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Trading restrictions

VIETNAM

Since January 2009

Chapter Quantitative Trade Restrictions  |  Sub-chapter Import restrictions
Import Licensing
Automatic licensing regimes for imports of key consumer goods were re-introduced by the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) in January 2009 (Circular 17/2008/TT-BCT). On 28 May 2010, MOIT published Circular 24/2010/TT-BCT, which requires local importers to obtain an automatic import license from the government before any shipment can be unloaded at any Vietnamese port.
On 5 September 2011, MOIT issued Circular 32/2011/TT-BCT to amend the Circular 24/2010/TT-BCT. This Circular entered into force on 20 October 2011. The biggest revision under the new circular is that all 22 commodities mentioned in Annex 1 of Circular 24/2010/TT-BCT are now subject to automatic import licensing. There are only two exceptions, wire telephone sets (HS code 8517.11.00.00) and mobile phones (HS code: 8517.12.00.00). These are not subject to this automatic licensing regime.
So far, no complaints have been made in this regard, as the registration procedure by the MOIT is swift. However, once issued, the license is valid only for 30 days, which makes it difficult for companies to calculate when to introduce the request so that it will not expire before the goods arrive at port. The measure may therefore result in backlogs of products at ports, additional business costs and reduced availability of goods.
The circular
Coverage Horizontal
Trading restrictions

VIETNAM

Reported in October 2013

Chapter Quantitative Trade Restrictions  |  Sub-chapter Import restrictions
Non-transparent licensing scheme
The US and the EU raised concerns at the WTO about the lack of transparency, the confusing nature and the legal uncertainty of Vietnam's import licensing regime.
Coverage Horizontal
Source
  • WTO Committee on Import Licensing, Minutes of the Meeting held on 04 October 2013, Document G/LIC/M/38, 28 February 2014
Trading restrictions

VIETNAM

Since July 2012
Since December 2015

Chapter Quantitative Trade Restrictions  |  Sub-chapter Import restrictions
Circular No.11/2012/TT-BTTTT

Circular 31/2015/TT-BTTTT
On 17 July 2012, the Vietnamese Ministry of Information and Communications issued Circular No.11/2012/TT-BTTTT amending the list of used IT products that are banned from import (with limited exceptions). The following products have been added to the existing list:
- Parts and accessories to be used with machines including calculating machines, and data processing machines (HS 8473);
- Microphones and other speakers (HS 8518);
- Transmission apparatus for radio broadcasting or television (HS 8525);
- Radar and radio navigational apparatus (HS 8526);
- Reception apparatus for radio broadcasting (HS 8527);
- Certain projectors (HS 8528);
- Printed circuits (HS 8534);
- Thermionic, cold cathode or photo cathod valves and tubes (HS 8540);
- Electronic integrated circuits (HS 8542).

The list of banned second-hand IT goods for import already includes printing machinery (HS 8443), typewriters (including keyboards and word processing machines) (HS 8469), calculating machines (HS 8470), automatic data processing machines, magnetic/optical readers (HS 8471), telephone sets (HS 8517), Transmission appartus for radio broadcasting, cameras (HS 8525), monitors and projectors (HS 8528), insulated wires and cables (HS 8544).

Circular 31/2015/TT-BTTTT published effective 15 December 2015 extended the above ban and also provided additional guidelines for its implementation.
Coverage Certain used IT products
Trading restrictions

VIETNAM

Reported in March 2014

Chapter Quantitative Trade Restrictions  |  Sub-chapter Import restrictions
Import ban
Vietnam currently prohibits commercial importation of some products, including encryption devices and encryption software. This applies despite Vietnam has agreed in its WTO Accession Protocol to the principle of no restriction or regulation on commercially traded goods equipped with encryption technology (Paragraph 218 of the October 200 Report of the Working Party on the Accession of Vietnam to the World Trade Organization).
Coverage Encryption devices and encryption software
Restrictions on data

VIETNAM

Since September 2013

Chapter Content access  |  Sub-chapter Bandwidth, net neutrality
Decree No. 72/2013/ND-CP of July 15, 2013, on the Management, Provision and Use of Internet Services and Online Information
Decree 72 contains a section (Section 2, Article 23 onwards) that applies only to social networks. It obliges social networks to prevent any information to be published that defames the state of Vietnam. Additionally, it provides that the establishment of an online social network requires a license from the Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC).

Clause 20.4 of the Decree bans personal blogs from providing “aggregated information”, which Vietnam’s Broadcast and Electronic Information Department has reportedly used as a justification to warn users not to “quote or share information from press agencies or websites of government agencies.” Personal webpage owners are only allowed to provide their own information and are prohibited from taking news from media agencies and using that information as if it were their own.
Coverage Social networks
Restrictions on data

VIETNAM

Reported in June 2017

Chapter Content access  |  Sub-chapter Censorship and filtering of web content
Law on Cybersecurity
A 2017 draft version of the Law on Cybersecurity would require that foreign suppliers of telecom services and internet services to obtain operation licenses in order to provide their services in Vietnam. The concept of "telecom services" and "Internet services" are not defined. If "telecom services" and "Internet services" covered by the draft Law were too broad, the Law could be inconsistent with relevant WTO commitments, as the cross border supply of certain telecom services have been liberalised under Vietnam services schedule for WTO accession. Other requirements for these opertarors are to locate a "representative agency" in Vietnam and locate the server that manages Vietnamese users' data in the territory of Vietnam.

At this stage, since the full text of the law is not yet available, it is unclear whether this provision remains in the final version of the law due to come into force in January 2019.
Coverage "Telecom services" and "internet services"
Sources
Restrictions on data

VIETNAM


Chapter Content access  |  Sub-chapter Censorship and filtering of web content
Decree No. 72/2013/ND-CP of July 15, 2013, on the Management, Provision and Use of Internet Services and Online Information
While any Vietnamese firm can operate as an Internet Service Provider (ISP), only state-owned companies are allowed to operate as Online Service Providers or Internet Exchange Providers.
Coverage Internet Services Providers (ISPs), Social networks
Restrictions on data

VIETNAM

Since September 2013

Chapter Content access  |  Sub-chapter Censorship and filtering of web content
Filtering of web content
State regulation determines how Internet connectivity in Vietnam is organized and managed, and it is reported to facilitate Internet content filtering by limiting external access points that must be controlled.

Only Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) can connect to the Internet, while Online Service Providers (OSPs) and Internet Content Providers (ICPs) may connect to Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and IXPs.

Internet filtering happens at the Domain Name System (DNS) level, which means that instead of blocking a site, ISPs simply configure domain names to resolve to an invalid address or remove blocked websites from their DNS servers.
Coverage Internet Services Providers (ISPs)
Restrictions on data

VIETNAM

Reported in June 2017, coming into force in January 2019

Chapter Content access  |  Sub-chapter Censorship and filtering of web content
Law on Cybersecurity
A draft version from 2017 of the Law on Cybersecurity would entitle the Ministry of Public Security to propose to the Government of Vietnam to cease the provision of cyber information at certain locations to respond to or remedy cybersecurity incidents for protecting national security, social safety, and order. This provision, if arbitrarily applied, could disrupt the flow of information.

At this stage, since the full text of the law is not yet available, it is unclear whether this provision remains in the final version of the law due to come into force in January 2019.
Coverage Websites
Restrictions on data

VIETNAM

Since September 2013

Chapter Content access  |  Sub-chapter Censorship and filtering of web content
Decree No. 72/2013/ND-CP of July 15, 2013, on the Management, Provision and Use of Internet Services and Online Information
Art. 25 of Decree 72 sets the obligation of Internet Services Providers (ISPs) to coordinate with the State the removing or blocking of information that contains prohibited acts, which include: State opposition, undermining national security and social order, conducting propaganda; propagating obscenity, pornography and harming national traditions and customs; providing information offending organizations or individuals; and advertising banned good and services, banned newspapers, works and publications.

Various press reports have highlighted the controversial nature of Decree 72 and its wide scope regarding the capacity to block websites.
Coverage Internet Services Providers (ISPs)
Restrictions on data

VIETNAM

Entry into force in January 2019

Chapter Intermediary liability  |  Sub-chapter Notice and takedown requirement
Law on Cybersecurity
According to a draft of the Law on Cybersecurity issued in August 2017, websites or web portals hosting information that would disturb security and order in Vietnam or which act as platforms for anti-government activities may be subject to temporary suspension or withdrawal of operating licenses.

At this stage, since the full text of the law is not yet available, it is unclear whether this provision remains in the final version of the law due to come into force in January 2019.
Coverage All websites and web portals
Restrictions on data

VIETNAM

Entry into force in January 2019

Chapter Intermediary liability  |  Sub-chapter Notice and takedown requirement
Law on Cybersecurity
Vietnam's Law on Cybersecurity includes a 24 hour notice-and-takedown requirement at the request of the Ministry of Information and Communications and the specialized cybersecurity task-force under the Ministry of Public Security.
Coverage Internet service providers (ISPs), websites and information systems administrators/owners
Restrictions on data

VIETNAM

Entry into force in January 2019

Chapter Intermediary liability  |  Sub-chapter Lack of safe harbor for intermediary liability
Law on Cybersecurity
A draft of the Vietnam's Cybersecurity Law, issued in 2018, stipulates that Internet service providers (ISPs), websites and information systems administrators/owners are responsible for:
- Controlling information content transmitted by users, so that such content will not harm or prejudice children or the children’s rights; and
- Preventing the sharing of content and deleting any content that harms or prejudices children or the children’s rights.

Article 16 requires information system administrators/owners, telecoms and Internet service providers to closely coordinate with the competent authorities to handle illegal content. The ISPs have 24h to remove content after they receive a notice by the government authorities.

At this stage, since the full text of the law is not yet available, it is unclear whether this provision remains in the final version of the law due to come into force in January 2019.
Coverage Internet service providers (ISPs), websites and information systems administrators/owners
Restrictions on data

VIETNAM

Since 2013

Chapter Intermediary liability  |  Sub-chapter Lack of safe harbor for intermediary liability
Decree No. 72/2013/ND-CP of July 15, 2013, on the Management, Provision and Use of Internet Services and Online Information
Decree No.72 requires that online social network service suppliers ensure that only individuals who have supplied "accurate and complete personal information as required by law", including the government-issued card number, may create blogs or provide information on online social networks. (Art. 3.16 and 25.9)
Coverage Online social network service providers
Restrictions on data

VIETNAM

Entry into force in January 2019

Chapter Intermediary liability  |  Sub-chapter Lack of safe harbor for intermediary liability
Law on Cybersecurity
As of January 2019, Vietnam's Law on Cybersecurity will ban any online posts deemed as "opposing the State of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam," or which "[offend] the nation, the national flag, the national anthem, great people, leaders, notable people and national heroes." The law might give the authorities wide discretion to determine when expression must be censored as “illegal” because some provisions will make it easier for the government to identify and prosecute people for online activities. Depending on how arbitrarily and how widely this measure is enforced, it could prove a significant burden on websites which host not only political but also non-political content.

According to a draft of the Law issued in August 2017 websites or web portals hosting illegal cyber information may be subject to temporary suspension or withdrawal of operating licenses. At this stage, it is still unclear which sanctions will apply for violations of the law.
Coverage Foreign online platforms and social media such as Facebook and Google