Several Noted Points on Law Competition of 2018

Vietnam Law Competition has been adopted and will be effective on July 1st, 2019. The competition law of 2018 has changed in comparison with the Law on Competition 2004.  Theses changes are fundamental which enterprises should be aware of when entering into Vietnam through M&A activities. Competition lawyer should be consulted for update and development to avoid non-compliance.

Firstly, the Competition Law 2018 gave up regulations on the limit of acts of economic concentration. Accordingly, Article 30 prohibits an enterprise from conducting economic concentration that has the potential to cause significant adverse effects on competition in the Vietnamese market. Contrary to previous regulations, Competition Law 2004 prohibits economic concentration if the combined market share of enterprises participating in economic concentration accounted for more than 50% in the relevant market.

Secondly, the Competition Law 2018 under Article 112 provides clemency policy for enterprises violating competition regulations. Accordingly, enterprises which voluntarily declare to help the National Competition Committee detect, investigate and deal with prohibited competition restriction acts will be exempted or reduced penalties according to the leniency policy. The leniency policy is applicable to no more than three first enterprises applying for leniency to the National Competition Commission.

Thirdly, unlike the Competition Law 2004, the Competition Law 2018 specifies the maximum fine for violations of competition law.

For organization:

– Violating regulations on the acts of economic concentration: a maximum fine of 5% of the total turnover of the business on the relevant market.

– Violating regulations on unfair competition: a fine of up to VND 2 billion

– Violation of other regulations: up to 200 million VND.

For individual, the fine level is 50% of the organization’s level.

Fourth, on threshold of economic concentration.The Competition Law 2004 stipulated that for centrally-run enterprises with a market share of between 30% and 50% in the relevant market, the competition authority must notify the competition authority before conducting the economic concentration. At present, the Competition Law 2018 is not regulated specifically as above, but only the notification threshold of economic concentration is determined based on one of four criteria as following:

– Total assets on the Vietnamese market of enterprises participating in economic concentration;

-The total turnover in the Vietnamese market of enterprises participating in economic concentration;

– Transaction value of economic concentration;

– Market share in the relevant market of enterprises participating in economic concentration.

Finally, new regulation on the time limit for dealing with a breach of competition law. Previously, to solve and deal with cases of economic concentration violation, it is necessary to undertake a preliminary investigation and formal investigation. In particular, the preliminary investigation is 30 days; formal investigation is 60 days with unfair competition; 180 days with the agreement restriction competition, economic concentration. Competition Law 2018 no longer stipulates two phases of the above investigation, but only that the investigation period is 09 months for restricted competition; 90 days with economic concentration; 60 days with unfair competition cases.

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