New Decree on Maritime Services in Vietnam

Various new requirements on maritime transportation services, shipping agency services and towage services in Vietnam are introduced in Decree 30/2014. In particular, from 1 July 2014, under Decree 30/2014:

  • Any new company providing maritime transportation services will need to have a Maritime Transportation Service Licence from the Vietnam Marine Bureau. A Maritime Transportation Service Licence is valid for 5 years. Companies established before 1 July 2014 providing maritime transportation services will have 5 years to obtain the Maritime Transportation Service Licence.
  • Companies providing maritime transportation services must have a minimum capital of VND 5 billion (US$ 250,000) for domestic routes or VND 20 billion (US$ 1 million) for outbound routes.
  • A shipping agency company must now use Vietnamese “shipping agent” employees. It is not clear who would be considered as “shipping agent” employees within a shipping agency company.
  • A towage service company must have at least two towing vessels and must purchase professional insurances.
  • Interestingly, Decree 30/2014 requires all companies involving in maritime transportation services, shipping agency services and towage services to have, among other things, experienced in-house counsels.
  • A foreign investor is allowed to set up joint venture shipping agency or joint venture towing service company with no more than 49% foreign ownership. It is not clear whether a foreign investor could acquire an existing Vietnamese shipping agency company or an existing towing service company.
  • It is not clear if a company providing transshipment services is regarded as a maritime transportation company or a company providing loading and unloading services. In the former case, a foreign investor may hold 100% charter capital of a maritime transportation company in Vietnam. On the other hand, in the latter case, a foreign investor can only hold up to 50% charter capital. 
Vietnam Business Law Blog

On 28 December 2018, the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) issued Circular 42 amending current foreign currency borrowing regulations (in Circular 24 of the SBV dated 8 December 2015, as amended from time to time (Circular 24/2015)) (Circular 42/2018). Circular 42/2018 will take effect from 1 January 2019.

Changes to permitted lending purpose

Vietnamese banks only lend in foreign currency for a few limited purposes. Circular 42/2018 has following changes to these purposes:

On 20 June 2018, the Ministry of Justice issued Circular 8 on the registration and provision of information on security interest and contracts (Circular 8/2018). Circular 8/2018 will replace Circular 5/2011 on the same subject from 4 August 2018.

Name of the object of the registration

The object of registration under Circular 5/2011 is secured transactions (giao dịch bảo đảm), which is in line with the Civil Code 2005. However, the term “secured transaction” is almost removed from the Civil Code 2015 and the registration is now the registration of security interest (biện pháp bảo đảm). Circular 8/2018 adopts such approach and determined the object of registration is security interest to be consistent with the new Civil Code 2015.

The Ministry of Finance has released a latest draft amendment to the Securities Law 2006 (https://tinyurl.com/ydc44zyd), which is scheduled to be passed in the second half of 2019. It looks like that any major law in Vietnam will need to undergo major changes in every 10 years whether or not the changes are necessary. The draft amendments include the following major changes regarding capital raising process: