Insights / Updates

Stay up to date with legal developments in Vietnam.

What's New

Signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement by 15 Asia-Pacific Countries

On 15 November 2020, the ten member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations ("ASEAN") – Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam – in conjunction with Australia, China, Japan, South Korea, and New Zealand, signed the world's largest free trade agreement to date, known as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership ("RCEP") Agreement.

Representing the culmination of eight years of negotiations, the RCEP builds on existing bilateral FTAs among the 15 RCEP Participating Countries ("RPCs"). Together, the RPCs account for about 30% of global gross domestic product and close to a third of the world's population. It signals the RPCs' strong commitment to maintaining open and connected supply chains; broadens individual RPCs' economic linkages and connectivity with the region; and gives them preferential access to the region's growing markets.

We provide an overview of the features of the RCEP below, which improves on the existing ASEAN Plus One agreement in four key areas:

1. comprehensive trade facilitation measures;

2. improved market access for Trade in Services;

3. enhanced investment rules and disciplines; and

4. expanded scope and commitments.

Decision 11/2019/QD-PQTT: The Hanoi Court's Setting Aside of a Vietnamese Arbitral Award

On 14 November 2019, the People’s Court of Hanoi passed Decision 11/2019/QD-PQTT to set aside an arbitral award under Vietnam’s Law on Commercial Arbitration 2010. The setting aside was based on three grounds:

  1. The tribunal's decision to change the location of the hearing venue, which was a departure from the parties' original agreement reached during the arbitration;
  2. The tribunal's reliance on the IBA Rules on the Taking of Evidence with regard to the Respondent's witness evidence; and
  3. The tribunal's failure to embark on its own assessment of the quantum of damages, instead relying solely on the Claimants' expert evidence.

This decision is a departure from the court's recent strong track record in upholding the enforceability of Vietnamese awards, particularly those rendered under the Arbitration Rules of the Vietnam International Arbitration Centre.

New Decree against Spam

On 14 August 2020, the Government issued Decree No. 91/2020/ND-CP on anti-spam text messages, emails and calls ("Decree 91"). Decree 91 will take effect from 1 October 2020 and replace Decree No. 90/2008/ND-CP against spam ("Decree 90"). Unlike its predecessor, Decree 91 now explicitly captures phone calls within the scope of spam.