Investment Law 2014 – Weaker stability protection for foreign investors

The Investment Law 2014 offers weaker stability protection for foreign investors against future changes in law. For the last two decades (since 1990) Vietnam has introduced four different Enterprises Laws and Investment Laws.  Therefore, stability protection against future changes in law is important for long term foreign investors in Vietnam (e.g. those engaged in infrastructure projects with project financing). Under Investment Law 2014,

  • An investor is not protected against "changes in policies" (thay đổi chính sách) as in under Investment Law 2005. The interpretation and implementation of laws by Vietnamese authorities is not always consistent. Therefore, there may be more changes in policies in practice than changes in law;
  • An investor may not be entitled to continue to enjoy current investment incentives if the change in law is due to reasons relating to defence, national security, social safety, social morality, public health and environment protection. The list of exceptions is very broad and general and may cover many scenarios;
  • The Government now limits the potential compensation that an investor may get due to change in law to "actual damages" only; and
  • An investor now has a time limit of three years from the date of a change in law to claim for damages or ask for changes in the investment project due to the change in law.