23.10.2020, 00:30

Vietnam: entry into force of new laws in 2019

Written by: Dezan Shira & Associates

Translated by: Fatma Gueye Dione

In 2018 the Vietnamese government passed several new and amended laws that will come into effect in 2019. The laws mainly focus on wages, environmental projects, food industry, rural development, cybersecurity, and administrative procedures.

The workforce

Minimum wage

Under Decree No. 157/2018 /ND-CP, the regional minimum wage in Vietnam has been increased from 160000 VND to 200000 VND since 1 er January 2019.

Region 1 - 418 million VND (180 USD);
Region 2 - VND 371 million (USD 160);
Region 3 - 325 million VND (140 USD); and
Region 4 - 292 million VND (125 USD).

Democracy in the Workplace

In force since January 12019 Decree No. 149/2018 /ND-CP defines the content and the methods of application of democracy in the workplace in companies, cooperatives, households and people under employment contract.

Laws relating to industries

Cybersecurity Law

The law on cybersecurity, in force since 1 er January 2019 focuses on regulating activities in cyberspace and maintaining social order and security. It also covers the responsibilities of government agencies, individuals and Internet companies; and requires companies to store data locally, open representative offices in Vietnam, and release any user information at the request of the government.

Higher education

The revised law on higher education, which will come into force on 1 er July 2019 aims to increase the autonomy of universities, expand the education system and develop a system where different universities can share their resources.

In addition, it also emphasizes the development of private universities as well as public universities and introduces new changes in the administration and council of universities in areas such as recruitment, development strategy and investments.

Dredging operations

Decree No.159 /2018 /ND-CP, which entered into force on January 112019 covers the management of dredging activities in the waters of sea ports and inland waters.

It states that the environmental impact of dredging projects must be assessed in accordance with the Environmental Protection Act. In the case of maintenance dredging projects with a regular annual workload, the environmental impact assessment is carried out annually or on a cyclical basis of up to five years.

Civil aviation violations

Decree No. 162/2018 /ND-CP, which entered into force on January 152019 recommends penalties for administrative offenses committed in the civil aviation sector.

Violations of regulations in areas such as aircraft operation and maintenance, airport management, environmental protection, aviation personnel, aviation operations and passenger behavior will result in fines and penalties of from the government.

Food security

In accordance with Decision No. 47/2018 /QD-TTg, pilot food safety surveys will be conducted in nine provinces and cities, including Ha Noi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hai Phong City, Da Nang, Can Tho City, Thanh Hoa Province, Ha Tinh Province, Dong Nai Province and Gia Lai Province as of 2019.

In addition, Circular No.117 /2018 /TT-BTC, which entered into force on January 152019 reduces certain fees for food safety and hygiene inspections in testing establishments, certification bodies of compliance and national import food inspection agencies.

For the first assessment, the fees were reduced from 32 million VND to 28.5 million VND per request and per establishment. The revaluation fee has been reduced from VND 22.5 million to VND 20.5 million.

Agriculture, forestry and fishing

Agriculture and rural development

Published by the Ministry of Planning and Investment, Circular No. 04/2018 /TT-BKHDT entered into force on January 212019.

It guides the implementation of Decree No. 57/2018 /ND-CP, which covers policies to encourage businesses to invest in the agricultural and rural sector.

Forest law

Forest law includes forest activities, prohibited acts, government policies, forest classifications, planning, forest management, protection and use of forests. It is already in force since 1 er January 2019.

Fisheries Act

Already in force since 1 er January 2019 the Fisheries Law covers fishing activities, the rights and obligations of companies and persons engaged in fishing activities, as well as state management of the sector.

Commercial activities

One-stop shop

In force since January 62019 Circular No. 01/2018 /TT-VPCP guides the implementation of several provisions of Decree No. 61/2018 /ND-CP, which focuses on the implementation of a one-stop-shop mechanism for handling administrative procedures.

Competition law

In June 2018 the government passed a new competition law, replacing the 2004 version of the law. The new law, which emphasizes agreements restricting competition, market domination, economic concentration and unfair practices, will come into force on 1 er July 2019.

The new law has broadened its scope and now includes Vietnamese and foreign companies and individuals in case their actions have or may have an impact on the restriction of competition in the domestic market. The impact of the restriction of competition is the exclusion or reduction of competition in the market.

The Vietnamese government will also have authority over offshore activities if there is an impact on the domestic market. The law will apply to foreign entities under agreements restricting competition, economic concentration or other unfair activities, even if they do not have a branch in Vietnam.


The government revised the anti-corruption law in November 2018 in order to combat corruption in the private sector. Besides the private sector, the revised law also includes the obligations of agencies and organizations involved in controlling corruption.

The law will come into force on 1 er July 2019.


Law for environmental protection

The government introduced a resolution raising the environmental protection tax on petroleum products, coal and plastic bags effective 1 er January 2019. The new taxes applicable to various products are as follows:

Anthracite coal - From 20000 to 30000 VND per tonne;
Other types of coal - Increase from 10000 to 15000 VND per tonne;
HCFCs, ozone-depleting substances, greenhouse gases - increase from 4000 to 5000 VND per kilogram;
Plastic bags - Increase from 40000 VND to 50000 VND per kilogram;
Gasoline - Increase from 3000 to 4000 VND per liter;
Kerosene - Increase from 300 to 1000 VND per liter; and
Lubricants and heavy fuel oil - From 900 to 2000 VND per liter.

The other laws in force since 1 er January 2019 include the Law on Whistleblowing, the Law on Measurement and Mapping, the Law on Physical Education and Sport, the Law on Amending and Supplementing 11 Planning Laws, the Law on Defense, and regulations relating to the prevention and control of natural disasters.