Simplifying Administrative Procedures

By Tran Thi Cam Giang*

Contributing to the Government's goal of simplifying administrative procedure, two recent decrees serve to clean out some of the administrative clutter in the areas of competition and commercial law. On 16 December 2011 the Vietnam Government issued Decree No. 119/2011/ND-CP ("Decree 119") relating to the administrative procedures provided in the implementation of the Competition Law and Decree No. 120/2011/ND-CP ("Decree 120") relating to administrative procedures provided in the Commercial Law.

In the area of competition law Decree 119 simplifies the submission of dossiers to the competent authorities. Dossiers for notification of economic concentration, explanatory reports of parties in respect of agreements on restraint of competition or economic concentration and complaints may be submitted electronically in the form of copies (scanned copies of the originals or text files) with the lawful electronic signatures of the legal representatives of the applicants.

Regarding reports on the satisfaction of criteria for entitlement to exemption from prohibited agreements in restraint of competition and from prohibited economic concentration, before Decree 119 specific explanatory reports (manifested in the form of feasibility studies reports), were to be prepared and evaluated by the science and technology organizations or R&D organizations. Now under Decree 119, such specific explanatory reports are to be prepared by the enterprises themselves. However, it remains unsure whether this is an enterprise-friendly improvement. The reason is that when a specific explanatory report is filed at the competition administration body, if deemed necessary this body may still consult opinion from the science and technology organizations or R&D organizations. These organizations no longer prepare the report but, with this way of consultation, eventually have the authority to opine on, or evaluate, the appropriateness of the reports.

Decree 120 addresses two areas of confusion in the Commercial Law: franchising and the establishment of non-subsidiary offices of foreign enterprises.

According to Decree 120 the registration of franchising activities in respect of domestic franchises and international franchises originating in Vietnam is no longer required, but franchisors must still make a report to the local Department of Industry and Trade.

In regards to the administrative procedures for registration of commodities exchanges and the establishment of representative offices or branches of foreign companies in Vietnam, Decree 120 clarifies the requirements for copies of required documents as follows:

   (i)   Copies shall be certified true copies (for application dossiers lodged via the post, official administrative letters);

   (ii)    Copies shall be accompanied by originals for reference (for application dossiers lodged directly);

   (iii)  Copies shall be scanned copies of the originals (for application dossiers lodged via electronic network, if  applicable).

Decree 119 and Decree 120 come into force on 1 February 2012.

(*) Please contact the authors at or our partners if you wish to have more information or specific advice for the topic of this article.

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