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Ministry tightens food advertising laws

Update: March, 27/2013 - 10:23

The regulations on advertisements for food under the management of the Ministry of Health are promulgated under the Circular 08/2013/TT-BYT dated March 13, 2013 (Circular 08).

According to Circular 08, food that must be registered includes functional food; micronutrient-fortified food; mineral water; bottled water; food additives, food processing aids; food packaging materials during food preparation, production, and trade.

Along with the prohibited acts under the Law on Advertisements, Circular 08 provides for several special prohibited acts, for instance, advertising foods in the form of articles written by doctors, pharmacists or medical workers claiming that certain food can treat diseases; and using the images, reputation and documents from health agencies and medical workers, and gratitude letters written by patients, to advertise foods.

The advertisement content must be in compliance with Article 4 of Circular 08. In particular, advertisements for functional foods must include the statement that "This product is not a medicine or a substitute for medicine". The font is Times New Roman, Size 14. The dialogue must be readable under normal conditions.

To be granted a certification of food advertisement content with respect to functional food and micronutrient-fortified food, organisations or individuals must submit their dossiers in accordance with Article 6 of Circular 08 to the Viet Nam Food Administration.

Regarding dossiers on bottled water, mineral water, food additives, food processing aids, and food packing materials, during production, processing and trade of food under the appointment of the Ministry of Health, organisations or individuals shall submit the dossier to the Food Safety and Hygiene Offices.

Food Safety And Hygiene Offices certify applications to hold seminars to introduce foods under the management of health agencies. They also certify food advertisements under the management of other ministries and sectors if they claim health effects.

Circular 08 also provides for seminars on food introduction under Articles 8 and 9.

Circular 08 takes effect on April 26.

New Circular on gold bar trading in the domestic market

On March 12, 2013, the State Bank of Viet Nam issued Circular No. 06/2013/TT-NHNN guiding gold bullion trading in the domestic market.

The Circular guides the trading of gold bullion between the State Bank and credit institutions and enterprises licensed to trade gold bullion.

Accordingly, the only kind of gold bullion which is allowed to be traded in the market is 99.99% pure in the type of one tael produced by the State Bank or with the State Bank's permission.

Gold bullion is traded through direct trading or tendering. When licensed credit institutions or enterprises want gold bars from the State Bank, they can submit a registration dossier to establish trading relations.

Also, under the new Circular, each credit institution or enterprise is allowed to register at most 03 representatives for trading. However, credit institutions and businesses are allowed to appoint only one representative according to the registered list of representatives to participate in each gold trading with the State Bank.

The Circular took effect from March 13.

Tax extension for enterprises to overcome difficulties

On February 8 2013 the Ministry of Finance issued Circular No. 16/2013/TT-BTC ("Circular 13"), guiding implementation of the Government's Resolution No. 02/NQ-CP of January 7 2013 on a number of solutions to difficulties for businesses in production, market support and settlement of bad debts, with the following material content.

Circular 16 repeats the regulations on prolonging the duration of enterprise income tax payment for six months, applying to payable enterprise income tax amounts of quarter I and prolonging the duration of enterprise income tax payments for three months, applying to payable enterprise income tax amounts from quarter II and quarter III of 2013.

In addition, Circular 16 also stipulates more details:

(i) In the case of a small or medium-sized enterprise, being a company organised under the model of mother company-subsidiary company, and these companies meeting labour criterion (having less than 200 employees working full-time) and have a revenue in 2012 not exceeding VND20 billion (almost US$1million) and not doing business in fields not permitted to prolong tax payment time limits, such enterprise shall be subject to being entitled to prolong their CIT payment time limit;

(ii) In case an enterprise with more than 300 persons, organised under the model of mother company-subsidiary companies, the labour quantity as the basis for defining a mother company subject to being entitled to prolonged tax payment time limit shall exclude employees of subsidiary companies and vice versa;

(iii) The payable CIT amounts arising from quarter I, quarter II and quarter III in 2013 of enterprises being subject to being entitled to prolong tax payments are temporarily calculating CIT amounts of quarter I, quarter II and quarter III in 2013.

Furthermore, Circular 16 also stipulates the regulations and further guides on prolonging for six months the value added tax payment time limit for payable VAT amounts arising in January, February and March of 2013 with the following details:

(i) The prolonged VAT amounts exclude VAT amounts payable at import stage;

(ii) An enterprise defined as small or medium-sized which has branches or affiliated units located in provinces other than place where its head office is located (excluding units operating extra-provincial mobile construction, installation or goods sale business temporarily calculating VAT under a rate of 1% or 2%), and implemented the separate VAT declaration to the direct tax administration agencies of branches, affiliated units are subject to being entitled to prolong the VAT payment time limit;

(iii) If an enterprise subject to being entitled to prolong the VAT payment time limit has declared and paid the VAT amount arising in January 2013, it is required to implement a declaration for supplementation and adjustment. After declaration and adjustment, if it has paid too much tax, it is entitled to offset it against VAT payable for another activity or the next taxation period, or it can suggest a tax refund.

Circular 16 takes effect on March 25.

New Circular on special control over credit institutions.

On January 14, 2013, the State Bank issued Circular No.07/2013/TT-NHNN (Circular 07) stipulating special control vis-a-vis credit institutions.

Circular 07 is overall and provides some specific cases in more detail, in comparison with Circular No. 08/2010/TT-NHNN dated March 18 2013 stipulating special control vis-a-vis credit institutions and Decision No.92/2001/QD/NHNN dated February 8 2001, issuing regulations on special control over people's credit fund.

Unlike Circular No.08/2010/TT-NHNN, Circular 07 does not set out specific conditions (including: it runs the risk of default, irrevocable debts are in danger of default, the accumulative loss of the credit institution is greater than 50% of the total of actual charter capital and fund) to put a credit institution into special control, but rather provides a general regulation that "based on actual finance, risk level and law violations of credit institution, the State Bank shall consider putting a credit institution in special control, in the form of special supervision, or overall control".

Furthermore, the concept of "special control" under the new Circular includes one additional case that is "material violation of law causing a risk of losing operation safety" next to the two cases which are provided in the previous Circular (Circular 08/2010/TT-NHNN), including "running a risk of default" and "running a risk of insolvency".

According to the previous Circular, the maximum term of special control is two years since the effective date of the Governor's Decision on putting credit institution into special control. The new Circular, however, does not set forth specifically, thereby "the term of special control shall be decided by the State Bank Governor in the Decision on special control".

Besides, the new Circular still retains most of the provisions of the previous Circular. The new Circular shall replace the previous one, Decision No. 92/2001/QD-NHNN, and takes effect as of April 27, 2013.


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