On 10 February 2023, the Government of Vietnam issued the new Decree No. 03/2023/NĐ-CP on regulating the functions, duties, powers and organizational structure of the Vietnam Competition Commission (“Decree 03”). Decree 03 will take effect on 1 April 2023.
Decree 03 provides the following new key regulations:
The official English name of the authority will be the Vietnam Competition Commission (VCC). Meanwhile, the Vietnamese name is “Uy Ban Canh Tranh Quoc Gia”.
The VCC shall take over the role of the Vietnam Competition and Consumer Authority (VCCA) in the state management of competition matters under the Competition Law once Decree 03 comes into effect.
Since Competition Law No. 23/2018/QH14 (“Competition Law”) was passed back in 2018, the VCC was mandated as the leading authority responsible for the state management of competition matters under the Competition Law. However, there have been no further developments as to the establishment of this authority until recently, nearly four years after the Competition Law came into effect.
Specifically, on 10 February 2023, the Government of Vietnam issued Decree 03.
The VCC’s organizational structure shall consist of 15 officers, including one president and several vice presidents,1 and the headquarters shall be located in Hanoi.2 Within the VCC’s organizational structure will be the following departments:
Competition investigation agency
Secretariats of councils dealing with competition cases
Competition supervision board
Other units established under the VCC to perform the function of state management of competition, protection of consumers’ interests and management of multi-level marketing activities3
Pursuant to Decree 03, the VCC is tasked with handling competition proceedings in accordance with the Competition Law, controlling economic concentration activities, handling requests for exemptions and appeals of settlement decisions of competition cases, and performing the tasks of state management of competition, protection of consumers’ interests and management of multi-level marketing activities as prescribed by law.4
As for the operation of the current authority, the VCCA, pursuant to Decree No. 96/2022/ND-CP on the functions, tasks, powers and organizational structure of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Vietnam (MOIT), the VCCA will continue to perform its functions and duties in accordance with current legal regulations until the Government stipulates the functions, tasks, powers and organizational structure of the VCC.5 Accordingly, by operation of law, once Decree 03 has taken effect (i.e., 1 April 2023), the VCCA’s functions shall cease.
Decree 03 shall also supersede Decree No. 07/2015/ND-CP dated 16 January 2015 on the functions, tasks, powers and organizational structure of the previous Vietnam Competition Council (i.e., “Hoi Dong Canh Tranh” in Vietnamese), and Decision No. 24/2015/QD-TTg dated 30 June 2015 of the Prime Minister promulgating the regulation on organization and operation of the Vietnam Competition Council.
Under Decree 03, the VCC shall also be edited into relevant provisions under Decree No. 40/2018/ND-CP on the management of multi-level marketing activities, Decree 99/2011/ND-CP detailing and guiding the implementation of a number of articles of the Law on Protection of Consumer Rights, and Decree 54/2020/ND-CP amending and supplementing a number of articles of Decree No. 127/2015/ND-CP on the organization and operation of inspection activities in the industry and trade sector.
The long-awaited arrival of the VCC also means that we can expect to see more enforcement activities by the competition regulators, not only within the area of merger control, but also the enforcement of regulations on anti-competitive agreements and abuse of market dominance.
The full Vietnamese text of Decree 03 can be found here.
1 Article 4, Decree 03.
2 Article 4, Decree 03.
3 Article 5, Decree 03.
4 Article 2, Decree 03.
5 Article 5, Decree No. 96/2022/ND-CP issued by the government on the functions, tasks, powers and organizational structure of the MOIT, dated 29 November 2022.