With the aim of expanding autonomy for investors, improving the investment environment in the direction of transparency, and increasing benefits for investors and businesses, recently, the Ministry of Planning and Investment held a workshop to collect comments from experts and foreign investors to amend and complete the Investment Law. An insight given by the Vietnam Business Forum - the weekly magazine of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

According to Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Dang Huy Dong, the draft of the Investment Law was built on the basis of perfecting mechanisms and policies, creating a clear legal framework, creating strong transition procedures in the implementation of investment projects; resolving the difficulties in investing activities of the enterprises, improving the effectiveness and efficiency of state management of investment activities; creating a legal basis to consolidate, strengthen incentives and protection of foreign investment.

After 8 years in practice, although the 2005 Investment Law has expanded autonomy and improved the business environment, some contents of this law have revealed inadequacies such as: the areas which are encouraged in the Law are quite spreading, inconsistent and not really focused on attracting investment projects with high quality and efficiency; the regulations on investment procedures and project implementation are still complicated.

According to Quach Ngoc Tuan, Deputy Director of Legal Affairs, Permanent Editorial Team of the Draft Law, the scopes of the amended law include: investment activities in Vietnam and investment from Vietnam to foreign countries; rights and obligations of investors; investment policies, incentives and guarantees and the state management for investment activities. Thereby, there are 5 major contents to be amended and need to obtain comments from the experts.

On the concept of foreign investors, defining this concept is an important basis for the application of investment procedures and conditions for foreign investors in accordance with domestic law and international treaties. However, in the workshop, many experts suggested that the concept of "enterprises with foreign owned capital comprise any enterprise established by a foreign investor" is not specific. It should clearly define the capital ratio of foreign investors in enterprise for it to be considered an enterprise with foreign owned capital.

Regarding procedures to establish enterprises and investment projects, in the draft revised law, fundamental rules of procedure to implement investment projects are amended towards clearly defining requirements of investors in the process of preparing for investment and responsibility of local authorities in providing information about land planning and construction.

Representative of Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group (PVN) said that the amendment of the Investment Law is at a very reasonable time as localities and businesses are waiting for foreign investment. Even PVN is no exception. However, at this point, there are still problems at the stage of business registration or granting investment certificate.

On the concept of investment fields and investment incentives, the draft amended law also affirmed the principle of equal treatment between domestic and foreign investors. In addition, the draft continues to expand, encourage investment projects using high technology, new technology, environmental protection, production and use of clean energy, investing in agriculture - rural, farming, forestry, fisheries and development projects of education, training, health care, etc.

For overseas investment, under the current Investment Law and Decree 78/2006/ND-CP, depending on the size of investment capital, certificate for overseas investment serves as a business registration or under the investigation of overseas investment projects associated with the establishment of legal persons abroad.

But the Draft Law amended and supplemented a number of articles such as confirming investors must be responsible for the operational efficiency of investment, additional investment activities abroad which are encouraged such as market expansion, exploitation of natural resources in invested country, supplying raw materials for domestic production, and applying overseas investment registration procedures in the foreign exchange management bodies.

"Domestic investment and overseas investment are separate issues. Because Vietnam cannot apply its law when a corporation exports capital abroad. However, we need to closely manage this capital," stated Professor Nguyen Mai.

According to many participants, the integrated one-stop shop mechanism is implemented at the local level only in the stage of receiving and returning administrative results, but in fact investors must file documents with many different specialised agencies of the provincial People's Committee.

Survey results show that investors must perform an average of 18 procedures related to land, construction, deployment environment for investment projects. Many businesses also said that procedures in construction and land are the most cumbersome barriers.

Currently, the project of Investment Law amendment is included in the programme to build laws and ordinances of the National Assembly in 2014 to consult. Lawmakers will soon approve to enact this important Law to create the basis for increasing funding to attract foreign investment and motivate economic development in the future.-VNA