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Import regulations and customs duties  - Distribution - Transportation of goods - Standards - Patents and brands

Import regulations and customs duties

External trade is strongly controlled by the government. However, trade tends to get more and more liberalised. Most of the goods and products are freely imported and exported.
As in most of the countries, the export and import of certain products is prohibited : fire arms, ammunitions, narcotics, toxic chemical products, precious and rare plants, animals, high value antiques. Moreover, in order to curb deforestation, wood and reduced. Other products are definitely forbidden to import: cigarettes and second-hand products (except some vehicles).
The goods subject to quotas are as follows: rice and textile, meant for export to the European Union, Canada and Norway; automobiles, petrol, fertilisers and sugar for import. Then, the services subject to control by their Ministry are telecommunication equipment, medicines, vaccines, insecticides, books and other cultural goods.
In order to avoid fierce competition in the import of capital goods, the government limits the delivery of consumer articles (20% of the total value of the imports).


Customs duties
Customs duties are levied on imported or exported goods. They are especially levied on imports and on small items of exports in general on which modest export duties are levied.




Before, the distribution network was under the State authority having the monopoly in this field. The role of the State is gradually diminishing : In fact, now there is only one State-owned supermarket in Hanoļ and some small State businesses in the entire country. The trade centres in Hanoļ and Ho Chi Minh City are numerous and the goods that are sold there are very much diversified : art objects, fashion items and confection, beauty products, silk items, leather goods, books and newspapers, food products and drinks... etc. There are also covered markets selling food products, household goods ... and in the biggest ones cloth, textile, leather goods...
In parallel, small supermarkets, which number is constantly growing, are emerging and developing. The presence and profusion of small craft workshops and street merchants characterises the Vietnamese distribution network. New regulations are being applied to force street merchants to sell their production to wholesalers.
There is currently no franchise in Vietnam, but their appearance is probable. There is no specific legislation concerning license agreements. Moreover, Vietnamese laws restrain the aspects of franchising.
Being aware of the frauds and parallel imports (30 to 35% of the whole imports) that put a break to the use of traditional networks is necessary.


The first standards date from 1963 and since that time 7,000 standards have been registered in the files. The TCVN standards are Vietnamese ones. The State encourages companies to set up standards. The TCVN standards are used as technical criteria for certification of conformity, for registration of quality and for quality control of imported or exported goods.
The QUACERT is the institution competent in the field of certification working under the direction of the Patents Office of the country. The QUACERT is responsible for certification (system, management, product) and disseminates all kinds of information and comprehension concerning quality and management. The certified companies are authorised to use the standard called QUACERT ISO Certification Mark on the letter heads of their mailing paper and / or on their promotion and advertising medium. Today, more than a hundred products are certified.

Patents and brands

Vietnam admits the importance of protecting intellectual rights. Since a few years, the government moreover has taken steps for the protection of these rights. In 1988, Vietnam voted for the laws regarding the protection of trademarks as well as patents. In December 1994, this country introduced a new law regarding copyrights. There is no protection at the moment offered to technology transfers and industrial property rights.
The Vietnamese government has established the National Office of Intellectual Property aimed at reinforcing the legislation in this field.
There are two types of patents in Vietnam: Patents of inventions and innovations (15 years duration).
As for trademarks, Vietnam has a completely different notion regarding their protection. A trademark has to be compulsorily registered in order to ensure its survival. Registration is a long procedure but the cost is quite low. The duration of protection is 10 years. Moreover, Vietnam has signed the Madrid agreement (agreement on International Registration of Trademarks).
So far as copyrights are concerned, two types of rights can be distinguished: the economic rights and the moral rights. On the one hand the author can sell his economic rights but on the other hand he keeps his moral rights intact forever.

Texts currently applying to patents/brands

  Text Date entered into law Period of validity Comment
Patent Industrial property Regulations, Decree No. 63-CP of October 24, 1996 as amended by Decree No. 06/2001/ND-CP of February 1, 2001 : 20 years :
Trademark Industrial property Regulations, Decree No. 63-CP of October 24, 1996 as amended by Decree No. 06/2001/ND-CP of February 1, 2001 : 10 years, renewable for further 10-year periods :
Design Industrial property Regulations, Decree No. 63-CP of October 24, 1996 as amended by Decree No. 06/2001/ND-CP of February 1, 2001 : 5 years, renewable for two further 5-year periods :


Last modified in 2007 - ongoing update
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