On February 10, 2023, the government of Vietnam issued Decree No. 03/2023/ND-CP regulating the functions, rights and duties, and organizational structure of the National Competition Commission (“Decree 03”). The National Competition Commission (official English name Vietnam Competition Commission or VCC) was first mentioned in the updated Law on Competition of 2018 and is meant to be the leading authority responsible for the state management of competition matters in Vietnam. However, nearly five years later, no penalty decisions for competition violations under the Law on Competition 2018 have been issued, due to a lack of regulations on the functions of the VCC. Thus, the issuance of Decree 03 is an important milestone and is expected to increase the authorities’ enforcement against competition-related violations in Vietnam.
The VCC is an agency under the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) and consolidates the previous Vietnam Competition Council and Vietnam Competition Authority. The VCC is mainly responsible for: (1) carrying out competition proceedings, (2) controlling economic concentration, (3) deciding on exemptions from prohibited anti-competitive agreements, (4) handling appeals of decisions on settlement of competition cases; (5) advising and assisting the MOIT in performing the state management of competition, protecting consumers’ interests, and managing multi-level marketing activities; and (6) other responsibilities as may be assigned by the MOIT.
For each case of alleged anti-competition, the chair of the VCC will establish a Council for Handling Anti-Competitive Case, which will dissolve itself upon the fulfillment of its responsibilities.
The VCC is made up of 15 members, including the chair and one or more vice chairs, and will also include the following departments:
- Competition investigation agency;
- Secretariat of Councils for Handling Anti-Competitive Cases;
- Competition Supervision Board; and
- Units perform the function of state management of competition, protection of consumers’ interests, and management of multi-level marketing activities.
Decree 03 will take effect on April 1, 2023, replacing Decree No. 07/2015/ND-CP on the functions, rights, duties, and organizational structure of the Competition Council and Decision No. 24/2015/QD-TTg of the Prime Minister promulgating the organizational and operational rules of the Competition Council.
It is worth noting that in order for the VCC to operate in practice, there must be a decision from the Prime Minister to appoint the chair of the VCC and further detailed regulations from the MOIT on the organization of the VCC, which are expected to be released in the near future.