HCM CITY (VNS)— "Changes are needed to the Investment and Enterprise laws to eliminate barriers that have prevented businesses from investing in Viet Nam," participants at a roundtable discussion said at a conference held on Wednesday in HCM City.
In the one-day conference, more than 100 representatives from companies, law firms and foreign organisations discussed their proposals for the revised laws.
The conference was organised by the Ministry of Planning and Investment, the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the Viet Nam Investment Forum.
Participants said that the Investment Law, which became effective in 2005, must be revised soon because its provisions overlapped other laws such as the Enterprise Law and the Land Law.
For instance, both the Investment Law and Land Law contain regulations on land priorities.
Other issues of major concern, participants said, were business registration, investment certification and investment examination.
Dau Anh Tuan, head of the VCCI's Legislation Depart-ment, suggested eliminating the Investment Law's regulations on investment registration and examination procedures.
Tuan said that current regulations on the issuance of investment certificates had made management of investment activities ineffective.
Other significant concerns pointed out by lawyers and business representatives attending the conference were the law's unclear concepts about domestic and foreign investors, as well as direct and indirect investment.
They also said that regulations on attracting investors from World Trade Organisation (WTO) members and non-WTO members had confused businesspeople and lawyers.
Due to these shortcomings, several participants said the Investment Law should be revised.
"Revising the Investment Law would help improve administrative procedures. It would also help to create unity among laws," said lawyer Nguyen Viet Khoa, an expert from HCM City Economics University.
In response to his concern, Quach Ngoc Tuan of the Ministry of Planning and Investment said the ministry planned to amend two major issues covered in the law, namely investment procedures and management.
While the Investment Law has sparked doubt and dissent, the Enterprise Law is considered a success, with most attendees at the conference agreeing that the latter had been beneficial for businesses.
However, they noted that the law's weaknesses had begun to emerge because of economic and social changes.
They proposed several new measures, including the expansion of business rights of individuals and organisations and a shorter timeline for business registration.
Do Nhat Hoang, head of the Foreign Investment Agency under the Ministry of Planning and Investment, said:
"It has been seven years since the laws were first issued. It is time now to amend them. All of the ideas discussed here have been valuable, and they will help us with the draft laws that will be submitted to the Government."
The ministry said it would continue to collect ideas from companies and investors, and examine similar experiences in other countries.
The draft is expected to be submitted to the Government by 2013 and might be approved in 2014, according to Hoang. — VNS