With respect to proposed laws, ordinances, decrees and other regulations and measures issued by the National Assembly and the Government pertaining to or affecting trade in goods, services, and intellectual property, Viet Nam would provide a reasonable period, i.e., no less than 60 days, for Members, individuals, associations and enterprises to provide comments to the appropriate authorities before such measures are adopted. The Government would take into account any comments received during the period for commenting. .
Excerpts from the Report of the Working Party on the Accession of Vietnam
ACCESSION OF VIET NAM to the World Trade Organization
Report of the Working Party on the Accession of Viet Nam
27 October 2006
509. Some Members requested information on Viet Nam’s implementation of the transparency requirements prescribed in Article X of the GATT 1994, Article III of the GATS and other provisions of the WTO Agreement. These Members asked whether a legal obligation existed in Viet Nam to publish in an official journal all laws, regulations, decrees, judicial decisions and administrative orders or rulings of general application or other measures having similar effect relating to trade or economic policy “in such a manner as to enable governments and traders to become acquainted with them”. . These Members further inquired as to what extent publication occurred prior to entry into force, and whether any such measures could enter into force without being published in the Official Gazette.
510. The representative of Viet Nam said that provisions on publication of legal acts and the opportunity for public comment had been included in the Law on the Enactment of Legal Normative Documents of 12 November 1996 together with its amendment approved by the National Assembly on 16 December 2002. Detailed rules and procedures had been established through Government Decree No. 161/2005/ND-CP of 27 December 2005 implementing the Law on the Enactment of Legal Normative Documents, Government Decree No. 104/2004/ND-CP on the Official Gazette, Circular No. 04/2005/TT-VPCP guiding the implementation of Decree No. 104/2004/ND-CP, and the Prime Minister’s Directive No. 28/2001/CT-TTg of 28 November 2001 on the Continuous Improvement of the Business Environment.
511. The general procedures for soliciting public comment on draft legal instruments were laid down in Articles 40, 62, 65, 66 and 70 of the Law on the Enactment of Legal Normative Documents (as amended). In practice, the drafting entities circulated the draft legal instruments to organizations and individuals potentially affected by them or published the drafts in newspapers to elicit comments from the general public. Articles 62.2 and 65.4 of the amended Law on the Enactment of Legal Normative Documents required the Office of the Government to publish draft Government Resolutions and Decrees, and Decisions and Instructions of the Prime Minister, on the Internet or in mass media for comments by agencies, organizations and individuals. There was no specialized website for the publication of draft legal documents; draft legal documents were published on the website of the responsible Ministry and drafting agency, i.e., on the Ministry of Planning and Investment’s website for documents related to investment (www.mpi.gov.vn), on the Ministry of Trade’s website for documents concerning trade rules and regulations (www.mot.gov.vn), and on the Ministry of Finance’s website for documents on tax and finance (www.mof.gov.vn). A number of draft documents were also published on the website of the Ministry of Justice (www.moj.gov.vn). Drafting entities could also organize workshops and seminars to discuss the drafts with those interested. He noted that Directive No. 28/2001/CT-TTg required ministries and agencies to seek comments from the business community through the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the drafting of any policies or rules affecting business operations. Draft legal documents affecting the business community were published on the Internet site of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (http://www.vibonline.com.vn).
512. The obligation to seek the opinions of those directly affected by the legal documents, and the possibility to take account of these opinions in the drafting process, was laid down in Articles 3, 26.4 and 61.4 of the amended Law on the Enactment of Legal Normative Documents. Article 3.3 of the Law required the drafting agency to synthesize, analyze and evaluate the comments received and, as necessary, to propose adjustments to the original draft. The comments received by the drafting agency were attached to the draft legal instrument when forwarded to the appropriate decision-making body. .
518. The representative of Viet Nam confirmed that from the date of accession his Government would fully implement Article X of the GATT 1994, Article III of the GATS and the other WTO transparency requirements, including those requiring notification, prior comment and publication. As such, all laws, regulations, decrees, judicial decisions and administrative rulings of general application pertaining to or affecting customs issues , trade in goods, services, intellectual property and the control of foreign exchange would be published promptly in a manner that fulfills the WTO requirements, and no such laws, regulations, decrees, judicial decisions and administrative rulings of general application would become effective or be enforced prior to such publication, except for those regulations, judicial decisions and administrative rulings of general application, and other measures involving national emergency or security, or for which publication would impede law enforcement. To this end, he further confirmed that Viet Nam would, as of the date of accession, establish or designate an official journal or website for each of the topics (or an aspect of a topic) identified above, dedicated to the publication, prior to their entry into force, of all regulations, decisions, orders, and administrative rulings of general application, pertaining to or affecting that topic. Such journals or websites would be updated on a regular basis, notified to the WTO, and readily available to WTO Members, individuals, associations and enterprises. The websites or journals where these measures would be published are listed in Table 23. The publication of such regulations and other measures would include, as appropriate, the following: (i) the names of the authorities (including contact points) responsible for implementing a particular measure; and (ii) the effective date of the measure. The representative of Viet Nam confirmed that with respect to proposed laws, ordinances, decrees and other regulations and measures issued by the National Assembly and the Government pertaining to or affecting trade in goods, services, and intellectual property, Viet Nam would provide a reasonable period, i.e., no less than 60 days, for Members, individuals, associations and enterprises to provide comments to the appropriate authorities before such measures are adopted. The Government would take into account any comments received during the period for commenting. The only exceptions to this opportunity for comment would be for those regulations and other measures involving national emergency or security, or for which publication would impede law enforcement. The Working Party took note of these commitments.
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Full Sections on “Transparency”
Source Documents: WTO Agenda, Nov 6, 2006
Posted: Jan 27, 2013. Updated: May 3, 2013.