New “Government protection measures” against investor claims in Vietnam

To mitigate or avoid the risks of investor claims, the Government of Vietnam has introduced various measures under various new laws issued in 2014 and 2015. These measures certainly make it more difficult for foreign investors to use Vietnamese law against the Government of Vietnam in case of an investment dispute. Below are some of these measures:

  • Under Investment Law 2005, investors are protected against change in law and policies which affect the investment incentives or rights of the investors. Under Investment Law 2014, only change in law (not policies) affecting investment incentives (not rights) of investors are protected. Even with the reduced scope of protection, the Government may still issue adverse change in law for national defense, national security, social safety, public health and environment protection;
  • Under the new Law on Law 2015, the Constitution will prevail international treaties if there is any consistency between an international treaty and the Constitution; and
  • Under the Civil Code 2015, legal entities established by the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (SRV) will not be responsible for civil relation established by the SRV. Since most of the assets of the SRV are held by legal entities established by the SRV, this provision effectively makes it much more difficult for investors to get hold of assets of the SRV.