Last update: 18:40 | 14/02/2017
The Ministry of Industry and Trade has unveiled a draft decree on State monopoly over production and supply of goods and services in 20 areas in the country.
The ministry was tasked with drafting the Government decree to clarify the 20 areas with production and supply off limits to the private sector and to deal with the legal loopholes of relevant documents.
The proposed areas include defense, security, publishing, agricultural irrigation, traffic safety, lottery, and operation of infrastructure including first-grade airports and seaports.
The ministry said State monopoly was planned for such areas in line with the Government’s policies that regulate State-owned enterprises to supply and ensure essential goods, public services, social welfare, security and defense, power transmission, construction and operation of large-scale and multi-purpose hydropower stations and nuclear power facilities, money printing and lottery.
The ministry said the 20 areas were picked based on input from ministries and agencies. However, a number of ministries are still split over the content of the draft decree.
The Ministry of Justice argued that the ministry wanted the areas with State monopoly to be solely implemented by State agencies or enterprises. But reality showed that non-State firms could be assigned by State entities to carry out commercial activities subject to State monopoly, and this point is clarified in Article 17 in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in which Vietnam is a member.
The Ministry of Justice requested the industry ministry to prepare procedures for eliminating and supplementing the areas with State monopoly because it did not mention this task as required by the draft decree.
The Ministry of Justice said if the industry ministry proposed multi-purpose hydropower stations be added to the list of 20 areas for security and defense purposes, many other areas can be supplemented with the same reasons. The industry ministry was asked to weigh listing publishing as the area monopolized by the State.
The industry ministry explained multi-purpose hydropower stations and publishing required State monopoly based on the power and publishing laws. The Ministry of Information and Communications threw its weight behind a policy to make publishing a State monopoly when asked to comment on this.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism proposed adding production of scientific documentaries and national data films to the list. Accordingly, the ministry wanted to retain full State ownership and a special financial mechanism for Central Scientific and Documentary Film Studio Co Ltd.
However, the industry ministry said the proposal was not in line with the cinematography law, which allows businesses of different economic sectors to produce documentaries for national achieves.
The list covers the import and export of gold material used to produce gold bars after the State Bank of Vietnam insisted the State monopolizes this area, the industry ministry said. However, experts said this was inappropriate as the material was needed by the market to support other activities than just production of gold bars.
Nguyen Dinh Cung, president of the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM), said the issuance of a decree guiding State monopoly in business areas would deter competition and run counter to reform efforts. Outdated regulations in the trade law should be eliminated and changed.
In mid-2015, the Ministry of Industry and Trade announced a draft decree on production and supply of goods and services with State monopoly in 16 areas.
List of 20 areas proposed for State monopoly
1. Goods and services used for defense and security purposes (to be detailed by the ministries of defense and public security)
2. Production, distribution and import-export of industrial explosives
3. Production of gold bars
4. Export-import of gold material used to make gold bars
6. Import of cigarettes and cigars except for duty-free products
7. National reserves activities
8. Money printing and minting
9. Printing of Vietnam’s postal stamps
10. Production, distribution, export-import, transport and storage of ﬁreworks and supply of relevant services
11. Power transmission, construction and operation of multi-purpose hydropower plants and nuclear power facilities
12. Operation of lighthouses and public navigational passages
13. Management, operation and exploitation of coastal information
14. Services related to ﬂ ight control, aviation information and rescue
15. Management and exploitation of national and urban railway systems invested by the State
16. Management and exploitation of irrigation works and interprovincial water supply for agriculture, and
17. Supply of forestry services in special-use forests except for forests the States authorizes economic organizations to manage
18. Publishing, exclusive of printing and distribution activities
19. Maintenance, management and exploitation of public postal services
20. Supply of public services for newspaper publishing