Worldwide: Vietnam Guidance On Import Of Used Goods – Relaxation Of Import Duties For Finance Leasing Companies



Circular No. 23/2015/TT-BKHCN on promulgating the import of used machinery, equipment and manufacture lines, issued by the Minister of Science and Technology on November 13 2015 (Circular 23) sets up conditions on the import of Used Equipment. As the conditions of machinery under 10 years of age and in compliance with standards of safety, energy saving and environment protection, were too strict for foreign projects, a list of exemptions approved by competent authorities has been established. Circular 23 needs to be clarified concerning the criteria – of exemption, of compliance with the National Technical Regulations and National Standards – which Used Equipment imported in Vietnam must satisfy.

Three recommendations can be articulated: if the Used Equipment is imported for new or expanded investment projects, the Circular should define precisely the competent authority to issue the certification list and guide the import procedure. Moreover, the Ministry of Science and Technology should promulgate more detailed provisions on safety and energy saving and environment protection. Finally, officials in charge of examination of standards should be dispatched prior to the shipment.

Part 1 of Official Letter 504/TXNK-CST issued by the Import-Export Department of Customs General Department on March 22 2016 (Letter 504) stated that Decree 39/2014/ND-CP of the Government dated 7 may 2014 was not applicable to goods imported by a finance leasing company to an export processing enterprise (EPE). This means that a declaration and the payment of the import duties in compliance with the laws are needed. Nevertheless, Letter 504 points out that the procedure is different from the one to create fixed assets for the EPE. The EPE bears the duty to declare and pay for the import in order to use the finance leasing assets, even though it is already included in the leasing contract and that it should be exempted of it.

An exemption of import duty for the leased equipment imported by an EPE is necessary, as it was stated in the previous Letter 16587/BTC-CTCHQ of the General Customs Department on November 29 2013. Official Letter 4463/BTC-TCHQ issued on April 4 2016 recognizes the effectiveness of Letter 16587 in part, in spite of Letter 504, but its coverage is limited.

In case of agreements to purchase the machinery at the end of the finance leasing, the equipment becomes a fixed asset of the lessee. It is easier to raise the import duty on goods imported to create fixed assets to the EPE. If the procedure to import leasing goods is carried by an EPE, it should be exempted through a Letter amending Letter 504.

The taxes on assets imported for leasing should be equal to those paid when carried by the EPE itself. The applicable Decree 39/2014/ND-CP does not have specific regulations for finance leasing assets contrary to the previous Decree 16/2001/ND-CP. It should be reintroduced so a more practical regulation on import of goods under finance leasing contract prevails.

Another issue deals with the payment of the taxes related to Incoterms' conditions on import of goods into Vietnam's territory. Under Circular 103/2014/TT-BTC guiding the tax liability of foreign entity doing business in Vietnam, a Foreign Contractor Tax (FCT) including Value Added Tax (VAT) on input and output and Corporate Income Tax (CIT) must be applied. Pursuant to the circular, if a foreign entity sells goods under Incoterms rules, it is responsible for any risk relating to goods delivery in Vietnam. Nonetheless, the transportation and delivery of goods is mostly carried out by transportation agencies. The foreign entities do not benefit from transportation but must pay the CIT from the goods and services receivable by the buyer. Moreover, in case of import with a delivery duty paid (DDP) condition, the buyer will pay the VAT output when it should be at the expense of the seller. There may be some difficulties for the buyer to be refunded.

The calculation of the FCT should be reviewed to ensure the true purpose of the FCT : the responsibility of the seller at any risk until the goods are delivered. Besides, regulations for the deduction of VAT import for the seller under DDP conditions should be considered.

One of the concern deals with the restriction on import of used equipment. The provisions of Circular 23 are explicit: machinery over 10 years cannot be imported, unless it constitutes an exemption listed by a competent authority. Through this regulation, importers must provide certificate of the age and manufacturing standard of Used Equipment, facing bigger costs and complications since pieces of Used Equipment can be of different ages.

Besides, this regulation prevents enterprises from repairing their machinery and is not realistic regarding external factors such as: quality of the equipment, time of use, maintenance, repairing conditions etc. A newer but lower quality equipment would be preferred leading to bigger costs of repair, energy and finally to a higher impact on the environment.

Two cases of exemption are stipulated in Circular 23 to import Used Machinery over 10 years of age. The first one is the equipment belonging to an investment project with a decision of the competent authority on investment policies plus an investment registration certificate issued in accordance with the Law on Investment. The second one occurs when an enterprise has to import a piece of machinery older than 10 years, to sustain its manufacturing or business operation. It needs then the cooperation of the Ministry of Science and Technology to consider the firm's proposal and document. More details to implement these procedures should be given.

Outlook on the EVFTA

The FTA is expected to enter into force on January 2018. This agreement will eliminate almost all tariff lines (99%) however, a few steps should be planned in advance for its implementation. For the first six years, 65% of the import duties on EU exports will be liberalized, the remaining duties being eliminated over the next ten years. For a few sensitive products, EU duties will be eliminated over a seven-year period.

These provisions prove the Vietnam's tendency to open to new markets with deeper integration. Thus Vietnam will attract more quality investment from the EU and this will probably impact its legislation and regulations, such as the regulation on import of Used Equipment for instance. Indeed, the cooperation and the proximity with the EU will probably bring closer the Vietnamese and the European Laws.

Most important issues

– With the regulation on Used Equipment, investors may hesitate to invest because of the higher costs induced.

– The taxation deriving from this regulation remains unclear and not quite appropriate.

– The relevant regulations must be amended as the EVFTA will enter into force.

Disclaimer: This Alert has been prepared and published for informational purposes only and is not offered, nor should be construed, as legal advice. For more information, please see the firm's full disclaimer.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:
  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.
  • Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.
    If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here
    If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here

    Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

    Use of

    You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


    Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

    The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


    Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

    • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
    • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
    • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

    Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

    Information Collection and Use

    We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

    We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

    Mondaq News Alerts

    In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


    A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

    Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

    Log Files

    We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


    This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

    Surveys & Contests

    From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


    If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


    From time to time Mondaq may send you emails promoting Mondaq services including new services. You may opt out of receiving such emails by clicking below.

    *** If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here .


    This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

    Correcting/Updating Personal Information

    If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

    Notification of Changes

    If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

    How to contact Mondaq

    You can contact us with comments or queries at

    If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.

    By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions