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Contributed by Frasers Law Company

Vietnam snapshot

Formal name: The Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

Population: 96 million (approximately).

Average annual population growth: 0.98%.

Political capital: Hanoi.

Major cities: Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Hai Phong, Da Nang, Can Tho.

Official language: Vietnamese (for business purposes English, French, Mandarin, Cantonese and Japanese are also spoken).

Currency: Vietnamese Dong (VND). VND 22,730.00 = approx. US$1 as at November 2017.

Per capita income: Approximately US$ 2,215.

Foreign investment: The accumulated capital of Vietnam`s foreign direct investment (FDI) is estimated at US$156.35 billion, equal to 52.6% of the total registered capital (US$297 billion), with South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, the British Virgin Islands and Hong Kong as the top investors.

Foreign invested projects in 2016 by sector: Manufacturing (67.81%), Art & Entertainment (15.78%), Gas, Electric & Water (4.44%), Wholesale, Retail & Repair (4.19%), Construction (2.17%), Transportation & Storage (0.98%), ICT (0.94%), Agriculture (0.94%), Real Estate (0.75%), Finance, Banking & Insurance (0.70%).

Top foreign investors for 2016: South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan (in terms of: (i) total number of licensed projects; (ii) total amount of licensed projects; and (iii) total of disbursed capital.

Main exports: Cashew, nuts, pepper, rice, coffee, tea, marine products, textiles, footwear, garments and other light manufactured goods, crude oil.

Main imports: Consumer goods, textiles, oil and gas products and other intermediate goods, capital goods including machinery and equipment.

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With one of the world’s fastest rates of economic growth, the Trump administration’s rejection of the Trans-Pacific Partnership has not put too much of a dampener on Vietnam’s economy, which is ‘one of the most dynamic emerging countries in East Asia’ according to the World Bank. Manufacturing remains a key sector – according to the Brookings Institution a tenth of the world’s smartphones are made in Vietnam – and local conglomerate Vingroup is in the process of creating a plant to build cars under the home-grown Vinfast brand. To fuel this industrialisation, much work in the country concerns energy developments and infrastructure projects.

Vietnam's popularity with tourists has had a knock-on effect in the construction industry, with new hotels being built in major cities and in coastal regions. Agriculture (Vietnam notably being a top exporter of rice and coffee) is a key part of the economy, but not a hefty generator of legal work. Oil and gas work exists too to a limited extent, although crude oil has fallen behind the likes of fruit and vegetables and smartphones to thirteenth in the list of exports.

Much international investment comes from South Korea and Japan with corporates from those countries having particular visibility in a variety of sectors. A number of US companies also have a key presence in the private sector.

Most law firms have a presence in both national capital Hanoi and economic powerhouse Ho Chi Minh City. A number of international firms, including global firms and regional firms from across the South East Asia region are present, with varying degrees of local law capability. Japanese and South Korean firms, in particular, are very focused on servicing clients from their homelands. Key local firms include YKVN and VILAF.

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  • The Law On Price by Dr. Nguyen Anh Tuan, LNT & Partners

    On 6/20/2012, the National Assembly voted to adopt the Law on Price (the "LOP") in response to the public demand for an effective legal framework to control price manipulation from dominant enterprises such as gasoline, electricity, etc. The law will take effect from 01/01/2013 and repeal Ordinance No. 40/2002/PL-UBTVQH10 dated 26/4/2002 of the National Assembly Standing Committee (the "Ordinance"), which is conceived as outdated and containing certain provisions contravening the WTO’s regulation. This article describes the main features of the law and provides some insight into its potential impacts on the Vietnamese economy.

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