Vietnam law

Vietnam law / Vietnam to revise laws to cope with runaway foreign investors.

Panelists are seen at a seminar on foreign direct investment (FDI) attraction in HCMC last week

– Vietnam will revamp the Investment and Enterprise laws to make them more liberal for honest investors but tougher for those either failing to fulfill their investment commitments on schedule or leaving behind their poor business operations without prior notice.

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Quach Ngoc Tuan, deputy head of the Legal Department of the Ministry of Planning and Investment, told a seminar on foreign direct investment (FDI) attraction in HCMC last week that the Investment Law would be amended in a way that would include tough sanctions against runaway investors.

For fear that a legal basis is absent and that certain FDI investors might file legal action at a foreign court in case Vietnamese authorities take back their investment licenses, the Ministry of Planning and Investment has long got stuck in tackling the projects whose investors are nowhere to be found.

Statistics of the ministry show there are hundreds of FDI projects in which their investors could not be found at the registered addresses, might have fled the country, or could not have been contacted.

According to the ministry, those projects might have been unprofitable, and thus unable to pay debts, wages or taxes. There are a couple of projects whose investors had run away after they raised funds from partners here.

This chronic issue is ascribable to the complicated and time-consuming procedures for business dissolution and liquidation. The consequences are workers are unpaid, local partners lose money and the State loses tax revenues.

The Investment Law will be revised in a way that makes foreign investors more responsible for delays in their project implementation, thus ensuring land and other natural resources can be put into full use and public confidence in FDI projects can be maintained.

Speaking at the seminar, Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Van Trung said the Government’s Resolution 103/NQ-CP provides a variety of vital measures for improving the attraction of FDI capital and the efficiency of FDI activity.

The measures include improving the legal framework for FDI, changing the FDI incentive policy, building a mechanism for channeling FDI into supporting industries and high-tech parks, completing regulations on environmental protection, and strengthening foreign exchange, credit and land policies.

The country will be further streamlining investment appraisal, approval and licensing procedures to allow investors to put their projects into operation as soon as possible, Trung told the seminar, which was held by the ministry in coordination with a number of organizations.

Vietnam lacks specialized IPs

The country now has around 300 industrial parks but a majority of them are designed for a variety of sectors, thereby leading to the lack of an investment focus, said Professor Nguyen Mai.

Haiphong and Ba R

The Saigon Times Daily: What is the inherent purpose of the marriage?

Chau Huy Quang: With this integration, LCT Lawyers will now be better placed to serve our clients since R&T has one of the most expansive networks in Southeast Asia while at LCT Lawyers, we operate in three of the largest cities in Vietnam: HCMC, Hanoi and Danang.

This merger will allow us to provide our clients in the ASEAN region, plus China and Japan, with a one-stop shop for their legal needs and to expand our services to these jurisdictions.

Why is Vietnam a strategic place for foreign firms to expand?

Vietnam is an exciting destination to be and as one of the fastest growing emerging markets, the country continues to garner a lot of interest from the international business community.

Foreign investment into Vietnam has been consistent at around US$10 to 12 billion per year over the last five years and across a wide range of industries.

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Is this merger a timely decision or a long-time project achievement?

In view of Vietnam’s ongoing transition into a market-based economy and notably, its imminent membership to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and its position as a member of the World Trade Organization, I believe our merger is not only timely, but necessary to meet the growing demands of our clients.

Which concrete direct impacts will this merger have on your services?

Being part of Rajah & Tann in Asia will give us the brand recognition as one of Asia’s biggest law firms. We can now also look forward to serving our clients’ needs outside of Vietnam.

Could you please elaborate on the benefits for both sides in the tie-up?

Under the integration, Vietnamese lawyers will have access to quality legal assistance from Rajah & Tann group, which already boasts a strong pool of experience in legal and consulting services in the region, while LCT’s expertise of the domestic legal landscape will bolster Rajah & Tann’s capacity to serve its clients in Vietnam.

The merger is a win-win scenario. My counterpart colleague, Mr. Lee Eng Beng SC as Rajah & Tann’s managing partner, has stressed that this tie-up will enable us to keep pace with its clients’ regional ambitions, while on the other hand,

wherever LCT Lawyers goes in the region, R&T is in a good position to assist both Vietnamese clients and foreign investors through the legal challenges posed by cross-border transactions and business operations.

What kind of ambitions can you reasonably pursue by this new collaboration?

With the merger, our firm can pursue wider regional ambitions, as Rajah & Tann LCT Lawyers will now be part of a network of offices in China and situated in eight out of the ten ASEAN countries,

namely Singapore, Laos, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia and Myanmar, in addition to its current locations in three major cities in Vietnam.

What are the key services that your law firm offers to customers?

- The professionals in our law firms offer different spheres of expertise and therefore, are able to provide a broad spectrum of services to our clients. I myself as an arbitrator at the Vietnam International Arbitration Centre will head the domestic and international dispute settlement group,

in addition to legal consultancy in areas of construction-infrastructure, commerce, foreign investment and shipping. The firm’s corporate, regulatory and M&A practices will be led by Vu Thi Que, who is conversant in Mandarin and Japanese in addition to Vietnamese and English.

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