On December 9, 2021, the Government of Vietnam issued Decree No. 111/2021/ND-CP amending and supplementing Decree No. 43/2017/ND-CP dated April 14, 2017, on goods labeling (Decree 43). Decree No. 111/2021/ND-CP (Decree 111) takes effect on February 15, 2022.
Under Decree 111, the regulations on goods labeling will change as follows:
The scope of regulations for goods labeling is currently restricted to goods imported and circulated in Vietnam according to Article 1.1 of Decree 43. However, under Decree 111, the scope is expanded to include exported goods, and exporters are added to the list of entities subject to the regulations.
An exception is added whereby exported goods do not need to be labeled in Vietnamese if the goods are not consumed domestically.
According to the new regulations, labels for exported goods must comply with the regulations of the import country. The origin of goods must be identified and labeled in compliance with Vietnam’s laws on origin of goods or with international agreements Vietnam has joined or signed. Moreover, the label must not display any images or information relating to a sovereignty dispute or other sensitive information which may affect national security, politics, the economy, society, diplomatic relations, or traditions of Vietnam.
Origin of goods
Under Decree 43, it is compulsory to display the origin of goods on their labels with no alternatives. This can cause difficulty for entities who cannot determine the origin of the goods. Decree 111 has addressed this issue by adding a clause whereby, if the origin of goods cannot be determined, it is required to clearly state the place where the final production stage is conducted to complete the product. The following statements should be used to present the final production stage: “assembled at”, “bottled at”, “mixed at”, “finished at”, “packed at”, or “labeled at”, followed by the country name or the territory where the final completion process takes place.
Compulsory information on original labels
Decree 43 mentions the original label as the initial label attached to a good or the good’s commercial package by the manufacturer. If the original label of an imported good does not conform with the provisions of Decree 43, the importer must make supplementary labels with the compulsory contents before putting such goods into circulation together with their original labels. This means there is no compulsory information for original labels.
However, Decree 111 requires that goods imported into Vietnam must have original labels that fully display certain compulsory information.
Electronic presentation of information
According to Decree 111, several contents can be presented electronically. The Minister of Science and Technology will promulgate guidance on electronic goods labeling.
Presentation of food ingredients
For food ingredients, unlike Decree 43, Decree 111 allows the INS to be used instead of a specific name when presenting the names of sweeteners or colorings in the ingredient list section, while it is no longer required to specify the names of flavorings in this section.
After the new decree takes effect on February 15, 2022, goods with labels in compliance with Decree 43 that were manufactured, imported, and/or circulated before the effective date can continue to be circulated and consumed until their expiry date. Goods labels and packages with accompanying labels in compliance with Decree 43 that were manufactured or printed before the effective date can also continue to be used for manufactured goods, but for no more than two years beyond the effective date (i.e., not after February 15, 2024).