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Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry announced that on 9 April 2021, Singapore deposited its instrument of ratification with the Secretary-General of ASEAN and became the first country to complete the official process for ratification of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement. It is understood that China, Japan and Thailand completed their domestic procedures to approve RCEP, but apparently have not deposited their instruments of ratification with ASEAN. RCEP is the world’s largest free trade agreement and…

(Decree No. 18/2021/ND-CP amending Decree No. 134/2016/ND-CP) In brief The government recently issued Decree No. 18/2021/ND-CP (“Decree No. 18”), amending a number of provisions under Decree No. 134/2016/ND-CP and elaborating on the Law on Export and Import Duties. The new decree comes into force on 25 April 2021. Decree No. 18 provides the following key points: Duty treatment for toll manufacturers and contract manufacturersImport duty refund for imported goods that have to be re-exportedPhysical conditions…

On January 22, 2021, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) published in the Federal Register a notice [Docket No. USTR-2020-0037] that USTR has determined that Vietnam’s acts, policies, and practices related to currency valuation, including excessive foreign exchange market interventions and other related actions, taken in their totality, are unreasonable and burden or restrict US commerce, and thus actionable under Section 301. Under section 303 of the Trade Act, the U.S. Trade…

On December 16, 2020, US Department of the Treasury delivered to Congress the semiannual Report on Macroeconomic and Foreign Exchange Policies of Major Trading Partners of the United States. Treasury determined that both Vietnam and Switzerland are currency manipulators. For each country, Treasury assessed, based on a range of evidence and circumstances, that at least part of its exchange rate management over the four quarters through June 2020, and particularly foreign exchange intervention, was for…

On 11 December 2020, the UK and Viet Nam jointly announced the conclusion of the UK-Viet Nam Free Trade Agreement (FTA). The announcement said that the UK and Viet Nam enjoy excellent diplomatic relations and increasingly common goals. This is demonstrated by the renewing of the UK-Viet Nam Strategic Partnership for a further ten years in September this year. The Partnership provides a framework for a strong bilateral relationship and outlines key priorities, including low-carbon…

On November 25, 2020, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) published in the Federal Register a notice [Docket No. USTR–2020–0036] that USTR will convene a virtual public hearing and accept rebuttal comments in the Section 301 investigation concerning Vietnam’s acts, policies, and practices related to the import and use of illegal timber. To be assured of consideration, requests to appear at the hearing must be submitted through the Federal eRulemaking Portal: www.regulations.gov …

On November 25, 2020, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) published in the Federal Register a notice [Docket No. USTR–2020–0037] that USTR will convene a virtual public hearing and accept rebuttal comments in the Section 301 investigation concerning Vietnam’s acts, policies, and practices related to the valuation of its currency. To be assured of consideration, requests to appear at the hearing must be submitted through the Federal eRulemaking Portal: www.regulations.gov (Regulations.gov), following…

Further to our alert on the development of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiation (Link), we would like to share additional details about the RCEP based on the current information available. The RCEP members signed the RCEP on 15 November 2020 during the 37th ASEAN Summit. After the signing, the Thai government shall arrange for a public hearing before presenting to the parliament for ratification. We will keep you updated on this issue if…

On November 15, 2020, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) was signed by China and 14 other nations — the 10 countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Brunei*, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia*, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore*, Thailand and Vietnam*) plus Australia*, China, Japan*, New Zealand* and South Korea. Many of the products for which tariffs are eliminated are already duty-free. [Countries with an * are also signatories to the CPTPP] RCEP was originally proposed…

On October 2, 2020, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) announced that at the direction of President Trump, it is initiating an investigation addressing two significant issues with respect to Vietnam. USTR will investigate Vietnam’s acts, policies, and practices related to the import and use of timber that is illegally harvested or traded, and will investigate Vietnam’s acts, policies, and practices that may contribute to the undervaluation of its currency and the…