Establish Representative Office in Vietnam: Updates to Regulations Regarding Foreign Trade Promotion Organizations in Vietnam: Decree 14/2024/ND-CP
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Establish Representative Office in Vietnam: Updates to Regulations Regarding Foreign Trade Promotion Organizations in Vietnam: Decree 14/2024/ND-CP

3 min.

The Vietnamese Government has issued Decree No. 14/2024/ND-CP (Decree 14). This improves measures to promote foreign trade, including changes in the approval procedures for representative offices of foreign trade promotion organisations. The decree came into force on 25 March 2024. The experts from ECOVIS AFA VIETNAM have compiled the details from publicly available sources.

Decree 14 amends Decree 28/2018/ND-CP – the Guiding Regulations for the Foreign Trade Management Law 2017 as follows:

1. Changes in management authority

The licensing authority has transitioned from the central authority, the Ministry of Industry and Trade (Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency, or Vietrade), to the local authority, the provincial department of industry and trade where the representative office is located.

These changes not only enable better state management, but also improve representative office statutory efficiency. This setup can also eliminate certain existing limitations and difficulties in coordination between the pre-inspection and post-inspection phases of management.

Before the last working day of January of the following year, representative offices are required to submit an annual written report on their activities for the year to the licensing authority. Starting from 2025, these reports must be submitted to the provincial departments of industry and trade instead of Vietrade as previously required.

Please contact us if you would like to discuss more in-depth questions about this decree.
Nghia Tran, Partner, ECOVIS AFA VIETNAM, Da Nang City, Vietnam

2. Submission methods

In addition to direct or postal submission, online submission via the National Public Service Portal or the Provincial Administrative Procedure Processing System has been added. This advancement makes it easier for representative offices to adhere to the pragmatic licensing procedures.

3. Processing time

The timeline for processing most applications by the authorities and the deadline for the obligations of the representative offices will be shortened and modified from working days to calendar days. Weekends and public holidays are now included in the processing time.

4. License adjustments and re-issuance

Changing the address to another province or city will now be a case of re-issuance by the local authority in the new location. At least 90 days before changing the location, representative offices must notify their creditors, employees, and other relevant parties and post this notification at the old office location. It must also be published in three (3) consecutive official gazette issues of a print or electronic newspaper authorised in Vietnam.

5. Expansion of license issuance and revocation

Under the previous regulation, authorities had the discretion to deny the issuance of a new license for the establishment of a representative office if there was “evidence” that the establishment would be detrimental to Vietnam’s national defence, security, order, safety, traditions, culture, ethics, customs, public health, resources, or cause environmental pollution. The new regulation extends this provision, allowing authorities to refuse not only based on “evidence” but also on “indications” of such harm.

In terms of license revocation, the previous regulation confined revocation to instances arising from the representative office’s conduct, such as inactivity, operating beyond its defined functions, or criminal violations related to Vietnam’s labour laws. The new regulation broadens this scope to encompass violations originating from both the representative office and the foreign trade promotion organisation.

6. Revision of application forms

Most application forms, including those for new applications, adjustments, extensions, re-issuances, and annual reports have been updated to reflect the above changes.

For further information please contact:

Nghia Tran, Partner, ECOVIS AFA VIETNAM, Da Nang City, Vietnam

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