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32 Int'l Bus. Law. 175 (2004)
Commercial Legal Framework in Vietnam Since the Asian Crisis Development and Issues

handle is hein.journals/ibl32 and id is 177 raw text is: Comerciai Legal Framework
in Vietnam since the
Asian Crisis
Development and Issues
Nghla D Pham*
Head of Business Law Department, Vietnam _National University

I n the last decade, the overall legal framework for
doing business in Vietnam has been developed
rapidly.' As a member state of ASEAN since 1995,
implementing the US/Vietnam Bilateral Trade
Agreement and working towards WTO
membership, Vietnam is committed to reforming its
legal system in harmony with common principles
recognised worldwide? Learning from the Asian
crisis that efficient legal systems reduce uncertainty
in doing business, and that in return promotes more
econonlic growth,-' the National Assembly and the
Government in Vietnam provide considerable efforts
in order to create and enforce an efficient legal
framework for doing business. A set of fundamental
laws and regulations were made in order to respond
to changing circumstances, which were inevitable
owing to the rapid growth of the economy.'
However, the enforcement of laws remains the
crucial problem in Vietnam: 'there is a lot of
stipulation, but not of implementation'.'
This article attempts to introduce the evolution of
business law in Vietnamn since the Asian crisis of
1997. The term 'business law' used in this article
refers to a broad range of legal issues: from the
constitutional freedom to conduct business, the rules

relating to business association, contract law, to
business dispute resolution. The article also aims to
clarify the issues and weaknesses surrounding the
current law, especially in relation to its enforcemnent.
In addition, the article reports on some legal reform
proposals and on the drafting of laws by the
Vietnamese legislature in the near future.
Law-making process In Vietnam
since the Asian crisis of 1997
Change in the Constitution
In Vietnam, the political agenda manifested in the
Constitution is of essential importance for further
economic reform. Even though not yet understood
widely as direct applicable law, the Constitution of
1992 reflects the broad political consensus in society.
The new political consensus focuses on the
increasing role of the law in a more transparent
society, recognition and protection of private
property and the freedom to conduct business.
The new amendment of the Constitution in 2001
has also showed the growing awareness of the
Vietnamese people for a society governed by the
'rule of law'.' In relation to the economic legal
framework, the constitutional changes of 2001
basically include the following:
(1) the introduction of the concept of a society
governed by the 'rule of law' (article 2);

International Business Lawyer August 2004

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