New section: Legal updates by Dr. Oliver Massmann

Our long-standing GBA board member Dr. Oliver Massmann, Partner at Duane Morris Vietnam LCC, is sharing the most relevant legal updates of each month with you. Dr. Oliver Massmann is an International Attorney at Law and a Financial Accountant and Auditor, with over 20 years of experience working as a commercial lawyer in Vietnam.

Dr. Massmann is volunteering as a legal advisor for the GBA from the beginning of the association. Our regards and thank you!


1. Draft circular aims to facilitate civil status registration:

  • Civil status information would be connected and shared among the electronic civil status database and national databases on population and insurance and databases of ministries, sectors and localities.
  • Such a proposal is made in the Ministry of Justice’s draft circular. Accordingly, the national database on population would provide personal data and information on parents, spouses or legal representatives of individuals born before January 1, 2016, for civil status registration and management agencies to exploit citizen information, conduct civil status registration or review, compare and standardize civil status registration data on the electronic civil status database.
  • If there are any inconsistencies, police forces would coordinate with civil status registration and management agencies in checking information, identifying and updating accurate information on the national database on the population before data are standardized on the electronic civil status database.


2. Legal documents for UKVFTA implementation to be released

  • The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) will finalise and issue a number of legal documents needed for the implementation of the UK-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (UKVFTA) in 2021.
  • The ministry will build particular market development programs for Vietnamese products with strength and potential for export to the UK.
  • The ministry will continue increasing online trade promotions, which have been applied effectively for the realization of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA).
  • Training courses will be organized and publications released introducing and analyzing the deal.
  • At the same time, the MoIT will deal with all matters arising during the implementation of the deal, according to the plan.


3. Many banks adjust the foreign ownership ratio

  • Decree 155/2020/ND-CP guiding the Law on Securities which took effect from the beginning of 2021 stipulates that public companies operating in the business lines which are on the list of business lines for which foreign investment is restricted are allowed to self-decide the maximum foreign ownership room at the levels lower than the specified ceiling.
  • The room must be approved by the general meeting of shareholders and regulated in the company’s charter. For banks, the room shall not exceed 30%.
  • Information from the HCM City Stock Exchange (HoSE) mentioned that Vietnam Technological and Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Techcombank, TCB) said that the bank will lock its foreign ownership room at 22.49%. For HCM City Development Commercial Joint Stock Bank (HDBank), by the end of 2020, the bank lowered its foreign ownership room from 30 percent to 21.5 percent to serve the cooperation plan with foreign strategic partners in the near future.
  • In fact, experts said that the opening of foreign ownership rooms will attract foreign capital, but not all of the foreign investors have a long-term vision. Short-term investors are only interested in making profits from buying and selling transactions
  • Therefore, banks are making moves to adjust room for foreign investors, waiting for opportunities after the epidemic to attract more capital to meet international standards.


4. Government enacts new policies on construction investment project management

  • This is provided in a recently issued decree, coded 15/2021/ND-CP, detailing a number of provisions of the Construction Law regarding management of construction investment projects. From March 3, owners of construction investment projects must work out technical and managerial solutions for ensuring efficient energy use, resource conservation and environmental protection.
  • The Decree goes on to say that the State encourages the construction, development, evaluation and certification of energy-efficient, resource-saving and green works.
  • Application of foreign standards.
  • Selection of project management modes.
  • Capacity requirements applicable to project management units, project owners and construction practitioners.
  • Decree 15 replaces Decree 59 of 2015 and Decree 42 of 2017 on management of construction investment projects, and a number of articles of Decree 100 of 2018 on business investment conditions in the fields under the state management of the Ministry of Construction. Regulations of the Government, ministries, ministerial-level agencies and localities which are contrary to Decree 15 were all annulled.