Final draft of Competition Law debated in Ha Noi, HCMC
Ho Chi Minh City - Viet Nam’s Competition Law should strive to help the country build a healthy environment for competition and prevent anti-competitive practices, according to Deputy Minister of Trade Dr. Le Danh Vinh, who opened this morning’s workshop on the latest draft Competition Law in Ho Chi Minh City.
Together with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the Ministry of Trade has organized workshops in Ha Noi and Ho Chi Minh City to gather Vietnamese policymakers, entrepreneurs, international experts, and representatives from the donor community to discuss the drafting and implementation of the Competition Law. The finalized law will be submitted to the National Assembly in April of this year.
The Deputy Minister also attended last week’s two-day workshop held in Ha Noi. At that meeting, he stressed that “Viet Nam moved to a market economy not so long ago, and started examining competition law in 2000; so for Viet Nam, competition is a new and complicated issue. Furthermore, in the context of economic integration, the efforts of one single country are not enough- in the age of globalization, anti-competitive practices can have international impacts. Therefore, it is essential to enhance international cooperation in building and implementing competition policy.”
Much like the drafting processes of other national laws in recent years, the Competition Law Drafting Committee has utilized forums such as the current workshops to establish an institutional framework for the law’s implementation, and build support for its final passage.
The specific objective of the latest round of workshops is to solicit opinions from officials and experts in both Ha Noi and HCMC on ways to identify noncompetitive practices in Viet Nam, and explore how the final law can remedy them. Additionally, the workshops are designed to give international commentators the opportunity to share experiences related to competition law implementation, with the expectation that salient issues will be considered in the final draft.
Addressing the workshop in Ha Noi, UNDP Resident Representative Mr. Jordan Ryan noted that the law “is crucial for the economic development of Viet Nam; it is another instrument in support the creation of a level playing field for all economic actors in society. Effective competition law also addresses corporate governance issues and will be closely linked with SOE reform and FDI strategy. All these policies will contribute to achieving the national goals of accelerated growth and sustainable development.”
Many observers view the Competition Law as a watershed in Viet Nam’s course towards more efficient and rule-based business practices. Yet several challenges remain, including the establishment of a Competition Authority in Viet Nam, the development of a more competition-oriented business culture, the formation of strong consumer groups that could dispute uncompetitive practices, and the promotion of an independent and capable judiciary to deal with competition cases.
According to Mr. Ryan, these challenges are not insurmountable, and “building capacity and expertise to implement the Competition Law is a good investment for Viet Nam. Competitiveness is an end in itself- with Viet Nam’s economic position enhanced, its ability to deliver on the Millennium Development Goals is strengthened. As always, the UNDP is ready to cooperate with the government and all development partners to support Viet Nam’s economic and administrative reform process.”
Like the Ha Noi meeting, the HCMC workshop will last for two days. After tomorrow afternoon’s conclusion, the Competition Law Drafting Committee is expected to consider all of the workshop discussions and findings as it finalizes the last draft for submission to the National Assembly in April.