1. Technology transfer

 The scope of technology transfer is quite broad. Technology to be the transfer must not fall within the lists technologies of which transfer is restricted or prohibited as stipulated in Appendices 2 and 3 of Decree 120/2014/NĐ-CP. Technology objects which shall be eligible for transfer shall be a part or the whole of the following technologies:

  • Technical know-how;
  • Technical information about technology shall be permitted to be transferred in the form of the technological plans, technological processes, technical solutions, formulae, technical specifications, drawings, technical maps, computer programs and information files;
  • Solutions for production optimization and for renovation of technology; and

Technology objects shall be permitted to transferred whether attached or unattached to industrial property objects.

2. Holding company stakes

Foreign investors irrespective of individual or institutional ones, may hold or acquire, in theory, up to 100% stake in all types of local companies, except for some special cases where the investment is made in specific business sectors (e.g. banking) or in public companies operating in a sector where business is conditional for foreign investors and detailed provisions on foreign ownership are not yet available (up to 49%), or the listed or public company’s charter limits foreign ownership and the State Securities Commission of Vietnam (“SSC”) has been reported thereon. The current laws recognize and treat the foreign-invested companies (which have member(s) or shareholder(s) being foreign entities) with foreign stakes of less than 51% of the charter capital similar to entirely Vietnamese-invested companies.

The Law on Enterprises and the Law on Investment, both dated 26 November 2014 and effective from 1 July 2015, constitute the principal legal base for foreigners to buy stakes or shares of local enterprises. This right is further detailed in a number of implementing regulations, including Decree No.96/2015/NĐ-CP, dated 19 October 2015; Circular No.131/2010/TT-BTC dated 6 September 2010 guiding the Regulation on capital contribution to or purchase of shares by foreign investors in Vietnamese enterprises (“Circular 131”); Circular No.19/2014/TT-NHNN dated 11 August 2014 of the State Bank of Vietnam providing guidelines on the foreign exchange control for foreign direct investments in Vietnam (“Circular 19”); v.v. Covering all service sectors and as a supplementation to the national laws and regulations as mentioned above, is the commitments of Vietnam when accession to the WTO, which is particularly reflected in the specific service commitments, which was effective from 11 January 2007.

3. Foreign contract

 Foreigners can take part in biddings for doing projects and other business undertakings in Vietnam. However, it is quite confused for them to do business in Vietnam because of the absence of general regulations on this matter.

To become a foreign construction contractor or sub-contractor in Vietnam, an applicant must satisfy the following criteria:

  • Having posted information on the website of the MOC and provincial-level Department of Construction (“DOC”) in charge;
  • Having won biddings or having been selected by the owner for contracting and having full capability suitable to contracted works according to Vietnamese laws on construction if bidding packages not subject to Vietnamese laws on tendering; and
  • Setting up a partnership with a Vietnamese contractor or employing Vietnamese sub-contractors, unless the Vietnamese contractor is not qualified to execute any tasks of the bidding package.

4. Processing activities

Foreigners can hire local companies and foreign-invested companies for processing of goods of all kinds, except for goods on the lists of goods the import and export of which is prohibited or temporarily suspended. With respect to goods on the lists of goods the import and export of which is subject to issuance of a permit, business entities may only enter into processing contracts after they have been issued with a permit by the MMOIT. The processing contract must be in writing or in another form with equivalent legal validity in accordance with the Commercial Law and must minimally include certain prescribed terms.

 Foreign principals are entitled to receive and remit abroad finished products, surplus input materials and leased equipment. To supervise the local processing activities and guide on technical issues, foreign experts can be seconded to Vietnam by foreign principals.

5. Industrial zones (“IZ”), economic zone (“EZ”), high-tech zone (“HTZ”) and export processing zones (“EPZ)

Under the EPZs, IZs, EZs and HTZs are not typical vehicles for foreign investment, however, the EPZs and IZs play an important role in attracting foreign investment in Vietnam. That is why they are described herein. The purpose of EPZs and IZs is to provide an efficient and single base for manufacturing, processing and assembling products (for export only in the case of EPZs). Foreign capital projects are encouraged to locate in the zones by the assurance of modern infrastructure, such as good transportation and utility services, as well as the availability of necessary services.

In principle, an investment in development of an EPZ, IZ, EZ or HTZ must follow the same procedures and be governing by the same regulations as applicable to foreign investment in the zones as well as in rest of the country. To attract more investments in infrastructures, a number of preferential treatments and/or incentives are provided to foreigners who invest in developing EPZs and IZs, among them the easier licensing, longer duration and tax incentives.

6. Land matter

 All lands in Vietnam are owned by people and the State, representative of the people, has the sole authority to administer it. Any use of land is evidenced by a certificate of the land use rights, ownership of house and other assets attached to land.

Foreign-invested companies (including 100% foreign-owned enterprises; joint venture enterprises; Vietnamese enterprises which foreign investors purchase shares/ capital contribution portions in or merge with or acquire in accordance with the laws on investment), can obtain the land use rights through leasing with collection of annual rent or with one-off payment of land rental for the entire lease term (frequently in the case of 100% foreign-owned enterprises), allocating with collection of land use fee (only applicable to projects on investment in construction of residential housing for sale or lease out or hire-purchase), acquiring it from the contributions by the local partners in the case of joint venture companies, or being assigned investment capital which is value of land use rights. In all cases, a decision on leasing or allocating land from relevant state agency together with a land lease agreement signed between relevant state agency and the foreign investment enterprises in case of land lease, are compulsory for the certificate of the land use rights.

7. Resolution of commercial Disputes

Vietnamese laws emphasis the needs for parties to attempt to settle their disputes by conciliation and mediation. In practice, both the foreign and local parties are encouraged to seek the assistance of a third party (mediator or conciliator) to find out an amicable solution to any conflict.

If any attempts for conciliation and mediation are not effective, the parties in various circumstances refer the matters to various arbitral bodies, inside and outside Vietnam, they include:

  • Commercial arbitration: Vietnamese arbitration or foreign arbitration, with arbitration place located inside or outside Vietnam; and
  • Economic court: Civil court and administrative handling court directly under district-level People’s Court and Civil court, administrative court, economic court and labor court directly under provincial-level People’s Court.


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