Enactment of Vietnam Competition Law 2004: A case study of harmonizing internal and external factors
Vietnam is an economy in transition that has encountered a great deal of obstacles and issues shifting to the market tract. Due to a lack of synchronized legal systems, and the legacy of stagnant economic development and low efficiency dating from the wartime, it has been even more difficult for Vietnam to adapt itself to the new context of globalization. Since Doimoi however, Vietnam has witnessed gradual but important changes in thinking and action. In order to apply the model of “socialist market-oriented economy” in practice, Vietnam enacted the Vietnam Competition Law (VCL) in 2004. After nearly a decade of being in force, the VCL (2004) has attracted lots of critique over its outdated and inappropriate content. In contrast, a number of comments from economic experts and academia still express supportive attitudes and highly appreciate the introduction of the law in 2004. Competition-related issues are now an important concern in the domestic market and the law has strengthened Vietnam’s integration into the regional and global economy. This thesis identifies the factors determining the promulgation of the VCL (2004). It argues factors came from both internal and external sites. Changes in economic political thinking and negative experience in the national economy for a long period are found to be the main forces for the promulgation from a domestic perspective. While entering a number of regional organizations like ASEAN and APEC and indirect pressure from application for entrance into the WTO and negotiation with the U.S. under the Bilateral Trade Agreement are the main forces from an external perspective. The thesis shows how both external and internal factors contributed to and interacted with each other in the enactment of the VCL (2004). It finds these forces were harmonized in a way that met Vietnam’s international obligations and desire for deeper integration with the global economy while also meeting the requirements of competition law in a transitional economy. These findings suggest further study on the process of harmonization of external and internal forces in the area of competition policy is needed to understand better the process of introducing competition policy in transitional economies.