International Commercial & Trade

Sanctions, international trade, and investment compliance rules can result in the imposition of onerous restrictions on businesses. Violations can lead to substantial risks, including criminal liability, fines, penalties, loss of business, reputational harm, and a variety of associated costs which can be difficult to quantify.

Our lawyers help clients overcome these challenges and successfully compete in the world’s developed and emerging markets. We advise major industrial, technology, consumer products, manufacturing, distributing and selling their products and services in Vietnam. We also help clients select, monitor and manage their relationships with the third-party suppliers, manufacturers, distributors and sales agents in their supply chains.

Well-versed in regulatory and commercial law, we advise companies on compliance issues such as trade sanctions, as well as commercial contracts, product labelling requirements and sales promotion. No matter the issue, we focus on simplifying complex trade requirements so our clients can focus on growing their businesses.

We provide the full range of support to clients including:

  • assessing potential risks associated with particular contracts, relationships or proposed business ventures, including in relation to sanctions and foreign direct investment; 
  • advising on mergers & acquisitions, on dealings with agents, distributors and other third parties. This includes conducting due diligence, drafting and negotiating appropriate contractual protections, and setting in place operational, compliance. 
  • drafting compliance policies and assisting clients with the implementation of these policies
  • providing sanctions compliance training to senior management, boards of directors, employees and agents
  • assisting clients faced with regulatory investigations or prosecutions concerning sanctions and other regulatory breaches, including approaching authorities and negotiating settlements
  • tracking regulatory developments 


Pham Hong Manh

Senior Partner

Phone: +84932014986

Le Tien Dat

Managing Partner

Phone: +84939107387


[Legal Updates] The remarkable news in May 2020

1| Our prominent legal articles in May, 2020

Under the impact of Covid-19, not only the tourism industry of Vietnam but also the world has suffered unprecedented heavy losses. However, this is an opportunity to conduct M&A transactions in the hospitality sector. Therefore, in May 2020, Apolat Legal has published a handbook which has the title “Cross-Border M&A activities in Vietnam: A glance in hospitality sector”. By our experience and evaluation in the progress of advisory for the clients who are the tourism real estate development and operating companies in Vietnam, we summarized some brief information and legal framework related to a M&A deal in the hospitality sector. To read the entire content of this handbook, please visit here.

Additionally, in May, 2020, our personnel had some remarkable, specifically:

  • Lawyer Dinh Quang Long with the Article “Business lines of foreign-invested enterprises”, provides some notable information for the foreign investors when investing in Vietnam. To read the entire article, please visit here.
  • LL.M Tran Chau Hoai Han with the Article “Overview about IP regulations under EVFTA in comparison with Vietnamese IP framework”, has provide some inconsistancies between EVFTA and Vietnamese laws in IP issues. To read the entire article, please visit here.

2| The remarkable news in May 2020

On May 29th, 2020, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc signed Resolution No. 84/NQ-CP on tasks and solutions to continue to resolve the difficulties for manufactures and business, as well as enhance disbursement of public investment and ensure not only social order but also safety in the circumstance of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Some notable policies mentioned in Resolution No. 84 /NQ-CP, include:

  • To reduce 15% of the payable land rent of 2020 for enterprises, organizations, households and individuals that have stopped manufacture and business due to the impact of Covid-19 epidemic, being directly leased land by the State under the Decision, the Contract of the competent state authorities with the annual rent payment method;
  • To reduce 2% interest rates for direct loans, indirect loans for small and medium enterprises from the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund;
  • To allow experts, enterprises managers, investors, high-tech workers who are foreigners working in investment and business projects in Vietnam, to enter Vietnam to maintain the manufacture and business activities of the enterprises, if ensuring its compliance with the regulations on epidemic prevention and control. It is strictly forbidden to discriminate against foreigners living and working in Vietnam;
  • To extend the work permits for experts, enterprises managers, technical workers who are foreigners working in enterprises; and grant new work permits to experts, enterprises managers, technical workers who are foreigners to replace ones are not allowed to enter or not return to Vietnam.

Besides, the Government also provides policies that will be submitted to the Standing Committee of the National Assembly and the National Assembly for consideration and decision. The highlight is the 30% reduction in corporate income tax of 2020 for small and micro enterprises to support in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The policies stated in Resolution No. 84/NQ-CP will be implemented by Ministries, central and local agencies.

3| The remarkable executed legislations in May, 2020

1.      Decree No. 53/2020/NĐ-CP dated May 05th, 2020 on environmental protection fee on wastewater  05/05/2020 01/07/2020
2.      Decree No. 58/2020/NĐ-CP dated May 27th, 2020 on the rate of contribution to the occupational accident and disease insurance fund  27/05/2020 15/07/2020


Download Legal Updates as a PDF here.


[Legal Updates] Updating the new Decree No. 37/2020/ND-CP to include small- and medium-sized businesses from accessing investment incentives

1| Updating the new Decree No. 37/2020/ND-CP of the Government to expand the list of business lines eligible for investment incentives under the Law on Support for Small and Medium Enterprises

On March 30th, 2020, the Government promulgated Decree No. 37/2020/NĐ-CP to amend the list of business lines eligible for investment incentives attached to Decree No. 118/2015/ND-CP detailing and guiding the implementation of Law on Investment (“Decree 118”), which takes effect on May 15th, 2020, in which adding the following 04 business lines to the list of business lines eligible for investment incentives:

  • Business investment in the distribution chain of products of small and medium-sized enterprises (“SMEs”);
  • Investment in business of incubating SMEs;
  • Business investment in technical facilities to support SMEs;
  • Business investment in a common working area for small and medium-sized startups.

Accordingly, foreign investors taking business investment in Vietnam in 04 business lines as mentioned above will be eligible for investment incentives from May 15th, 2020, namely:

  • Under the Law on Support for Small and Medium Enterprises, support measures for SMEs in general may include of assistance in the credit assessment; assistance in the tax and accounting regimes; assistance in production areas; assistance in terms of technologies; assistance in access to information, counselling and legal fields; and assistance in human resource development.
  • Regarding incubators, technical facilities, coworking areas, and business investment enterprises and organizations joining the distribution chain of products manufactured in Vietnam having at least 80% of members that are SMEs are entitled to more investment incentives, in which:
    • Remission of land rental, land use fees and the non – agricultural land use tax in accordance with regulations of law;
    • Remission of corporate income tax for a limited period of time in accordance with regulations of law on corporate income tax; and
    • Micro-enterprises and small enterprises will be given priority during contractor selection in accordance with regulations of law on bidding.

2| National Office of Intellectual Property (“NOIP”) issues the Notification on assistance for international registration of patents for individuals

In the scope of the Intellectual Property Development Program from 2016 to 2020, on May 15th, 2020, NOIP had issued Notification No. 5360/SHTT-NĐHT on recording the subjects entitled to support on international registration by the NOIP and the contents to be supported, namely:

Regarding subjects to be supported

Individuals who are Vietnamese being the application owner satisfies the following requirements:

  • Being eligible for patent protection requirements;
  • Being applicable in production and business activities;
  • Having not yet been received fund from the State Budget for international patent registration; and
  • Submited patent applications at the NOIP in the period from August 15th, 2019 to May 15th, 2020.

Regarding the contents to be supported

  • Consulting, guiding the general procedures, regulations and documents for submitting an international registration application for patent;
  • Adjusting the document description when submitting in the international phase and translate such Description into English;
  • Preparing documents, filling in the form as prescribed by law;
  • Industrial property representation fee in Vietnam; and
  • Submitting the patent registration to the International Registration of Patents according to the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) in the international phrase.

Support fund

Support 70% of the total fund for submitting patent applications in the form of PCT filing in the international phase (maximum VND 60 million / solution). The remaining funding shall be borne by the individual participating.

Download Legal Updates as a PDF here.


[Hanbook] Cross-Border M&A Activities In Vietnam: A Glance In Hospitality Sector

Thanks to a qualified and reasonable human resource, a high urbanization rate as well as a strategic location in the center of Southeast Asia, Vietnam is becoming well-known as a manufacturing hub, growing consumer market and access to a vast marketplace. All these attributes make investing in Vietnam interesting. Correspondingly, the Vietnamese M&A market has grown at an impressive rate in terms of both the numbers of transactions and the deal value, especially in the hospitality sector.

By our experience and evaluation in the progress of advisory for the clients who are the tourism real estate development and operating companies in Vietnam, one of the trends and also is the preferred choice of many current investors and especially foreign investors, they would choose the investment options through M&A implementation in many different ways and methods to carry out investment activities in tourism real estate project in Vietnam.

This handbook will summarize some brief information and legal framework related to a M&A deal in the hospitality sector.

See more handbook as a PDF here.


[Legal Updates] The Decision promulgated by The Prime Minister on the implementation of assistance policies for people affected by Covid-19 pandemic

1| The Decision promulgated by The Prime Minister on the implementation of assistance policies for people affected by Covid-19 pandemic

On April 24th, 2020 the Prime Minister promulgated the Decision No. 15/2020/QĐ-TTg on implementation of assistance policies for people affected by Covid-19 pandemic (hereinafter referred to as “Decision 15“), which specifies the contents of the Resolution No. 42/NQ-CP to help people affected by Covid-19 pandemic (hereinafter referred to as “Resolution 42“), in which:

  • Regulating six categories to be applied financial assistance policies, including: (1) Impacted employees; (2) Impacted employers; (3) Household businesses with revenue under 100 million VND per year; (4) People with meritorious service to the country; (5) Social protection beneficiaries; and (6) Poor and near-poor households according to the national poverty standards.
  • Stating the financial assistance amount and procedures to help employees and employers affected by Covid-19 pandemic with the following main contents:

Incentives for employees

(1) Financial assistance of VND 1.800.000 per month

  • Employees whose labor contract is temporarily suspended or have to take unpaid leave for a month or above because their employers are not making any revenue or do not have adequate funds to pay wages due to the impact Covid-19 pandemic. The assistance duration is applicable for a maximum period of up to three months beginning from April 01st, 2020.
  • Dossiers and procedures for implementation are prescribed in Decision 15, accordingly:
    • The enterprise shall compile a list of employees whose labor contract is temporarily suspended or has to take unpaid leave; and request the internal trade union (if any) and the social insurance authority to verify the list.
    • After the social insurance authority send the enterprise confirmations of the employees’ participation in social insurance according to Clause 2 Article 1 of the Decision 15/2020 (within 03 working days), the enterprise shall submit the application to the People’s Committee of the district where the enterprise is headquartered.

(2) Financial assistance of VND 1.000.000 per month

  • Employees whose labor contract and employment contract are terminated but are not eligible for unemployment allowance or that work without a labor contract and have lost their jobs.
  • For implementation procedure, employees submit the application form provided in the Appendix hereof to People’s Committee of the commune. For the employees working without a labor contract and having lost their jobs, the duration for submitting is after the 15th every month.
  • The employee who has a permanent residence in one province and temporary residence in another may claim assistance in either province and obtain a confirmation that he/she has not claimed assistance in the other province from the People’s Committee of the commune in the latter province.

Incentives for employers

  • Employers that have been affected by Covid-19 and have already paid at least 50 percent of salary for work suspension to their employees according to Paragraph 3 Article 98 of the Labor Code from April to June 2020 can borrow a loan with zero percent interest, collateral-free from the Vietnam Bank for Social Policies for a maximum term period of 12 months in order to pay the unpaid wage and disbursed monthly to pay the suspended employees. The lending rate up to 50 percent of total region-based minimum wages of individual suspended employees over the actual period of wage payment but not exceeding 3 months.
  • For the implementation procedures, by the 5th every month, employers that wish to obtain the loan shall submit the application to the People’s Committee of the district where the branch, representative office, business location or residence (for household business and individual business) is located.

2| The State Bank of Vietnam (“SBV”) submitted the Prime Minister the Decision on implementation of a pilot project on Mobile Money for approval

At the Meeting between the Prime Minister and the business community on May 09th, 2020, the Governor of the SBV Le Minh Hung said that the SBV submitted the Prime Minister the Decision on implementation of pilot project of utilizing telecommunication accounts to make small payments (Mobile Money). Previously, the State Bank of Viet Nam built the Draft Decree amending Decree No. 101/2012/ND-CP of the Government on non-cash payments (Hereinafter referred to as “Amending Draft Decree” and posted it publicly to take wide comments from people, businesses, with the following main contents regarding to Mobile Money:

  • Mobile money is defined as electronic money issued by an intermediary payment service provider providing telecommunications services and identifying customers through a mobile subscriber database. Based on this definition, Mobile Money is a combination of cryptocurrencies and using a mobile technical platform to make financial transactions, using a mobile subscriber database to identify customers.

Differ from two types of prepaid cards and digital wallets, Mobile Money is issued by intermediary telecommunications service providers (such as VNPT, Viettel, MobiFone) and may not be connected with bank account, mainly for making payment transactions, money transfers with small transaction value.

  • The Ministry of Information and Communications and SBV are expected to license Mobile Money deployments in June this year. Accordingly, all three big telecommunications service providers, Viettel, MobiFone and VNPT, said that they also have prepared projects to submit to the relevant state authorities after the Prime Minister officially agrees to allow the Mobile Money deployments.

Download Legal Updates as a PDF here.