1. Reduction of land rentals in 2023
The Prime Minister issued Decision 25/2023/QD-TTg dated 03 October 2023 on the reduction of land rentals payable in 2023 (“Decision 25”). Decision 25 takes effect from 20 November 2023.
Decision 25 provides a 30-per-cent reduction in land rentals payable in 2023 for enterprises, organisations, family households and individuals leasing land directly from the State with annual payment pursuant to a decision or a contract or a Certificate of land use right and ownership of house and other assets attached to land issued by the competent State authority.
To qualify for the land rental reduction, land lessees shall submit a land rental reduction application (including a request on a form issued together with Decision 25, and a copy of the land lease decision or land lease contract or Certificate of land use right and ownership of house and other assets attached to land) to the relevant tax office, management board of economic zone or high-tech zone, or another agency stipulated by tax administration laws by 31 March 2024.
The competent agency shall issue a land rental reduction decision no later than 30 days after receipt of a complete and valid application. If, after the issuance of the land rental reduction decision, the competent agency discovers that the land lessee is not eligible for the land rental reduction, the land lessee must refund the reduced amount and a late payment charge in respect of such amount into the State budget.
2. Amendment of the Technical Regulation on Fire Safety
On 16 October 2023, the Ministry of Construction issued Circular 09/2023/TT-BXD (“Circular 09”) promulgating Amendment 1:2023 QCVN 06:2022/BXD on the National Technical Regulation on Fire Safety of Buildings and Construction Works. Circular 09 will become effective from 01 December 2023.
Fire safety requirements
The requirements of the National Technical Regulation on Fire Safety of Buildings and Construction Works shall apply to new construction of buildings/construction works that fall within the scope of this Technical Regulation; and renovation or repair of buildings/construction works that results in an increase in fire safety requirements, a higher fire and explosion risk, or a change of escape solutions. Foreign standard documents may be used but on the basis of ensuring the principles stipulated in clause 1.5 of this Technical Regulation, laws on fire prevention and fighting and the provisions on the application of foreign standards in construction activities in Vietnam.
Circular 09 amends some requirements on the technical classification of fire, ensuring safety for humans, fire spread prevention, and water supply for fire fighting such as fire exits, construction materials, outdoor fire fighting water systems, etc.
Under Circular 09, the local authorities are entitled to adopt local technical regulations that are suitable to their particular conditions in order to replace, amend or supplement the provisions prescribed in Parts 3, 4, 5, 6 and Annexes of the National Technical Regulation on Fire Safety of Buildings and Construction Works. Such local technical regulations must comply with laws on standards and technical regulations and laws on fire prevention and fighting.
Circular 09 permits construction design dossiers for which a fire prevention and fighting design approval has been issued before its effective date (i.e. 01 December 2023) to continue to be implemented in accordance with such approval. For construction design dossiers that have received written feedback from the competent authority on fire prevention and fighting design at the basic design stage but have not yet been approved thereof before 01 December 2023, the approval process shall be carried out in accordance with such written feedback.
As from the effective date of Circular 09, the provisions of QCVN06:2022/BXD and Amendment 1:2023 QCVN 06:2022/BXD shall apply to construction design dossiers which have not yet obtained the fire prevention and fighting design approval and the written feedback.
3. Food safety
The Ministry of Health (MOH) issued Circular 17/2023/TT-BYT (“Circular 17”) dated 25 September 2023 to amend several the MOH’s Circulars regarding food safety. Circular 17 takes effect from 09 November 2023.
Circular 17 revises, among others, the provisions on (i) good manufacturing practice (GMP) for imported health supplements stipulated in Circular 18/2019/TT-BYT, (ii) functional foods stipulated in Circular 43/2014/TT-BYT and (iii) food additives stipulated in Circular 24/2019/TT-BYT, as follows:
GMP for imported health supplements
To be imported, health supplements must be produced in facilities that have (a) the GMP certificate for the production of health supplement products or (b) the GMP certificate for the production of medicines or foods or (c) the certificate for conformity of HACCP, ISO 22000, IFS, BRC or FSSC 22000 standards or (d) certification of satisfactory of the law of countries or territories where there is no requirement for issuance of certificates referred to in (a), (b) and (c) above. These certificates must include the following main contents: name of the certificate-issuing agency; date of issue; validity period; full name and signature of the issuer; name and address of the establishment that has been granted the certificate; and scope and type of product.
Functional food producers and traders must follow procedures outlined in Decree 15/2018/ND-CP dated 2 February 2018 (as amended) to declare their products and register the product declaration with the MOH.
Circular 17 amends several requirements for supplemented foods and health supplements. Among these amendments are (i) changes to nutrient content claims of supplemented foods, which allow producers or traders to announce the name and content of a substance for each serving or per 100g of product when the content of such substance reaches at least 10% RNI (i.e. Recommended Nutrition Intakes for Vietnamese published by the National Institute of Nutrition under the MOH) or reaches at least 10% of the use of that ingredient stated in scientific evidence (for substances without RNI level) and (ii) changes to the labeling of health supplements.
Circular 17 stipulates that Annex 2A (Maximum use level of additives in food) and Annex 3 (List of food additives and foods in which additives can be used according to GMP) of Circular 24/2019/TT-BYT will be automatically updated according to the latest revision of General Standard for Food Additives (Codex STAN 192-1995) of the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC). For food additives that are not specified in Annex 2A and Annex 3 thereof but are specified in CAC standards for food products, such food additives may be used pursuant to CAC standards.
Circular 17 also supplements 18 food additives to Annex 2B of Circular 24/2019/TT-BYT (Maximum use level of additives in foods that are not specified in the Codex STAN 192-1995).
4. Simplification of procedures in maritime sector
On 11 October 2023, the Government issued Decree 74/2023/ND-CP (“Decree 74”) on amending some Decrees regarding the simplification of administrative procedures in the maritime sector. Decree 74 takes effect from 27 November 2023.
To streamline the approval process and reduce processing times, Decree 74 grants authority to the Maritime Department (instead of the Ministry of Transport as stipulated under the current regulations) to (i) approve the suspension or closure of an inland container depot as well as the renaming of an inland container depot, (ii) grant a certificate of satisfaction of conditions for a crew training establishment, and (iii) allow a sea-going ship dismantling facility to be put into operation.
Besides, Decree 74 reduces the documents required for the applications dossier for obtaining the decision allowing a sea-going ship dismantling facility to be put into operation. Those documents now include (a) an application form, (b) a valid copy of the environment permit, (c) the process for controlling dangers and hazards and the plan on response to technical incidents likely to cause serious risks to occupational safety and hygiene, and (d) a valid copy of the fire prevention and fighting approval issued by the fire prevention and fighting police.