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Development of e-commerce in Vietnam

E-commerce is a relatively new concept in Vietnam, both for the government and most businesspeople. As the country’s economy is in the midst of the global integration process, laws to govern e-commerce activities are now more necessary than ever.

Vietnamese law-makers have been studying legal documents designed to regulate e-transactions including e-commerce and e-government in Vietnam. The National Assembly’s Committee for Science, Technology and the Environment has taken on the responsibility of working out the legal documents as part of the law-making program for the 2002-2007 period. This is a good sign for the development of e-commerce in Vietnam.

Professor Mai Anh, a deputy to the National Assembly, said: "A draft law on e-transactions will regulate the activities of three main components - the government, individual people and business organisations."

"E-transactions must be understood in a broader sense than just e-commerce," Mai Anh said. "The draft law will regulate activities in the commercial and non-commercial areas."

According to experts, it is necessary to devise legal documents on e-transactions as soon as possible as the economic evolution in the country and the rest of the world is occurring at a rapid pace. In the light of this situation, many proposals have been made.

Vu Phong from the Soi Sang Law Firm of the Ministry of Justice suggested that a decree on e-transactions should be released now, with all activities relating to information technology regulated by decrees.

"It is relatively simple to devise a decree, after which people can contribute their ideas about the document," Mr Phong said.

Meanwhile, according to Professor Mai Anh, the legal document should be based on reality. "At present, for e-commerce to develop, legal documents are required to regulate activities," Professor Mai Anh said. "We are running a bit late now as we were supposed to work out the legal framework last year. The legal documents should be based on the reality within the country and the world and it is necessary to put the law into practice as soon as possible."

Vice-secretary General of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry Nguyen Van Thao shared Professor Mai Anh’s opinion.

"The new regulations should reflect the situation in the country as it is now and match them with developments in the wider world," Mr Thao said. "We can then learn from practical experience. If we do not start to work on e-commerce and wait for a legal framework, we will lose many opportunities. Business people all over the world use the internet a tool and a channel for their business transactions. Vietnamese business people cannot afford to be outside this trend."

Despite the fact that laws regarding e-transactions and e-commerce are not yet in place, Vietnamese enterprises have still attempted to apply e-commerce to develop their businesses. They hope that the current experimental period will lead to a complete plan for e-commerce aimed at increasing the capacity and development of the economy. Creating a stable legal environment and promoting the development of e-commerce in Vietnam is one of the most important tasks to help enhance the country’s integration process.

VOV - (24/03/2005)

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