Investment law examined

HA NOI  (VNS)— The National Assembly Standing Committee yesterday took a close look at draft revisions and amendments to the 2005 Investment Law.

Steel sheets produced at the Siam Steel Viet Nam company. The National Assembly has approved revisions to the 2005 Investment law that will cut more red tape and create a more open and favourable environment for investors. — VNA/VNS Photo Huy Hung

Eight years after the law came into being, domestic and foreign investors still face a lack of transparency, as well as clear conditions and procedures for investment. The revision of the law aims to cut unnecessary administrative procedures and create a more open and favourable environment for investors, while simultaneously dealing with enterprises'difficulties.

The NA Standing Committee members said the board should take into consideration international agreements currently under negotiation between Viet Nam and foreign partners, so that the revised law would not become out of date when those deals are signed.

The NA Economic Committee, which is in charge of examining the draft revised law, was of the opinion that the law should include a list of specific areas where investment is banned, thus making it easier for investors to make decisions and facilitating the enforcement of the law.

Minister of Planning and Investment Bui Quang Vinh said there were several dozen areas banned from investment and around 330 other fields that required certain conditions for investment. He added that the drafting board was currently verifying whether the investment ban in these fields was in line with the Constitution.

NA Vice Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan requested that the drafting board further research potential problems facing the implementation of the law to ensure that it was comprehensive and specific and would ensure a fair environment for both domestic and foreign investors.

Change in judicial system

National Assembly Standing Committee members have also agreed with a proposal by the Supreme People's Court to establish regional People's Courts and a four-level court system to replace the present system.

The move was made to handle the overload of work at current courts. It was part of the draft of revised law on the organisation of People's Courts discussed by the Standing Committee yesterday.

The revised law suggests that the People's Court system be divided into four levels: the Supreme People's Court, the High-Level People's Court, the Provincial People's Court, and the First-case regional People's Court.

There was some concern that regional People's Courts, which would be the first to judge, would have to cover a larger area, forcing people to travel more.

Chief Judge of the Supreme People's Court, Truong Hoa Binh, said that the regional People's Court would be set up to curb overloading at current courts.

Chairman of the NA Law Committee, Phan Trung Ly, said he was concerned about a regulation relating to the management of the Supreme People's Court over the organisation of all courts.

"The regulation will force the Supreme People's Court to take over too many tasks, which will possibly result in overloading and reduce performance," he said.

The revised Institution regulates three tasks of the Supreme People's Court, including judgements, reconsidering judgements made by other courts on appeal and supervising the judicial process.

Members of the NA Standing Committee also agreed with setting and applying legal precedents in judgements, especially with decisions made after the Supreme People's Court reconsidered cases.

They said that the decisions would be considered samples for other courts to learn and follow.

Vice NA chairwomen Tong Thi Phong urged the draft compilers to clarify the definition of "legal precedent" to ensure the consistency of the legal system.

Normally, legal precedent is known as a judicial decision that may be used as a standard in subsequent similar cases.

The lawmakers also agreed that the retirement age of judges working in the Supreme People's Court should be extended to 65 for men and 60 for women.

The retirement age of judges at other courts still follows the Labour Code.

This is the second time that the revised Law on the Organisation of the People's Court has been submitted for consideration during an NA general session.


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