Vietnam laws

Vietnam commercial law, New law promotes arbitration to solve commercial disputes The Law on Commercial Arbitration Law recently passed by the National Assembly will provide an important legal foundation for businesses to minimise the risks of disputes, said the head of the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry's legal department, Tran Huu Huynh.

Speaking at a conference in Ha Noi yesterday held to review the provisions of the new law, Huynh said few enterprises in Viet Nam have yet paid much attention to arbitration, continuing to prefer to take their disputes to court rather than employ commercial arbitrators.

He added that the settlement of disputes by arbitration was fast, effective and confidential, and the arbitration of disputes would help ease the burden on the nation's court system. Statistics from the Viet Nam International Arbitration Centre have shown that the Ha Noi People's Court handled 300 economic disputes in 2009, while those in HCM City had a docket of around 1,000. Meanwhile, the centre last year handled only 58 petitions for arbitration from businesses.

"Every judge in Ha Noi and HCM City's economic courts yearly handles from 30 to 50 disputes while the average arbitrator handles only one," said Viet Nam Law Association chairman Pham Quoc Anh.

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  [Vietnam company law - phuoc-partners - 280] The nation currently has a total of seven arbitration centres, but arbitration has not been popular in Viet Nam due to a lack of a proper legal framework in the 2003 Ordinance on Commercial Arbitration.

"The law has improved shortcomings in the ordinance such as removing limitations on the application of arbitration to commercial disputes," Anh said. "Commercial disputes, meanwhile, are increasing rapidly, requiring quick and efficient forms of settlement."

The new law, which would take effect next January 1, would also create an equal legal footing for both Vietnamese and foreign enterprises, said the vice chairman of the National Assembly's Justice Committee, Pham Quy Ty.

Retailers said public relations campaigns should be conducted to raise awareness among enterprises of the advantages of arbitration, said Dinh Thi My Loan, secretary general and standing vice chairman of the Association of Viet Nam Retailers.   The director of a leading coffee export company has warned that when foreign groups can control the material growing areas, they would be able to control the coffee industry.

He affirmed that the enterprises would not pay high for materials for ever. Once they can control the whole material area and eliminate domestic firms out of the market, they would lower the purchase prices.

“This happened in some countries in the world already. If the government does not do anything to stop this, the scenario would occur in Vietnam as well,” he said.

Dr. Hoang Tho Xuan, a trade expert, affirmed that under the trade treaties Vietnam signs with other countries, foreign invested enterprises have the right to collect goods for export and distribute domestically through Vietnamese enterprises, not directly from producers.

“Therefore, we have every reason to prevent foreign enterprises from making transactions directly with farmers,” Xuan said.


Three banks to get bonds for bad-debt swap

The Viet Nam Asset Management Company (VAMC) will issue bonds worth VND792.66 billion (US$36.03 million) to buy bad debts from SHB, SCB and GPBank, according to a report from the State Bank of Viet Nam.

SBV said SHB would receive bonds worth VND74.65 billion ($3.39 million), GPBank would get VND170.08 billion ($7.73 million) and SCB, VND547.93 billion ($24.9 million). There will be no interest on the five-year bonds, which came into effect on October 16.

Starting this month, VAMC signed contracts to buy bad debts from Agribank, PGBank, SCB, SHB and SouthernBank.

Last week, SCB signed a contract to sell VND1.3 trillion ($59.09 million) of bad debt to VAMC, bringing the total bad debt it sold to about VND1.8 trillion ($81.818 million) and helping to decrease the bank's non-performing loan ratio to less than 3 per cent.

HCM City firms in line for short-term SBV loans

About VND17 trillion (US$805.6 million) is expected to be lent to businesses, including family-run, under the bank-business connectivity prog-ramme by year-end, a State Bank of Viet Nam official said.

Nguyen Hong Minh, deputy director of the central bank's HCM City branch, said under the programme, launched in 2007 by SBV and the city's districts, eligible borrowers can get short-term loans at interest rates of not more than 9 per cent.

All 24 districts are part of the programme, and so far 600 firms and household businesses have borrowed a total of VND13 trillion in six years but VND17 trillion in the next three months, Minh said.

The programme is expected to help city-based banks increase their credit growth by 2-3 per cent, enabling them to achieve the yearly target of 11-12 per cent.

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Last Thursday alone, 60 borrowers in Districts 1 and 3 inked loan deals worth over VND3.12 trillion ($141.818 million) with 13 banks.

They are mainly involved in agriculture and rural development, exports, support industry, and technology and are small- and medium-sized businesses

Security application reaches 1m mobiles

Viet Nam's leading internet security firm BKAV yesterday said it had attracted one million users to its security application on mobile devices.

The company, better known for it BKAV anti-virus software product which accounts for 70 per cent of the local internet security market, said the figure was based on the number of downloads on Android's Google Play only, not including iOS, Windows Phone, BlackBerry or Symbian handsets. "Among the 1 million users of our BKAV Mobile Security app, about 14 per cent were downloaded from abroad," said BKAV's vice chairman of R&D Ngoc Son.

Son said that last month, BKAV had signed an agreement with Index Corporation, one of the leading mobile content providers in Japan, to distribute BKAV Mobile Security worldwide.

The Ha Noi-based firm previously also teamed up with Japanese electronics giant Sony to integrate its mobile security app in Sony Xperia mobile phones.

BKAV in August warned Vietnamese mobile users that they should care more about protecting data and accounts on their smartphones as most users purchase, sell, lend or borrow smartphones, but still keep