07/01/2019, 03:19 AM

E-commerce trading floor means the e-commerce website which allows traders, organizations, individuals not being the owner of the website to conduct a part of or the whole goods, services trading process thereon.

Decree 52/2013/ND-CP on e-commerce takes effect from 16 May 2013 promulgates that there are 02 forms of organization of e-commerce activities as follows:

  • Sales e-commerce website;
  • E-commerce service provision websites, including:
    • E-commerce trading floor;
    • Online auction website;
    • Online promotion service; and
    • Other websites specified by Ministry of Industry and Trade.

Accordingly, “E-commerce trading floor” is considered as “E-commerce service promotion websites”, a form of organization of e-commerce activities under the laws of Vietnam.

Pursuant to Commitments on services of Vietnam to the World Trade Organization – WTO (“WTO Commitments”), “E-commerce activity” is not committed to be opened for foreign investors. Thus, the issuance of the Investment Registration Certificate and the Enterprise Registration Certificate completely depends on the consideration of the licensing authority.

Under the laws of Vietnam, in general, “E-commerce activity” is a conditional business lines according to Annex 4 attached to Law on Investment 2014, amended and supplemented in 2016 generally. Therefore, in order to go into operation, the enterprises must satisfy the corresponding conditions under the laws.

Pursuant to Decree 09/2018/ND-CP (takes effect from 15 January 2018), the enterprises trading in “E-commerce trading floor” must obtain the Trading License before going into operation due to “provide e-commerce service”. The granting of the Trading License requires the approval from the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

In addition to applying for the Trading License, the Enterprise is responsible for registering to set up a website to provide e-commerce trading floor service with the Ministry of Industry and Trade in accordance with Decree 52/2013/ND-CP and publish the registration information on the homepage of the website. Besides, the Enterprise has the following responsibilities as follows:

  • To develop and publish on the website regulations on operation of e-commerce trading floor; monitor and ensure the implementation of that regulation on the e-commerce trading floor.
  • To request traders, organizations and individuals who are sellers on e-commerce trading floor to provide information upon registration for service use.
  • To apply a mechanism for inspection and supervision to ensure the supply of information of the seller on the e-commerce trading floor is correct and adequate.
  • To store the registration information of traders, organizations and individuals participating in e-commerce trading floor and regularly update relevant changed and additional information.
  • To establish a mechanism to allow traders, organizations and individuals participating in e-commerce trading floors to perform the process of conclusion of contract if the website has an online ordering function.
  • To apply necessary measures to ensure the safety of information related to business secrets of traders, organizations, individuals and personal information of consumers.
  • To take timely remedial measures upon detection or receipt of reports about business acts in violation of the law on the e-commerce trading floor.
  • To support the state management agencies in investigating illegal business acts, provide registration information, transaction history and other documents on subjects of law violation on the floor e-commerce trading floor.
  • To publicly announce the mechanism of settling disputes arising in the process of transactions on e-commerce trading floor. When a customer on an e-commerce trading floor conflict with the seller or their lawful interests are damaged, to provide the customer with information about the seller, actively supporting the customer to protect their rights and legitimate interests.

In summary, although there is a legal corridor for the “e-commerce trading floor”, it takes a lot of time and overlapping procedures for a foreign investor to register this business in Vietnam. For example, at the step of applying for the Investment Registration Certificate, the business registration body had to consult with the Ministry of Industry and Trade on licensing for registration. However, by the step of applying for the Trading License, the Ministry of Industry and Trade is also considered.