LEGAL UPDATE AND CALL FOR COMMENTS – RECEIVED DRAFTS

NEW REGULATIONS AND POLICIES

1.Resolution 54/2017/QH14 to pilot special mechanisms for HCMC development
Effective date: 15 January 2018
Implementing bodies: Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) People’s Council
On the 24th of November 2018, the National Assembly approved Resolution 54/2017/QH14. The Resolution provides pilot special mechanisms in land, investment, finance and state budget management. It also stipulates an authorisation mechanism among government levels and payrolls of cadres and civil servants in the city. The Government will review the three-year implementation of the Resolution and report to the National Assembly at the end of 2020. It will also summarise the Resolution's implementation and improve the legal system covering the piloted mechanisms.
The Resolution appoints the HCMC People’s Council to decide the land use purpose transfer of rice farming areas measuring at least 10 hectares, in line with the rice farming area plan approved by the Government.
In investment management, the Council can decide investment policies for some projects under Group A, using the city budget according to the Public Investment Law.
In finance and state budget management, the Council proposes a special consumption and environmental protection tax hike for the Government to consider and submit to the Standing Committee to decide. The tax rate increase will not exceed 25% of current levels. The Council is eligible to collect fees which are not present in the fee list enclosed with the Law on Fees and Charges, increasing fee and charge levels which have been decided by authorised agencies in the list.
HCMC will retain 100% of the revenues from increased incomings from the adjustment of revenue policies. Until now, it had to divide revenue distribution between city and central budgets. Instead, this capital will now be invested in socio-economic infrastructure belonging to the City budget’s spending mission.
The City can get loans through issuing local government bonds, domestic financial institutions and other domestic organisations and loans obtained from abroad for re-lending. However, total outstanding loans will not exceed 90% of the budget revenue which the City can keep.
HCMC People’s Council will be entitled to arrange its budget to increase income for public servants and cadres according to their work efficiency. The maximum hike level will not exceed 1.8 times their wages. Income for experts, scientists and special talents will be stipulated by the City.
Other Resolutions, such as Resolution 10-NQ/TW on Developing the Private Sector to become an important driving force in the Socialist-oriented Market Economy; Resolution 11-NQ/TW on completion of Socialist-oriented Market Economy; and Directive 38/CT-TTg of the Prime Minister on the increase of implementation and effective exploitation of the valid free trade agreements, can be provided in English at special request.

2.New Law on Fisheries
Effective date: 1 January 2019
Implementing Ministry: Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD)
The Law on Fisheries, approved by the National Assembly on the 21st of November 2017, sets out a host of regulations on quality management in an apparent move to ensure the safety of fishery products for domestic and foreign markets.
Based on the principles of the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982, the Port State Measures Agreement of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and other international rules, the revised Law deals with Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing. The revision has new features to strengthen the IUU fishing fight and help Vietnam to win the removal of the yellow card given to it by the European Union.
Under the revision, IUU fishing will result in heavy fines. Fishing boat owners and captains will be given the highest fines of VND 1 billion (USD 43,900) for violations, or a fine seven times higher than the value of the illegal catch. Meanwhile, the organisations involved in IUU fishing will be fined VND 2 billion. On top of this, violators’ fishing licences will be revoked will be revoked.[1]

There must be strict compliance with the conditions for non-re-issuance of fishing licences to organisations and individuals that have fishing vessels on the list of IUU fishing vessels with no cruise-control equipment for fishing vessels of at least 15 meters in length, of which a vessel of 24 meters or more must have automatic route tracking.[2]
The Law on Fisheries also stipulates that the captain of the fishing vessel is responsible for arriving at the port designated by MARD. It also includes provisions on general inspection, control and supervision in the chapters on fishing-vessel management, and management and enforcement capacity for the fishery inspection force and related legal regulations. In addition the obligations of the fishing port management organisations is set. The head of the fishery port management must collect statistics of the fishery output through the port, confirm product origin and collect reports on exploitation of the vessels coming to the port. These are combined and reported to the competent authorities on a regular or extraordinary basis under the guidance of MARD. The management of fishery products originating from illegal exploitation as they are temporarily imported and re-exported, temporarily exported and re-imported or transited through Vietnamese territory, is also regulated. There are also provided measures to handle acts of using stateless or non-national fishing vessels of a non-member country for illegal exploitation of aquatic resources in international waters under the supervision of fishery-management organisations.

3.Citizens of 46 countries are granted E-visas in Vietnam
Effective date: 29 November 2017
Implementing Ministry: Ministry of Public Security
The Government has adopted Resolution No. 124/NQ-CP dated 29 November 2017, supplementing the list of countries whose citizens are granted pilot e-visas for Vietnam.
Pursuant to this Resolution, there will be 6 additional countries whose citizens are granted a pilot E-visa as referred to in paragraph 1, Article 9 of Decree No. 07/2017/NĐ-CP including: Australia, United Arab Emirates, Canada, India, the Netherlands and New Zealand.
The full Resolution is attached.

4.Preferential tariff schedule of 2018
Effective date: 1 January 2018
Implementing Ministry: Ministry of Finance 
The Government has just adopted Decree No. 125/2017/ND-CP dated 16 November 2017, amending Decree No. 122/2016/ND-CP regarding the preferential tariff, HS tariff schedule of goods, absolute tariff rates, mixed tariff and out-of-quota tariff rates.
The Decree includes the following key content: 

  • Promulgate the preferential tariff relative to the list of dutiable goods, HS tariff schedule of goods, absolute tariff rates, mixed tariff and out-of-quota tariff rates.
  • The 0% rate of preferential tariff levied on imported vehicle components will be applied from 16 November 2017 to 31 December 2022. 
  • Used vehicles with a seating capacity of 10 to 15 passengers (including the driver’s seat) will be taxed at the mixed tariff rates specified in Appendix III, instead of the absolute tariff rates currently in force. 
The full Decree is attached

5.Conditions for chemicals industry trade
Effective date: 25 November 2018
Implementing Ministry: Ministry of Industry and Trade
Decree No. 113/2017/ND-CP provides guidelines for the Law on Chemicals and sets conditions for the trading of chemicals in industry. In particular, the Decree states that:

  • The chemical trader is the enterprise, cooperative or household business which is established in accordance with regulations of the Law and has registered its chemical business;
  • The chemical trader’s facilities satisfy the production requirements specified in Article 12 of the Law on Chemicals; Article 4; Clause 2, Article 5; and Clauses 1 and 2, Article 6 of the Decree;
  • The location and area of warehouses satisfy national technical regulations and standards;
  • Stores or business premises satisfy requirements for chemical and fire safety;
  • Chemical containers and packages ensure quality and environmental safety; vehicles for transporting chemicals comply with regulations of the Law;
  • The warehouses or contracts for leasing or using warehouses of the chemical buyer or seller satisfy requirements for chemical and fire safety;
  • The person in charge of chemical safety at business premises has an intermediate school’s degree in chemicals or a higher degree; and
  • The individuals mentioned in Article 32 of this Decree are provided with training in chemical safety.

The full Decree is attached 

6.Regulations on electronically submitting an explanation of demand for the employment of foreign workers
Effective date: 2 October 2017
Implementing Ministry: Ministry of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs
According to Circular No. 23/2017/TT-BLDTBXH providing guidance on electronic issuance of a work permit to foreign workers in Vietnam, the employer must submit online the declaration and explanation of his or her demand for employment of foreign workers at least 20 days before the planned date of employment.
Presently, the submission of this declaration and explanation must be completed 30 days before the planned date of employment, in accordance with regulations in Circular No. 40/2016/TT-BLDTBXH dated 25 October 2016.
Thus, the employer is required to complete and submit electronically the explanation of his or her demand for the employment of foreign workers in a time limit shorter than that for the submission of a paper explanation.  
The full Circular is attached 

[1] “Government and exporters team up to tackle IUU fishing”, Vietnam Law Magazine, November, 2017. Available at:
<http://vietnamlawmagazine.vn/government-and-exporters-team-up-to-tackle-... accessed on 12 December 2017.
[2] Fisheries law: The fishing vessel must have a quota”, Tienphong News, November, 2017. Available at:
DRAFT LEGISLATION FOR COMMENT
All interested Business Associations, Sector Committees and Members can send their comments before the indicated deadline to EuroCham’s Advocacy team at: advocacy@eurochamvn.org and seccoms@eurochamvn.org
Please kindly download complementary information on the below drafts here.

1. ON: Draft Circular promulgating the list of HS codes of the specialised list under the management of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development
AUTHORITY/DEPARTMENT: Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development
DATE RECEIVED: 5 December 2017
DEADLINE FOR COMMENTS: N/A

2. ON: Draft Law amending and supplementing a number of articles of Law on environmental protection tax
AUTHORITY/DEPARTMENT: Ministry of Finance
DATE RECEIVED: 4 December 2017
DEADLINE FOR COMMENTS: N/A

3. ON: Draft Circular amending and supplementing Circular No. 110/2015/TT-BTC on electronic tax transactions
AUTHORITY/DEPARTMENT: Ministry of Finance 
DATE RECEIVED: 4 December 2017
DEADLINE FOR COMMENTS: 12 December 2017

 

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