I. LAW ON PREVENTION AND CONTROL OF HARMFUL EFFECTS OF ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES 2019
Prohibition on consuming alcohol beverages before and while driving
The frequent and abundant consumption of alcohol beverages in Vietnam is at an alarming rate, the harmful effects to the people’s health as well as the whole society caused by the consumption of alcoholic beverages is becoming more and more serious. This is a major obstacle to Vietnam’s sustainable development, this burden will increase without the timely adjustment of legal policies. Therefore, on 14 June 2019, the National Assembly has passed the Law on Prevention and Control of Harmful Effects of Alcoholic Beverages No. 44/2019/QH14 (“Law on Prevention and Control of Harmful Effects of Alcoholic Beverages 2019”), taking effect as of 01/01/2020.
Accordingly, the Law on Prevention and Control of Harmful Effects of Alcoholic Beverages 2019 prescribes various measures geared toward reducing alcoholic beverages consumption; measures to manage the supply of alcoholic beverages; measures to reduce harmful effects of alcoholic beverages; conditions for facilitating prevention and control of harmful effects of alcoholic beverages; state administration and responsibilities of organizations and individuals for prevention and control of harmful effects of alcoholic beverages.
The Law on Prevention and Control of Harmful Effects of Alcoholic Beverages 2019 prohibits opening new on-premise alcoholic beverage vendors within 100 meters from health facilities, nurseries, kindergartens and general education facilities. This Law also prescribes places where alcoholic beverages consumption is not allowed, such as: health facilities; educational institutions during teaching, learning and working hours; rehabilitation centers; social protection centers; workplaces of state authorities, political organizations, etc.
In addition, this Law specifically prohibits acts of: inciting, persuading and forcing others to consume alcoholic beverages; consumption of alcoholic beverages by persons under 18 years of age; selling, supplying and offering discounts on alcoholic beverages to persons under 18 years of age; running sales promotions of alcoholic beverages having at least 15% alcohol by volume (ABV); using alcoholic beverages having at least 15% ABV to run sales promotions under any circumstances; advertising spirits having at least 15% ABV; providing inaccurate and misleading information about effects of alcoholic beverages on health; especially, driving while alcohol is found in breath or blood; v.v.
The Law on Prevention and Control of Harmful Effects of Alcoholic Beverages is aimed at reducing the negative effects of alcoholic beverages on health, society and economy through measures to reduce alcoholic beverages consumption; strictly control the supply and limit the availability of alcohol. Thereby, it helps protect and improve human health in order to guarantee economic – social development.
II. LAW ON EXECUTION OF CRIMINAL JUDGEMENTS 2019
The new Law on Execution of Criminal Judgements takes effect as of 01 January 2020
Law on Execution of Criminal Judgements No. 41/2019/QH14 (“Law on Execution of Criminal Judgements 2019”) has been passed by the National Assembly on 14 June 2019, and takes effect as of 01 January 2020, replacing the Law on Execution of Criminal Judgements No. 53/2010/QH12 (“Law on Execution of Criminal Judgements 2010”).
In comparison to the Law on Execution of Criminal Judgements 2010, the Law on Execution of Criminal Judgements 2019 provides many new contents on the scope of regulation, parole, execution of death sentence, execution of judicial measures against corporate legal entity, and supplements rights and obligations of inmates serving sentences, etc. Especially, the notable point is the regulations on the incarceration, education and rehabilitation of inmates. Thereby, displaying profound humanism in ensuring inmates’ rights and interests, protecting human rights, civil rights under the spirit of the 2013 Constitution.
Accordingly, the new Law has supplemented two (02) subjects that are allowed to be separately incarcerated, namely: inmates with children under 36 months of age residing with their mothers in prison and inmates who are LGBT or whose gender is unidentified. Previously, the Law on Execution of Criminal Judgements 2010 only provided for six (6) subjects to be incarcerated separately, being: female inmates; inmates under 18 years of age, foreign inmates, etc.
For inmates, labor is a mandatory obligation and an important aspect in educating and rehabilitating inmates. To improve the effectiveness of this work, the Law on Execution of Criminal Judgements 2019 allows cooperation with organizations and individuals to organize work for inmates. The superintendent shall prepare an annual work organization plan for the inmates and submit it to the criminal judgment execution management agency of the Ministry of Public Security, the Ministry of National Defense for approval.
In addition, to conform with the regulations of the Criminal Code 2015 on corporate legal entity, judgment execution for corporate legal entities is another new regulation under the Law on Execution of Criminal Judgements 2019. Accordingly, this Law prescribes agencies which are assigned certain tasks of criminal judgment execution; decisions, procedures, dossiers of judgment execution; rights, obligations of sentenced corporate legal entity; coercive judgment execution; responsibilities of regulatory agency supervising the corporate legal entity; transfer of judgment execution obligation upon the restructuring of the corporate legal entity; issuance of certificates of complete serving of sentence, and certificates of complete serving of judicial measure under their competence; etc.
III. LAW ON PUBLIC INVESTMENT 2019
The new Law on Public Investment takes effect as of 01 January 2020
Law on Public Investment No. 39/2019/QH14 (“Law on Public Investment 2019”) has been passed by the National Assembly on 13 June 2019, takes effect as of 01 January 2020, replacing the Law on Public Investment No. 49/2014/QH13 (“Law on Public Investment 2014”). Below are several noteworthy contents of this new Law:
The Law on Public Investment 2019 consolidates the definition of “public investment capital”, whereby, public investment capital shall be state budget funds; legitimate revenues of state agencies and public service units that are retained for investment purposes in accordance with the laws. Compared to previous regulations under the Law on Public Investment 2014, the definition of investment capital has been narrowed down, and there is no separation of state budget funds, government bonds, national bonds, investment credit, etc.
The Law on Public Investment 2019 provides regulations on subjects of public investment, which was not regulated under the Law on Public Investment 2014. In particular, there are six (06) subjects of public investment, including: (i) Investment in socio-economic infrastructure construction programs and projects; (ii) Investment for activities of state regulatory authorities, public service units, political organizations and socio-political organizations; (iii) Investment in and support for investments in provision of public utility and social welfare products and services; (iv) Investment of the State for participation in implementation of public-private partnership projects; (v) Investment in providing support for formulation, evaluation of and decision on or approval, public disclosure and modification of planning schemes as per law on planning; (vi) Investment in granting subsidies to offset preferential lending interest rates; making equity contribution to the charter capital of policy banks and state off-budget financial funds; providing investment support for other policy beneficiaries.
Another notable feature of the Law on Public Investment 2019 is delegation of authority to evaluate funding sources and capacity for balancing funds, this is a part of the evaluation of investment policies. Accordingly, evaluation authorities belong to: Ministry of Planning and Investment; Ministers and Heads of central authorities; Chairpersons of all-level People’s Committees.
With its noteworthy amendments, the Law on Public Investment 2019 has facilitated the process of project preparation, simplified procedures, and provided a strong delegation. The Law on Public Investment 2019 also helps to improve the rate of disbursement of public investment and ensure the efficient use of public investment.
IV. DECREE 90/2019/ND-CP
The regional minimum wages for the year 2020 are increased by VND 150,000 to VND 240,000 per month
Decree No. 90/2019/ND-CP (“Decree 90”) dated 15 November 2019 of the Government regulating the regional minimum wages applicable to employees working under labor contracts takes effect as of 01 January 2020, and replaces Decree No. 157/2018/ND-CP (“Decree 157”).
In comparison to Decree 157, Decree 90 provides for increase of regional minimum wages as follows:
- Region I: VND 4,420,000/month (increase of VND 240,000/month), applicable to enterprises operating in the area of Region I.
- Region II: VND 3,920,000/month (increase of VND 210,000/month), applicable to enterprises operating in the area of Region II.
- Region III: VND 3,430,000/month (increase of VND 180,000/month), applicable to enterprises operating in the area of Region III.
- Region IV: VND 3,070,000/month (increase of VND 150,000/month), applicable to enterprises operating in the area of Region IV.
The minimum wage for a skilled worker shall be at least 7% higher than the regional minimum wages.
Increasing the regional minimum wages for the year 2020 from VND 150,000 to VND 240,000 per month shall help raise the average income of workers, gradually ensuring the minimum living standard according to the roadmap set out in Resolution 27-NQ/TW issued on 21 May 2018 of the Central Committee of Communist Party of Vietnam on reform of salary policies. However, the increase in minimum wages shall also affect the costs incurred by enterprises. In fact, many enterprises have been paying salary higher than the regional minimum wages for the year 2019, therefore the increase in the regional minimum wages for the year 2020 will mainly affect the employers’ social insurance premiums.
V. DECREE 100/2019/ND-CP
Driving while alcohol is found in breath shall be subject to administrative fines of up to 40 million Dong
Decree No. 100/2019/ND-CP (“Decree 100”) dated 30 December 2019 of the Government on administrative penalties for road traffic offences and rail transport offences takes effect as of 01 January 2020, replacing Decree 46/2016/ND-CP (“Decree 46”).
Decree 100 provides several strict sanctions, including new penalties and higher fine than Decree 46, especially for road traffic offences.
In accordance with the Law on Prevention and Control of Harmful Effects of Alcoholic Beverages 2019 taking effect as of 01 January 2020, which prohibits driving after consuming alcohol, Decree 100 has stipulated penalties for violations of driving motorcycles, mopeds, bicycles (including electric motorcycles) while the driver’s blood or breath contains alcohol, even when the BAC does not exceed 50 milligrams/100 milliliters of blood or the BrAC does not exceed 0,25 milligrams/liter of breath. Previously, Decree 46 did not regulate on such matter.
Drivers who are driving cars and similar vehicles while their blood or breath contains alcohol level of under 50 mg/100 ml of blood or 0.25 mg/1 liter of breath shall be subject to fines of VND 6,000,000 – VND 8,000,000; and fines of VND 16,000,000 – VND 18,000,000 when their alcohol level exceeds 50 mg to 80 mg/100 ml of blood or 0.25 mg to 0.4 mg/1 liter of breath.
Especially, the highest fine shall be up to VND 40,000,000 for car drivers when their blood or breath contains alcohol exceeding 80 mg/100 ml of blood or 0.4 mg/1 liter of breath. Simultaneously, in addition to being fined, the drivers are also deprived of their rights to use driving licenses for 22 – 24 months.
In addition, drivers whose blood or breath contains alcohol exceeding 80 mg/100 ml of blood or exceeding 0.4 mg/1 liter of breath while driving motorcycles, mopeds (including electric motorcycles), motorcycle-like vehicles and moped-like vehicles are subjects to fines of VND 6,000,000 – VND 8,000,000, are also deprived of their rights to use their driving licenses for 22 – 24 months; and drivers of bicycles, motorbikes (including electric bicycles) and rudimentary vehicles shall be fined from VND 400,000 to VND 600,000. Penalties for other alcohol-related violations are also increased in comparison to the provisions of Decree 46.
VI. DECREE 06/2020/ND-CP
“Estimation of progress on implementation of compensation, support and resettlement plan” is a mandatory content in Compensation, support and resettlement policy framework
Decree No. 06/2020/ND-CP (“Decree 06“) dated 03 January 2020 of the Government amending Article 17 of Decree 47/2014/ND-CP (“Decree 47“) on compensation, support and resettlement when the State recovers land, takes effect as of 20 February 2020.
Regarding Compensation, support and resettlement policy framework, in addition to the provisions in Decree 47, “Estimation of progress on implementation of compensation, support and resettlement plan” is a mandatory content in Compensation, support and resettlement policy framework.
The Compensation, support and resettlement policy framework prescribe contents specified for the entire project and detailed for each localities (if any). Especially, in case of reclamation of land for implementation of investment projects in which concentrated resettlement areas shall be built, such Policy framework shall include land reclamation areas for such concentrated resettlement areas.
In fact, there are several projects being behind schedule mainly due to slow progress of site clearance. Therefore, the supplemented regulations on the progress of implementing compensation, support and resettlement plans shall provide legal basis to resolve the above mentioned issue.
Regarding investment projects for which compensation, support and resettlement plans had been approved prior to 20 February 2020, such projects shall be carried out in accordance with Article 17 of Decree 47. For investment projects with compensation, support and resettlement plans being approved after 20 February 2020, these projects shall be carried out in accordance with Decree 06.
VII. DECREE 08/2020/ND-CP
Certified written minutes are unable to replace the legal validity of notarized, authenticated documents
Decree No. 08/2020/ND-CP (“Decree 08“) dated 08 January 2020 of the Government on the organization and operation of bailiffs, replacing Decree No. 61/2009/ND-CP ( “Decree 61“) and Decree No. 135/2013/ND-CP (“Decree 135“), takes effect as of 24 February 2020.
In Decree 08, the standards for appointing Bailiffs are subject to several changes as compared to previous regulations. Specifically, Decree 08 has limited the age at which Vietnamese citizens could be appointed as bailiffs, which shall not exceed 65 years old and such citizens shall have permanent residences in Vietnam. The standard of working time in legal field is also reduced from “over five (05) years” down to “three (03) or more years”. Not being permitted to “concurrently work as a notary, lawyer, appraiser, auctioneer, manager, liquidator” is no longer a standard for appointing Bailiffs, but it is transitioned into the activities that Bailiffs shall not perform (Article 4).
One of notable features of Decree 08 is the regulation on legal validity of certified written minutes. According to this Decree, Bailiff are entitled to issue minutes recording events, factual actions at the request of authorities, organizations, individuals within the nation’s territory (previously, such issuance shall be carried out only at the request of litigants), except for cases where minutes are not permitted, such as: violations of privacy, personal or family secrets; recording events, actions to make illegal transaction, etc. Decree 8 states that “certified written minutes are unable to replace notarized documents, authenticated documents, and other administrative documents.” Especially, despite not violating cases where certified written minutes are not permitted to be issued, the People’s Court, the People’s Procuracy could summon the Bailiff, other organizations and individuals to clarify the authenticity of the certified written minutes.
VIII. DECREE 16/2020/ND-CP
New guidance on citizenship-related issues
Decree No. 16/2020/ND-CP (“Decree 16“) dated 03 February 2020 of the Government on detailing a number of articles and measures to implement the Law on Vietnamese Nationality, replacing Decree No. 78/2009/ND-CP (“Decree 78“) and Decree No. 97/2014/ND-CP (“Decree 97“) dated 17 October 2014 of the Government amending and supplementing a number of articles of Decree 78, takes effect as of 20 March 2020.
One of the new feature of Decree 16 is that the supplementation on annulment of the validity of papers proving Vietnamese nationality which have been granted to persons renouncing their nationality, having been deprived of their nationality, or whose decisions on granting Vietnamese nationality are annulled. In previous regulations on nationality, due to the absence of this provision, there are many cases of persons using passports, identity cards, etc. to prove their Vietnamese nationality in transactions even though such persons have had their Vietnamese nationality renounced under the authorization of the President of Vietnam. Therefore, many difficulties in management work had arisen, as well as impacts to other related persons’ legitimate interests. To overcome this, Decree 16 has stipulated that, as of the date the decision on renunciation of Vietnamese nationality, deprivation of Vietnamese nationality, annulment of decisions on the grant of Vietnamese nationality come into effect, such papers proving Vietnamese nationality granted to such persons shall no longer be valid.
Previously, the Law on Vietnamese Nationality and Decree 78 did not provide for prohibited acts in citizenship activities, and as a result, there was no legal basis to handle these problems when arising in practice. Therefore, Decree 16 has supplemented new regulations on prohibited acts, such as: using fake papers, changed or erased papers to falsify contents; dishonest declaration, committing fraudulent acts to carry out procedures for dealing with nationality-related matters; Abusing the assigned authority to issue papers illegally, etc.
In addition, Decree 16 also provides details and guidance on conditions for keeping foreign nationality upon applying for naturalization of Vietnamese nationality in order to create consistency in the interpretation and application of the Law on Vietnamese Nationality . Accordingly, Decree 16 specifies the “special cases” of people who are naturalized as Vietnamese without having to renounce their foreign nationality as prescribed at Clause 3, Article 19 of the Law on Vietnamese Nationality.
It could be seen that, Decree 16 detailing a number of articles and measures to implement the Law on Vietnamese Nationality, has overcome several difficulties and shortcomings in nationality procedures for the past few years; and simultaneously created a explicit legal basis for competent authorities in process of dealing with nationality-related matters; helped avoiding inconsistencies in interpretations, which could lead to complaints and lawsuits.
IX. DECREE 17/2020/ND-CP
Official abolishment of Certificate of Vehicle Type Approval
Decree No. 17/2020/ND-CP (“Decree 17“) dated 05 February 2020 of the Government amending and supplementing a number of articles of the Decrees related to business investment conditions under State management field of Ministry of Industry and Trade, takes effect as of 22 March 2020.
The amended and supplemented fields include: (1) Manufacturing, assembly and import of motor vehicles and provision of motor vehicle warranty and maintenance services; (2) Electricity; (3) Chemicals; (4) Food business; (5) Mineral trading; (6) Gas business; (7) Spirit trading; (8) Tobacco trading.
Regarding the field of manufacturing, assembling, importing and business in automobile warranty and maintenance services, Decree 17 amends, supplements and renounces a number of articles of Decree 116/2017/ND-CP regulating conditions for manufacturing, assembling, importing and business in automobile warranty and maintenance services (“Decree 116“), with the following notable features:
Accordingly, as of the effective date of Decree 17, validity of automobile import business licenses which has been granted to the enterprises that are importer and temporary importer of cars with navigation software containing maps violating Vietnam’s sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity shall be revoked or suspended.
Previously, Decree 116 prescribed 05 conditions that enterprises need to satisfy in order to be granted a Certificate of Eligibility for Car Manufacturing and Assembly, but now Decree 17 has abolished these following conditions: (i) Each technician being responsible for motor vehicle production line and assembly line is required to obtain at least a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering or motor vehicles and at least 5-year experience of motor vehicle manufacturing or assembly; (ii) There are sufficient personnel and plans to ensure occupational safety and hygiene; (iii) The manufacturer/assembler fulfills all fire safety requirements and plans; (iv) The motor vehicle factory has sufficient documents on environmental safety.
Especially, Decree 17 has officially abolished Certificate of Vehicle Type Approval (VTA). It was the most important obstacle in the paperwork for customs clearance of automobiles imported to Vietnam during 2018 and 2019. Besides applying for a Certificate of Vehicle Type Approval, Decree 116 previously stipulated a bulk of documents for customs clearance of automobiles imported into Vietnam. Therefore, it was not easy to get imported cars into Vietnam and receive incentive import tax with the tax rate of 0%. This seems to be our Government’s protection of the domestic automobile industry. But now, the “door” of importation has been opened once again when Decree 17 was promulgated, it is a stepping stone for the Vietnamese automobile industry to walk on its own and develop in the future.