einer erstmaligen unternehmerischen Tätigkeit zunächst beantragt werden muss.
Ganz grundsätzlich müssen die Projekte im Einklang mit dem neuen Gesetz zum Wohnungsbau sowie anderen relevanten Gesetzen sein.

Es gibt zwei verschiedene Möglichkeiten für ausländische Privatpersonen und Organisationen Eigentum zu erwerben. Zum einen kann es sich um ein Investitionsprojekt handeln, bei dem in den Bau von Wohneigentum investiert wird, zum anderen ist es auch möglich, dass das Wohnhaus oder die Eigentumswohnung nach Fertigstellung erworben wird.
Für ausländische Privatpersonen, die mit einem vietnamesischen Staatsbürger verheiratet sind, geht das Gesetz sogar noch weiter und stellt sie auf eine Stufe mit vietnamesischen Staatsbürgern und gibt ihnen dieselben Rechte wie vietnamesischen Staatsbürgern, die Möglichkeit auch langfristig Eigentum zu erwerben.

2. Beschränkungen

Es muss jedoch beachtet werden, dass man in Vietnam als Ausländer Eigentum nur auf 50 Jahre erwerben kann. Die vietnamesische Regierung kann diese Zeitspanne jedoch auch auf Antrag verlängern. Nach dem neuen Gesetz ist es sogar erlaubt, das Wohngebäude zu vererben, solange es in der vorgesehen Zeitspanne geschieht.

Es gibt jedoch Beschränkungen, eine davon betrifft vor allem den Umfang an möglichem Wohneigentum. Der Erwerb ist beschränkt auf 30% der Wohnungseinheiten in einem Gebäude oder 250 Häuser in einem Gebiet. Artikel 68.4 des vierten Entwurfs Dekret zu LRH limitiert jedoch noch weiter, dass ausländische juristische oder natürliche Personen von max. 10% des gesamten Wohnraums in einem Gebiet Eigentümer sein dürfen. Das vierte Entwurf Dekret führt eine weitere Einschränkung ein, während Artikel 159.2 (b) des Gesetzes zum Wohnungsbau ausländischen natürlichen oder juristischen Personen es nur verbietet sich Häuser innerhalb der nationalen Sicherheits- und Verteidigungsbereiche zu kaufen. Das Entwurf Dekret erweitert dieses Verbot und verbietet es, dass ausländische natürliche oder juristische Personen Eigentum in Gebieten erwerben, in denen Ausländern schon nach dem Gesetz für Aufenthalt und Reise der Aufenthalt beschränkt oder verboten wird.

Die Entwicklung dieser Regelung bleibt also abzuwarten.


Bitte zögern Sie nicht und kontaktieren Herrn Massmann unter; falls Sie die Chance ergreifen möchten und Eigentum erwerben wollen oder falls Sie Fragen zu dem oben gelesenen haben sollten. Oliver Massmann ist Generaldirektor und Partner der US Kanzlei Duane Morris in Vietnam.

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

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


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

Question on doing business in Vietnam!

Interview by Vietnam Financial Times
Oliver Massmann

Question 1: What do you think about the reform in tax and customs of Vietnam so far? For the German enterprises in Vietnam, how do these policies affect them?

Over the past year, we have seen significant efforts and progress made by the General Department of Customs in terms of improved regulations, more effective e-customs operations, and increased dialogue and consultation with the business community. From 01st January 2015, the new Customs Law takes effect with its implementing Decrees coming into force later on 15 March. The implementing Circulars are also already in force from 01 April with the most notable one being Circular No. 38/2015/TT-BTC. This Circular, which replaces 13 previous customs regulations, is considered most comprehensive among the new regulations. While there are still more regulations being adopted soon following the new Customs Law, for example, regulations on advance customs rulings, post-clearance inspection, or regulations in anticipation of the upcoming Free Trade Agreements, impacts on German enterprises need to be accessed later.

We have also seen much progress in reforming Vietnam’s tax procedures over recent years. Up to 01 January 2015, the total time for tax compliance is reduced to 370 hours per year, which is an impressive decrease compared with 872 hours annually according to the 2013 statistics. Time for tax declaration and payment is also reduced to 121.5 hours per year, with possibility of online tax declaration and payment. Although German enterprises highly appreciate these tax reforms, we would expect that the efforts are not only at Government or ministerial levels but also at the local levels where we have to deal with the authorities there directly.

Question 2: How do the German enterprises in Vietnam look at the VN’s business environment? In the future, what should VN adjust to attract more German enterprises?

The Government of Vietnam has made certain success in stabilizing the economy to reach a high growth rate projection in 2015 by World Bank (i.e., 6%) and maintain import-export balance over the five years.

Vietnam is also extremely successful in international economic integration, especially by joining the negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (“TPP”), the European – Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (“EVFTA”), Korea – ASEAN Free Trade Agreement, Japan – ASEAN Economic Partnership Agreement, and establishment of the customs union Russia- Kazakhstan-Belarus, and notably the ASEAN Economic Community by end of this year. Vietnam is expected to be the main beneficiary of the major trade pacts, with additional growth of 13.6% (for the TPP) and 15% growth of GDP (for the EVFTA). 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.

Moreover, with the adoption of the 2014 Investment Law and Enterprise Law, the investment environment in Vietnam now even becomes more attractive to foreign investors, especially to German investors. Nevertheless, there are still certain outstanding issues that should be further addressed to attract foreign investors in general and German enterprises in particular. These problems include annulment and unenforceability of arbitral awards in Vietnam, certain trade restrictive measures in the field of import and export, burdens created for enterprise in tax administration by state authority, and especially corrosive and widespread corruption in Vietnam. These problems require Government’s stronger efforts and urgent actions to solve, in addition to several current attempts which we really appreciate.

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



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

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