Foreign owned companies in Vietnam wishing to import and distribute physical goods into Vietnam must comply with many regulations. It is imperative that the right to conduct import business of foreign investors and FDI companies differ from the right of Vietnamese traders having no foreign direct investment capital because trading activities are considered conditional investment area.

  1. General Principles of Imported Goods

In principle, as other countries, the importers have to follow the general rules when importing and distributing physical goods into Vietnam:

  1. Not to import goods specified under the list of goods banned from import or suspended from import provided, published by Vietnam government;
  2. Follow the guideline or import regulations and conditions required by ministries and ministerial-level agencies. There are specific conditions for importing certain goods which the importers have to follow i.e. certain medical equipment have to be approved by the Ministry of Health; Food, cosmetics products need to be testedReceiving and transmitting telecom equipment must be inspected by Ministry of Information and Communication; Books, CDs will be checked and scanned for contents to be approved by Ministry of Cultures, Sport and Tourism; Equipment must satisfy energy, environmental regulations to be inspected and labeled by Ministry of Science and Technology...
  3. Implement other relevant laws, commitments of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in treaties which it has signed or acceded to, and the roadmap announced by the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
  1. Goods Prohibited to Be Imported into Vietnam
  1. For the goods being banned to be imported and distributed in Vietnam, the importers have to follow strictly to avoid penalties:
  2. Weapons, ammunitions, explosives (excluding industrial explosives), military technical equipment.
  3. Assorted fireworks, sky lanterns, assorted devices causing interference to vehicle speedometers.
  4. Used consumer goods: Textiles and garments, footwear, clothes; Electronic appliances; Refrigerating appliances; Home electric appliances; Medical equipment; Interior decoration goods;
  5. Assorted publications banned from dissemination and circulation in Vietnam
  6. Assorted cultural publications banned from dissemination and circulation or decided to be suspended from dissemination and circulation in Vietnam.
  7. Right-hand drive means of transport; assorted automobiles and their spare parts which have their frame or engine numbers erased, modified or tampered with; Assorted motorcycles, special-use motorbikes and motorbikes which have their frame or engine numbers erased, modified or tampered with
  8. Used supplies and vehicles
  9. Chemicals in Annex III of the Rotterdam Convention.
  10. Pesticides banned from use in Vietnam.
  11. Wastes and scraps, refrigerating equipment using C.F.C.
  12. Products and materials containing asbestos of the amphibole group
  13. Schedule-I toxic chemicals; Chemicals on the list of banned chemicals

It is important for foreign trader wishing to establish a trading company in Vietnam to not only study the market demand in Vietnam but also the country's law on import, export, customs law to ensure their compliance during the operation. If doubted, the Client is suggested to reach out for help and advisory of law firm in Vietnam by qualified lawyers in the area of import, export and customs.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.