Monday, 24 Jun 2019

Vietnam to delay voting on controversial SEZ draft law

Updated at Saturday, 09 Jun 2018, 09:51
The Hanoitimes - The National Assembly is expected to delay voting on the draft Law on Special Administrative - Economic Zone (SEZ) until the next session in October, according to the Government Office.
The draft Law on SEZs was supposed to be voted for approval at the ongoing sitting of the National Assembly's 14th legislature on June 15, which has now been moved to the next session for further consideration, the Government Office has said in a press release on June 9.
Illustration photo.
Illustration photo.
The decision was made following recommendations and suggestions from National Assembly deputies, experts and the public. The ultimate goal, said the Government Office, would be the successful establishment of all three SEZs, while safeguarding national security and sovereignty. 

With regard to the duration of land leasing in SEZs, the Government will propose the application of the Law on Land discarding the exceptional case of land leasing tenure of up to 99 years. 

SEZs in Van Don, Bac Van Phong and Phu Quoc - all offshore Vietnam, are designed to pilot legal and institutional reforms, as well as to act as a driving force of the economy with high spillover effects. 

The Ministry of Finance has estimated the country would need VND1,570 trillion (US$69 billion) for the three SEZs, which will be funded from both domestic and foreign capital.

The draft law, however, has stirred controversial opinions during previous discussion sessions over the necessity of land leasing duration up to 99 years and a series of incentives.

On this issue, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has once stressed that the essence of the draft law will be creation of a smooth business environment, not just land leasing duration limits. Phuc also pointed to the difference between temporary land leasing and permanent land transfer in Hong Kong or Macau. Specifically, land rent fee is not fixed but is reviewed annually.

Additionally, SEZs will also have a maximum allowed number of investors from a certain country, so that a single country cannot lease the majority of or the entire land plots at SEZ.
Ngoc Thuy
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