More transparent legal documents would contribute to dealing with inconsistencies and overlapping regulations and consolidate investors’ faith.

This was put forth by experts and policymakers at the workshop themed “Vietnam legislation – ready for integration?” organised by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) in Hanoi on October 17. The delegations at the conference provided an update on the current situation and offered their opinions about the regulatory system.

The conference is organised to evaluate Vietnam’s new position attained through its active participation in international trade agreements which necessitate the reviewing and amendment of many legal documents. This requires the quality of legal documents to be improved to make sure newly issued documents will not have to be amended after they are found unfeasible or contradictory to other documents. It will also have to be made sure that they do not create new legal barriers for businesses, or negatively affect economic development.

TheLaw on Promulgation of Legislative Documents provides clear regulations on transparency and consulting relevant stakeholders in the process of drafting legal documents. However, there are several legal documents drafted and issued in a way that is not in accordance with these tenets or without making a comprehensive assessment of socio-economic impacts.

According to Dau Anh Tuan, head of the legal department of the VCCI, reasonableness, consistency, feasibility, and transparency are vital to the quality of legal documents. In the upcoming time, new legislative solutions should remove non-transparent regulations, continue to reduce barriers to market entry, protect the freedom of businesses, fight against group interests and overlapping laws, enhance sincerity, and consult businesses and individuals. In particular, the shortened drafting process should not be applied to influential laws such as tax laws to ensure that all relevant stakeholders groups are involved.”

During the workshop, leading economic and policy experts assessed the stability of business legislation as well as the challenges to policymakers in the context of economic integration. The experts also highlighted the necessity of collecting the opinions of associations and businesses to assess the quality and feasibility of the current business legislation documents.

Sharing international experiences during the process of building legal documents, Mark Gillin, head of VBF’s Tax and Customs Working Group, said that the most important thing is that policymakers need to determine specific targets when they build documents. Besides, they need to determine the relevant objects affected by the law while simultaneously ensuring their involvementuntil the document is completed. Furthermore, they must have a deep understanding about the impacts of the policy on relevant parties in order to make sure the policy does not only serve one or a few groups while causing risk and damage to others.

“The relevant groups are not only enterprises in the industrial sector, but also enterprises specialising in supply chain and supporting industries. They need to be considered by policymakers for the best solution for parties,” Mark Gillin said.

An example about the impacts of tax regulation on both manufacturers and supporting enterprises, the survey implemented by the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM) showed that if the authorities apply a special consumption tax on soft drinks, it would impact customers, beverage manufacturers, and the relating 21 auxiliary industry sectors, as well as the GDP of the country.

In his closing remarks, Anh Tuan concluded that sincerity and transparency are essential during the drafting process of legal documents to ensure the participation and involvement of all citizens and businesses, the use of fast-track drafting process should be minimised. In addition, Tuan also emphasised the essentiality of conducting the socio-economic impact assessment of the new legal documents and policies before issuance to avoid any unexpected consequences.

The forum gathered different opinions and comments, notably the practical experiences from domestic and foreign associations and business communities. The legislative bodies will consider these comments during the drafting process in the future.

Vietnam Investment Review