At least 67 conditional business sectors in the Law on Investment may be removed in an attempt to create a more favorable business and investment environment.

The Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) is obtaining comments and feedback on its draft amendments to the Law on Investment following calls from the country’s business community and a push from Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

The draft will also add new business conditions, which MPI policymakers believe will facilitate foreign investment in the country if approved.

Foreign investors may have 100 per cent ownership in industries such as automobile maintenance, driving tests, and buying and selling debts, as these are to be removed from the list of conditional businesses in the Law.

Others to be removed include car warranty maintenance, gold bar production, the export and import of materials for the production of gold bars, engraving, and money printing.

Foreign investors will be allowed to own 100 per cent of such businesses under Decree No. 60/2015, except in certain cases defined by the State.

Significantly, foreign investors will be allowed to own unlimited shares in local business organizations, except in certain cases, under the MPI draft. They will still be restricted in listed and public companies, securities firms, and stock trading funds under the Law of Securities, and also restricted in ownership of certain equitized State-owned enterprises (SOEs) or in those SOEs that have already been equitized or transformed.

Vietnam’s business community have been calling on the government and MPI to adjust the Law on Investment and the Law on Enterprises, saying there are critical overlaps in the laws that hinder business activities.

Mr. Ngo Viet Hoa, a lawyer at the US’s General Motors Vietnam (GM Vietnam), told a seminar on amending laws for investment and businesses held by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) on July 22 that the Law on Investment is “too complicated” and has opaque regulations for business activities in the country.

“The Law on Investment has created overlaps in licensing, business registration, and the issuing of investment certificates, which should be combined into one process only,” Mr. Hoa said.

The government has vowed to create a more favorable business and investment environment for all kind of enterprises. Prime Minister Phuc even insisted that he wants to build a “pro-business government”.

New business registrations have shown signs of recovery, according to the latest figures from MPI’s Business Registration Management Bureau. Total companies returning to operations after suspending operations were reported at 2,005 in August, an increase of 11.1 per cent against July.

Total employees at new businesses were 112,800 in August, 13.7 per cent higher than in July. There were 9,282 newly-established companies in the month, with total registered capital of $3.13 million, an increase of 2.6 per cent against July in terms of capital.

In the first eight months of the year there were 73,404 new enterprises with registered capital of $25.4 million, an increase 19.7 per cent in enterprises and 50.9 per cent in capital year-on-year.