LEGAL UPDATE – APRIL 2021 – NEW REGULATIONS ON EPEs

Issue April 2021

Nguyen Thi Ngan
Legal Assistant

The new Decree No. 18/2021/ND-CP (Decree 18) amending Decree 134/2016/ND-CP on import and export tax will come into effect on 25th April. The prominent point of the Decree is specific regulations on conditions, registration procedure, supervision and management of export processing enterprises (“EPEs”). Procedures for registration to applying EPEs will be simplified and streamlined between investment licensing authorities (DPI or DIZA) and customs agency. Approval of EPEs registration is only based on the commitment for conditions satisfaction of the applicant. The applicant shall have 1 year span from the date of commencement of operation to complete all construction infrastructure to satisfy EPEs conditions.

1. The conditions for customs inspection and supervision for export processing enterprises

According to the Decree 18, the conditions on customs inspection and supervision applicable for EPEs include:

a) Having a hard fence separating from the outside area; having gates/ doors to ensure the delivery of goods in and out of the export processing enterprise through the gate/door.

b) Having a camera system that observes the gate/exit, entry and storage locations anytime, all day (24/24 hours, including day off, holidays); camera data is linked online to the customs office that manages the business and is archived at the export processing enterprise for a minimum of 12 months.

c) Having software to manage imports not subject to tax of the export processing enterprise to report on the import-export-inventory settlement of the use of imports in accordance with the law on customs.

2. Inspection for EPE eligibility

All existing EPEs shall have a span of maximum of 1 year  from the effective date of Decree 18 to complete the conditions for customs inspection and supervision and apply for assessment of satisfaction with the Sub-Department of Customs where those EPEs are administered. Accordingly, the Sub-Department of Custom undertakes at-site evaluation of satisfaction of customs supervision and inspection conditions and issues a written confirmation of eligibility for the export processing enterprise.Evaluation of satisfaction with customs inspection and supervision conditions in accordance with Decree 18 shall be applicable to both EPEs registered under the new regulations and EPEs that have been issued with Investment Registration Certificates prior to the effective date of Decree 18 and in normal operation, including EPEs that have been certified by the customs office for their conditions for customs inspection and supervision before the effective date of Decree 18.

At the expiry of 01 year deadline, if the export processing enterprise (i) fails to give notice; or (ii) fails to meet the conditions of customs inspection and supervision, the tax policy for the non-tariff area shall not be applied from the date above the 1-year time limit. Consequently, the EPE is obliged to return  to the State all unpaid taxes due to preferential treatment of EPEs.

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LEGAL UPDATE – FEBRUARY 2021 – New points of the Law on Public Private Partnerships (PPP)

Vol 2 Issue February 2021

 

Nguyen Thi Ngan
Legal Assistant

The Law on Public-Private Partnership Investment (the “PPP Law”) was ratified by the National Assembly on June 18, 2020 and took effect on January 1, 2021. The PPP Law consists of 11 chapters and 101 articles, designed to attract more resources from the private sector, especially foreign investors, while also aiming for sustainable development, “PPP for people” (people-first-PPP) as recommended by the United Nations. The PPP Law clarifies some vague provisions of Decree 63/2018/ND-CP on investment in the form of public-private partnerships (“Decree 63”), integrates regulations of Law on Bidding, Law on Public Investment, etc. This new law is considered to create a stronger legal corridor for the implementation of PPP projects.

1.  Limit permitted sectors

The new PPP law provides 5 sectors to apply PPP form, reduced from 9 under Decree 63. The 5 applicable sectors are: (i) Transportation (ii) Power grids and power plants (except hydro-power plants and fields restricted to the State regulated under the Electricity Law) (iii) Irrigation; clean water supply, sewage and waste treatment (iv) Health care and education; and (v) Information technology infrastructure.

Of which, the minimum investment capital required for PPP projects in health; education and training sector is 100 billion VND (approximately USD4.35 million) and the minimum investment capital required for other projects is 200 billion VND. The minimum capital required for PPP projects in difficult socio-economic areas or extremely difficult socio-economic areas in accordance with the law on investment is not lower than 100 billion VND. There is no minimum investment capital required for PPP projects implemented in the form of O&M contract.

2. New provisions on PPP contracts

 Project contract form classification (Article 45 PPP Law)

A PPP contract is classified in either (i) project contract applying the mechanism of fee collection directly from users or underwriters of public products and services, including: BOT (build- operate-transfer) contract; BTO (build-transfer-operate) contract; BOO (build-own-operate) contract; Operate-maintain (O&M) contract; or (ii) project contract in which payment is made by the State on the basis of the quality of public products and services, including: BTL (build-transfer-lease) contract and BLT (build-lease-transfer) contracts. The parties can sign mixed contract combining models of the above.

Eliminate BT (build-transfer) contract model

 It is practically proved that build-transfer model (BT) has negative consequences and it is not consistent with the principle of public private partnership, the model of BT contract regulated in Decree 63 has been removed. BT projects that have not been obtained in-principal approval of the investment plan shall be ceased as of 15 August 2020 and no new BT project shall be considered going forward.

PPP contracts governing law shall be Vietnamese law

 While Decree 63 allowed to apply foreign laws as governing law for PPP contracts and other related contracts and agreements in accordance with the Civil Code (Article 46 Decree 63), the PPP Law stipulates that PPP project contract, its annexure and other relevant documents signed between a Vietnamese state authority and a PPP project investor or enterprise shall be governed by Vietnamese law. With respect to matters that are not regulated under Vietnamese law, the parties may reach specific agreements in a PPP contract on condition that such agreements are not in contrary to basic principles of Vietnamese law.

3. PPP project appraisal council

 The PPP Law specifies the principles of establishment and the operation mechanism of the PPP project appraisal council. Depending on the level of agency approving investment decision, the feasibility study report, the pre-feasibility study report shall be appraised by the State appraisal council; the interdisciplinary appraisal council or the grassroots appraisal council (Article 6 PPP Law)

4. State investment in PPP projects

According to Article 69.2 of the PPP Law, the proportion of state capital in a PPP project shall not exceed 50% of the project’s total investment. The law also details the use of state capital in PPP projects. In the absence of a decree guiding the use of state capital in PPP projects, regulations limited the uses of state capital, only for the following purposes:

  1. support for the construction of works and infrastructure systems for a PPP project;
  2. payment for land clearance, compensation and resettlement, and support of the construction of temporary works;
  3. payment to the project company for providing public products and services (eg, by way of a tariff payment under a PPP concession contract);
  4. payment for revenue support in the event of revenue reduction;
  5. expenses of the different State authorities in signing the project contracts, preparing, pre-feasibility study report and feasibility study report, and their other obligations in implementing a PPP project (i.e., those obligations stemming from the “process to implementing a PPP project”); and
  6. expenses of the appraisal committee for evaluating the pre-feasibility study report and feasibility study report.

This could be an obstacle to the implementation of PPP projects in the near future

5. Synchronize regulations on the investor selection process

Bidding requirement on investor selection process was for the first time specifically provided under the PPP law instead of being referred to the Law on Bidding as before. Particularly, the investor selection process is as follows (Article 28.1 PPP Law):

  1. Making shortlist (where applicable);
  2. Preparing for selection of the investor;
  3. Bidding;
  4. Evaluating bidding documents;
  5. Submitting, assessing, approving and publishing investor selection results;
  6. Negotiating, finalizing and concluding PPP contract, and publishing contract information.

6. Bid guarantee

Based on the size and nature of each project, the bid guarantee value is specified in the tender invitation documents for selection of investors at a determined rate ranging from 0.5% to 1.5% of the total investment of the project. The bid security shall not be refunded in the event that the Investor withdraws the bid during the time the bid is valid or the Investor violates the law on bidding leading to cancellation of the bid or the Investor fail to conduct or refuse to negotiate or finalize the contract within 30 days from the date of receipt of the bid-winning notice from the bid solicitor or to negotiate and finalize the contract but refuse to sign the contract, except in case of force majeure or the PPP project enterprise established by the investor fails to ensure the performance of the contract as prescribed (Article 33 PPP Law).

 7. State guarantee mechanism

 Revenue increase/decrease sharing

According to Article 82 of the PPP Law, when the annual revenues reach more than 125% of the revenue in the Financial Plan in a PPP project contract, the investor and the PPP project enterprise shall share 50% with the State the difference between the actual revenue and the 125% of revenue in the financial plan. On the contrary, for projects applying BOT, BTO, BOO contracts, in case the actual annual project revenues fall below 75% of projected revenue in the Financial Plan, subject to certain regulatory conditions, the State shares with the investor, the PPP project enterprise 50% of the difference between the 75% of the revenue in the financial plan and the actual revenue.

The sharing of this increase or decrease in revenue by the State will be applied after adjusting the prices, fees for public products and services, adjusting the duration of the PPP project contract and the increased/decreased revenue shall be audited by the State Audit.

Foreign currency assurance mechanism for PPP projects

According to Article 81 of the PPP Law, only projects that fall under the authority to decide on investment policies of the National Assembly or the Prime Minister shall be eligible to apply the foreign currency assurance mechanism in pursuant to foreign exchange management policy and the ability to balance foreign currencies from time to time.

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Vietnam’s Top 100 Lawyers by Asia Business Law Journal

January 29th, 2021

Bizconsult Law Firm has 3 lawyers, Nguyen Anh Tuan, Nguyen Dang Viet and Le Hong Phong ranked in Vietnam’s Top 100 Lawyers 2020 (The A-List 2020) by Asia Business Law Journal.

The A-List (https://law.asia/asia-business-law-journal/lawyers/vietnam-lawyers/) is concluded after extensive research conducted by Asia Business Law Journal. Nominations are given by professionals, mainly in-house counsels and corporate legal managers in Vietnamese and global companies and law firms including Abbott, Agile Counsel, Bayer Group, Berjaya Corporation., Climate Fund Managers, Dai-ichi Life, EY, GlaxoSmithKline, Grant Thornton, etc.

Bizconsult’s 3 lawyers in the top 100 rankings have intensive expertise and extensive experience, and are appreciated for their wise and comprehensive advice that help develop clients’ businesses. According to this survey, Lawyer Le Hong Phong is regarded as “a dedicated and responsive M&A lawyer”.

We thank Asia Business Law Journal for conducting this extensive survey.

We express our thanks and gratitude to the positive comments and nominations for our attorneys from clients participating in the survey, their interests and the trust in our legal services.

Breakthroughs in Vietnam’s securities market

November 19, 2020

Since the first promulgation of the law on securities in 2006, Vietnam’s securities market has experienced dramatical growth (roughly twentyfold in market capitalisation). After three rounds of amendments to and supplementation of the law, on November 26, 2019, the National Assembly approved the new law on securities No. 54/2019/QH14 coming into effect on January 1, 2021 (“Law 2019”). Significant changes brought in by the new law promise to create a relevant legal framework and strong impetus to enhance market development. This article reviews some prominent issues.

Securities offering

Currently, conditions on public offerings are specifically provided for stocks, bonds and fund certificates regardless the nature, size and influence of the offering. The Law 2019 improves such provisions by distinguishing conditions applicable for initial public offerings and secondary public offerings of stocks, conditions for offering of non-convertible bonds and convertible bonds and conditions for offerings of fund certificates. Furthermore, new regulations seem to limit public offerings to well-performing, large companies and pay more attention to minority investors’ protection. Of particular note: for eligible IPO issuers, the threshold for paid-up charter increases from 10 billion VND to 30 billion VND; profitable performance history extends from one years to two years; issuers subject to criminal prosecution or having been convicted of any one of the crimes of violation of economic management order are prohibited; and it is required that at least 15 percent of the voting shares to be subscribed to more than 100 minority shareholders.

For private placements, the new law differentiates conditions applicable for the private placement of bonds and those applicable for other securities (stocks, convertible bonds and bonds with warrants). Only professional investors or strategic investors are allowed to apply in private placement. Professional investors are defined more broadly to comprise corporates with paid-in capital of more than 100 billion VND, listed companies, companies registered in the securities trading system, securities practicing certified individuals, individuals possessing a portfolio of at least 2 billion VND or having paid personal income tax in the most recent year of at least 1 billion VND besides other traditional financial institutions. The new law also regulates a private placement lock-up period to be three years for strategical investors and one year for professional investors.

Public companies

Law 2019 alters the criteria for public company classification. Paid-in charter capital of public companies increases to 30 billion VND (the current criteria is 10 billion VND) and at least 10 percent of voting shares are to be held by at least 100 minority shareholders. Companies successfully completing an IPO by registration with the State Securities Committee (“SSC”) are also classified as a public company.

Public companies shall comply with various remarkable regulations. After a successful public offering, they are obliged to register for trading on the unlisted securities trading system for unlisted securities. Share repurchase by a public company shall satisfy a number of conditions including having sufficient funds from specific sources and assigning a securities company to undertake the transaction. Numerous aspects relating to the administration of public companies are also addressed in the new law, namely shareholders’ rights and obligations, shareholder congress convention, the board of management’s structure and its rights and obligations, the nomination of members of board of management, principles for the prevention of conflict of interest, and information transparency.

Securities trading market

Under the new law, the securities market is organised and operated solely by the Vietnam Stock Exchange (“VSE”), a corporate 50 percent and more hold by the State and its subsidiaries. Another important new player in the market is Vietnam Securities Depository and Clearing Corporation (“VSD”), replacing the Securities Depository Center, which will be in charge of registration, depository, clearing and supporting services for securities transactions. Like VSE, VSD is also owned by the State for more than 50 percent of their voting shares and under the supervision of the SSC.

Other significant changes

Depository receipts: this term is defined as securities issued on the basis of securities of an organisation legally established in Vietnam. There is also a term of non-voting depository receipts under the new law on enterprise 2020. This new derivative product is designed with the aim to open up foreign room without loosening restrictions on foreign control over local companies.

Clearing bank: there currently exist three clearing banks in the market, SBV for treasury bonds, BIDV for common securities and Vietinbank for derivatives. The new law sets conditions for new players wishing to enter this niche market. Most notable conditions include having charter capital of more than 10 trillion VND, two years of profitable operation, capital adequacy ratios satisfaction and other requirements on technical infrastructure.

Harmonisation with the law on enterprise: Securities companies and fund management companies after obtaining an operation license from the SSC shall apply for an enterprise registration certificate in accordance with the law on enterprise.

Foreign room applicable for securities companies, fund management companies is opened to 100 percent for foreign institutions operating in banking, securities, insurance industries and originated from countries signing bilateral agreement with SSC. For other foreign organisations and individuals, the room is set to 49 percent.

https://www.inhousecommunity.com/article/breakthroughs-vietnams-securities-market/

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LEGAL UPDATE – OCTOBER 2020 – Highlights on mechanism of coordination and streamline for establishment of companies under new Enterprise Law in Vietnam

Vol 1 Issue October 2020

 

Ha Thi Hai
Partner

Phan Van Huy
Assisting Lawyer

Decree No. 122/2020/ND-CP on the coordinating and streamlining of procedures for establishment registration of enterprises, branches and representative offices, initial declaration of labour usage, issuance of codes for units participating in social insurance, registration of invoices usage of enterprises is passed by the Government on October 15, 2020 (the “Decree 122”) with the following notable contents:

1.The mechanism for coordinating and streamlining provided in Decree 122

Decree 122 provides the mechanism for coordinating and streamlining of four procedures applicable to enterprises, branches, and representative offices upon their establishments, including (i) Establishment registration of enterprises, branches and representative offices; (ii) Initial declaration of labour usage; (iii) Issuance of codes for units participating in social insurance, and (iv) Registration of invoices usage with the Business Registration Office, which is the focal agency for dossier-receiving and result-delivering.

Thus, when implementing the mechanism for coordinating and streamlining, enterprises, branches, and representative offices shall no longer have to carry out the procedures of initial declaration of labour usage and registration of self-printed invoices usage, invoices printed on order usage. Also, Decree 122 regulates that enterprise codes, branch and representative office codes shall be used as codes for units participating in social insurance.

Although the mechanisms of Decree 122 are only applied when establishing enterprises, branches, and representative offices, it still helps to streamline some administrative procedures, improve the business environment, facilitate and promote start-up businesses.

2. The coordinated and streamlined dossiers specified in Decree 122

The coordinated and streamlined dossiers specified in Decree 122 comply with the Law on Enterprise and the Decree on enterprise registration, in which (i) The form of Application for enterprise registration specified in Appendix I-1, I-2, I-3, I-4 and I-5 and (ii) The form of Notice of branch/representative office operation registration specified in Appendix II-11 issued together with Decree 122 shall replace the corresponding forms in Appendix I-1 to I-5 and Appendix II-11 issued together with Circular No. 02/2019/TT-BKHDT.

Compared to the replaced forms, the new forms issued together with Decree 122 are basically supplemented with two more items: (i) Invoice usage registration (including options: Self-printed invoices, Invoices printed on order, E-invoices and Invoices purchased from tax authorities) and (ii) Information on social insurance premium payment (select one of payment methods: monthly, every 3 months, every 6 months).

Decree 122 came into effect on 15th October 2020.

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Vietnam: Remarkable changes in the new Law on Enterprises

October 27, 2020

By Trang Nguyen  – Associate | Attorney at Law

 

On June 17, 2020, the National Assembly officially passed a new Law on Enterprises (“New Law”) to replace the current Law on Enterprises. The New Law (effective from  January 1, 2021) is expected to make a breakthrough in improving the corporate governance, enhance the enterprise’s initiative and create favourable conditions for foreign-invested enterprises to operate in Vietnam.

Reduce business registration procedures

The New Law reducing a number of administrative procedures, including, among others, eliminating the procedure for reporting changes in the information of the enterprise’s manager and the procedure for notification of seal samples with the business registration office to post it publicly on National Business Registration Portal before using.

In addition, regarding the method of enterprise registration, apart from the direct registration method at the business registration authority, Article 26 of the New Law added two other registration methods, which are registration via postal service and registration through the electronic information network, with legal validity equivalent to a hard copy.

Supplemental provisions on the obligations of the legal representatives

The New Law requires the company’s charter to specify the quantity, managerial title and rights and obligations of each legal representative. In case the division of rights and obligations of each legal representative is not clearly specified in the charter, each legal representative of the enterprise will be considered a duly authorised representative of the enterprise before a third party and all the legal representatives are jointly liable for any damage caused to the enterprise in accordance with the laws.

Changing regulation on term of capital contribution with assets

The New Law introduces new regulation on the term for capital contribution with assets of members/ shareholders. In particular, the term for capital contribution of the members/ shareholders remain 90 days from the date of issuance of the Enterprise Registration Certificate, but for members/ shareholders contributing capital with assets, the time for transferring, importing assets contributed as capital, implementing administrative procedures to transfer the ownership of such assets will not be counted to ensure the feasibility of contributing capital with assets of such members/ shareholders.

Screenshot 2020-10-27 at 1.03.59 PM
Issuance of bonds

Under the New Law, limited liability companies and joint stock companies is allowed to issue bonds. Limited liability companies and joint stock companies that are not public companies shall carry out the procedures for a private offering of bonds according to the provisions of the New Law, while the private offering of bonds by public joint-stock companies, other organizations or the public offering of bonds will follow the law on securities. It is noted that only strategic investors and professional securities investors are entitled to buy, be transferred bonds via private placement.

Expanding rights and scope of shareholders

Rather than holding 10 percent or more of the total amount of ordinary shares for at least 06 consecutive months or a smaller percentage as stipulated in the charter, the New Law prescribed that a shareholder or group of shareholders will only need to own five percent or more of the total amount of ordinary shares or a smaller percentage as stipulated in the company’s charter without a minimum holding period to exercise their right of accessing information regarding the operation of the enterprise, except for documents related to trade secrets, business secrets.

However, the right to nominate members to the board of directors, board of supervisors still reserves for shareholders or groups of shareholders owning 10 percent or more of the total amount of ordinary shares, unless otherwise stipulated in the charter with a smaller ratio.

Non-voting depositary receipt

For the first time, the Non-Voting Depositary Receipt (NVDR) is recorded in the content of the enterprise law. It is considered one of the remarkable points of the New Law.

Essentially, NVDR enjoys same economic benefits and obligations as ordinary shares, with the exception of voting rights. It is expected that a subsidiary of the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange (HOSE) will be established and purchase these ordinary shares from  companies, then issue NVDR’s to sell to investors in need. Detailed regulations shall be specified in the guiding decrees.

NVDR’s are expected to attract more indirect investment from foreign investors into companies with limited foreign ownership, but still ensures the target of state management as the investors owning NVDR’s do not have voting rights, and shall therefore  not interfere in the operations of companies.

The New Law also reforms certain provisions on converting private enterprises into limited liability companies, joint stock companies, partnerships and converting household-businesses into enterprises, etc.

https://www.inhousecommunity.com/article/vietnam-remarkable-changes-new-law-enterprises/?idU=1

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The Law on Investment 2020

August 10, 2020

The current economic situation in Vietnam has revealed various disadvantages and loopholes in the legal framework, especially under the backbone law on investment. Though, the Law on Investment 2014 (LOI 2014) has been in effect for six years, new regulations are needed to create a more transparent, favourable and sustainable investment environment. On June 17, 2020, the National Assembly of Vietnam adopted the Law on Investment (LOI 2020), which will take effect from January 1, 2021 with the following salient changes:

List of prohibited and conditional business lines

Debt collection services has been added to the list of prohibited business lines as numerous service providers have abused this business activity to extort properties or to manipulate in the black lending market, causing public and security disorder.

For the list of conditional business lines, the LOI 2020 removes 22 business lines that are deemed to have no direct impact on national defence and security, social morality and public health, or which are already controlled by technical regulations and standards. Most popular businesses no longer belonging to the conditional list include franchising, logistics services, commercial arbitration, debt trading services, shipping agency service, medical equipment inspection service and aesthetic plastic surgery services. In contrast, it supplements a number of business activities to the list including insurance auxiliary activities, fishing vessel registry, architectural services, piping water supply service, data centre services, electronic identification and authentication services, provision of payment service without using customers’ payment accounts, among others.

Concretise market access commitment to foreign investors

Market access commitments are now specifically addressed under the LOI 2020. In particular, the government must officially issue a list of business lines not open to foreign investors or which imposed conditions. Accordingly, foreign investors who wish to engage in business lines limited to foreign investors shall meet the conditions of: (i) foreign ownership room, (ii) statutory investment forms, (iii) scope of investment activities; (iv) capacity of foreign investors and business partners participating in investment activities and other regulatory conditions. For all other business activities, foreign investors are equal with domestic investors in all respects. New regulations on detailed list limited to foreign investors under LOI 2020 may improve the transparency and feasibility in applying Vietnam’s market opening commitment under the next-generation FTAs.

Favourable mechanism for innovative start-ups

The definition of innovative start-up investment project is given as a project implementing ideas based on the exploitation of intellectual property, technology, new business models and rapid growth potential. Such projects are entitled to investment incentives. Foreign investors who set up medium- and small-sized innovative start-ups are not required to submit investment project nor obtain an Investment Registration Certificate for the purpose of setting up enterprises.

Deemed foreign investors

Previously, the threshold to consider a foreign-invested economic organisation (EO) as a foreign investor was 51 percent or more of charter capital of target company held by (a) foreign investors; or (b) EO which 51percent or more of its charter capital is owned by foreign investors; or (c) foreign investors and EO stated in (b) jointly. Consequently, such EO must satisfy the investment conditions and comply with investment procedures applicable to foreign investors when participating in incorporation of another EO or acquiring interest in an existing EO or investing in the form of BCC. The LOI 2020 deceases this threshold to 50 percent to comply with controlling ratio under newly adopted revised Law on Enterprise.

Cases where M&A approval is required

The LOI 2020 specifies instances where foreign investors must obtain M&A approval before acquiring an ownership interest in the target company as follows:

  1. an increase of foreign ownership in the target company engaging in business lines included in the lists set limited to foreign investors;
  2. an increase of foreign ownership in the target company from under 50 percent to exceeding 50 percent of the charter capital;
  3. an increase of foreign ownership in the target company which already exceeds 50 percent of the charter capital; or
  4. the target company is using land located at sea-islands, borderlands and coastal areas and other areas having an effect on national security and defence.

The change is expected to overcome ambiguity of the provisions on cases requiring M&A Approval under the LOI 2014.

Mechanism for selecting investors for implementing investment project

To ensure the uniformity and consistency of the legal system, the LOI 2020 clarifies principles, respective conditions applied for each method of selection of investors for implementing land-use project, including: (i) auction for land use rights; (ii) bid for investor selection; (iii) approval of investor.

https://www.inhousecommunity.com/article/law-investment-2020/

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Vietnam: Release of long-awaited guidance on Competition Law

July 10, 2020

The long-waited guidance on the Competition Law — the Decree 35/2020/ND-CP (Decree 35) — was issued on March 24, 2020 with effect from May 15, 2020, and casts light on certain prominent provisions of the Competition Law, such as economic concentration.

Under the Competition Law, economic concentration includes, among other things, acquisition of a company to the extent of controlling or dominating the acquired company or its business line. Decree 35 now further defines “controlling or dominating” as:

  • holding up to 50 percent voting right shares, or 50 percent total assets related to any or all business line, of acquired company; or
  • having right to, directly or indirectly, appoint or remove majority of member(s) or chairman of the board, or chief executive officer, or amend the charter, or decide critical issues, of acquired company.

Under Decree 35, the thresholds that trigger mandatory pre-merger notification include:

  • involved party’s total assets in the Vietnam market exceeding VND3,000 billion in the preceding fiscal year;
  • involved party’s total turnover exceeding VND3,000 billion in the preceding fiscal year;
  • the value of the transaction exceeding VND1,000 billion (not applicable in case of transaction outside the territory of Vietnam); or
  • combined market share exceeding 20 percent in preceding fiscal year.

These thresholds are more stringent for transactions involving credit institutions, securities or insurance companies, in particular:

  • involved parties’ total assets in the Vietnam market exceeding VND15,000 billion;
  • involved credit institutions’ total assets exceeding 20 percent of the whole credit institution system;
  • turnover of involved insurance companies exceeding VND10,000 billion, or of involved securities companies exceeding VND3,000 billion;
  • involved credit institutions’ turnover exceeding 20 percent of the whole credit institution system;
  • value of transaction involving credit institution exceeding VND3,000 billion or 20 percent of credit institution system’s total charter capital in the preceding fiscal year; or
  • the combined market share exceeding 20 percent in preceding fiscal year.

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After the 30 days upon the pre-merger notification filling, an economic concentration transaction may be implemented if it falls under either of below cases, among others:

  • the combined market share is below 20 percent;
  • the combined market share exceeds 20 percent but post-merger aggregate of square number of each involved parties’ market shares is less than 1,800;
  • the combined market share exceeds 20 percent, and post-merger aggregate of square number of each involved parties’ market shares exceeds 1,800, but the amplitude increase of the aggregate of square number of each involved parties’ market shares between pre-merger and post-merger is below 100; or
  • involved parties in relevant supply/manufacturing chain have 20 percent combined market share.

Otherwise, an economic concentration shall undergo an official review to determine whether it may cause significant competition-restraining impact and subsequently should be banned. The official review shall base on, among others, market share combination, threat to cause or reinforce market power, ability to increase ability for correlation or collusion, relationship between involved parties in the manufacturing and supply chain, competition advantage, ability to increase price or profit margin ratio.

In addition, Decree 35 also introduces various criteria in determining the significant competition-restraining impact on market of a cartel conduct, including, among others, development of market share of involved parties, barriers to market access or expansion, restriction on research, development and technological innovations, increase of costs and time for customers to purchase goods or services.

In respect of competition dispute settlement, Decree 35 gives further detail on requirements on evidence collection, usage and examination. Decree 35 further provides for procedure on implementing certain interim injunctions during competition investigation.

https://www.inhousecommunity.com/article/vietnam-release-long-awaited-guidance-competition-law/

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LEGAL UPDATE – JUNE 2020 – SUMMARY OF THE DRAFT DECREE ON CONTROLLED TESTING MECHANISM FOR FINANCIAL TECHNOLOGY ACTIVITIES (FINTECH) IN THE BANKING SECTOR

June 23, 2020

Recently, the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) issued a Decree on Controlled Testing Mechanism for Financial Technology Activities (Fintech) in the banking sector for public opinion. In the context of fast-growing financial technology entailing many potential risks, the draft decree can be considered as one of the first bricks, laying the foundations for building a regulatory framework for Fintech in Vietnam.

1. Definition of Controlled Testing Mechanism for Financial Technology Activities (Fintech)

According to the draft decree, the Fintech Testing Mechanism (hereinafter referred to as the Testing Mechanism) is a legal mechanism established by the Government that allows credit institutions, Fintech solution companies and innovative organization to directly conduct Fintech product and services testing in an environment that is strictly controlled and monitored by the relevant regulatory agencies.

2. Subjects and fields allowed to participate in the Testing Mechanism

Three group of subjects involved in Fintech activities in the banking sector are expected to be allowed to participate in the test include: credit institutions (credit institutions) as prescribed in the Law on Credit Institutions 2010; Fintech company/Fintech solution provider cooperating with banks; Fintech company/independent Fintech solution provider. Fintech fields participating in Fintech testing mechanism includes: payment; credit; peer-to-peer lending (P2P Lending); customer identification support; open application programming interface (Open API); innovative application technology solutions such as Blockchain; other services supporting banking activities (such as credit scoring, savings, capital mobilization, etc.).

To be approved to participate in the Fintech Testing Mechanism, the subjects must meet all the following criteria:

  • Being a solution that does not yet exist or is partially unregulated;
  • Being an innovative Fintech solution applied for the first time in Vietnam or a Fintech solution applied for a new, highly innovative service that contributes to the benefit of service users in Vietnam, especially solutions to support and promote the goal of expanding financial universalization;
  • Being a well-designed risk management solution that does not have or is likely to have a negative impact on financial institutions in particular and the financial system in general; have a plan to handle and overcome risks occurring during the testing process;
  • Being a solution that is implemented by Fintech companies/Fintech solution providers or credit institutions with appropriate and accurate assessment of functions, utilities and usefulness;
  • Being a feasible and commercial solution, with a plan to provide specific markets after the completion of the testing process;
  • Being a solution that contains no potential risk of destabilizing financial markets – banks in particular and the economy in general.

3. Scope of testing

The testing time for Fintech solutions is 1-2 years depending on the specific solutions and fields, counting from the time the Prime Minister approves the trial. Depending on the specific Fintech solutions, the SBV shall discuss with the testing organizations to decide the scope for the operation of the solutions, including at the same time or one of three factors: geography, transaction limit and number of customers participating in the service.

4. Registration for participation in the Testing Mechanism 

Credit institutions, Fintech companies/Fintech solution providers must carry out the registration when participating in the Testing Mechanism, the registration dossier includes: (1) Application for participation in Fintech Testing Mechanism; (2) Establishment license or incorporation registration certificate and not in the process of division, separation, consolidation, merger, conversion, dissolution or bankruptcy under an issued decision; (3) Written description of the organizational structure and executive management of the Fintech Solution registered for testing; (4) Scheme describing Fintech Solution.

The SBV is the focal point to receive, appraise dossiers, advise and submit to the Prime Minister for granting or withdrawal of certificates of participation in the Testing Mechanism.

5. Provisions on risk monitoring, reviewing and certifying test completion for organizations

At the end of the testing period, organizations participating in the test must develop a summary report, including information: test output, test evaluation of success or failure of the solution and test results; incident reports and customer complaints, handling and lessons learned from testing. The SBV shall base on the summary report and monitoring process to submit to the Prime Minister the next solution, including: ceasing the test, certifying the test completion or extending the test period. The issuance of the certificate of testing completion is the basis for organizations to officially deploy the solution to the market. At the same time, the results of service testing are also set the ground for state agencies to develop and complete suitable legal framework to each type of Fintech service and application.

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Highlights of successful deals recently consulted by bizconsult’s team

June 15, 2020

Bizconsult proudly highlights three of many successful deals that we have consulted recently:

  • “Advising a hotel owner to successfully negotiated and signed Hotel Management Agreement (HMA) and Technical Services Agreement (TSA) with Rosewood”
  • “Advising a 99% foreign invested company (Japan) to obtain M&A Approval and Trading License for engaging in office equipment leasing”
  • “Advising a local group Lotus Group to successfully negotiated and concluded a JV agreement with NIPPON SUISAN KAISHA, LTD (Japan)”

Bizconsult’s deal and contract team led by Partner Phong Le and mainly supported by Senior Associate Sang Huynh and Associate Tin Nguyen. We are delighted to have worked closely with our clients – providers in many key service sectors to successfully deliver these transactions despite the current challenging post-epidemic economic environment.