July 19, 2018 07:15

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Market and supermarket management: Worry about 'sub-licenses'

18:37 | 16/06/2018

VCN- The draft decree of the Government on the development and management of the distribution sector (referred to as Draft) is currently being consulted by the Ministry of Industry and Trade. The content of the Draft has received mixed reviews, even concerns about the possibility of causing additional "licenses" for businesses.

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Supermarkets and commercial centers must be open all days of the week.

Stiff and ineffective

Regarding the content of the Draft, according to the Association of Vietnam Retailers (AVR), in addition to the development and management of the market, the objective stated in the Draft covers all development and management issues, including: creating legal corridors for the operation of markets, supermarkets, trade centers, shopping centers, as well as wholesale business activities such as retail, franchise, merger and acquisition; improving the business environment, enhancing national competitiveness, international economic integration in the development and management of the distribution sector.

"According to our understanding, such a rule is too broad and unconvincing. Moreover, the connection and expansion from the market to the whole distribution are quite stiff", said Ms. Dinh My Loan, Chairwoman of AVR.

AVR stated that, according to the report, the documents regulating activities of supermarkets and trade centers are no longer suitable for legal issues as well as practical development, so there must be mechanisms and policies to encourage domestic companies to invest in supermarkets, trade centers and shopping centers. However, there are no references and analysis of these shortcomings and no indication of the development orientation of these retail formats.

In line with the report, the Prime Minister instructed the Ministry of Industry and Trade to review and evaluate the implementation of the Decree No. 02/2003 / ND-CP dated 14 January 2003 and the Government Decree No. 114/2009 / ND-CP dated 23 December 2009 on the development and management of markets, proposing amendments and supplements to submit to the Government according to the provisions of the Law on the Promulgation of Legal Documents. In other words, the purpose and scope of this Draft is limited to the adjustment of Decree 02, Decree 114, which includes "market development and management".

The VCCI argued that markets were just a part of a modern distribution system (with many other components such as supermarkets, trade centers, convenience stores, specialty retailers, and retail stores). Therefore, issues related to market development and management do not represent the whole issue of the distribution system. Therefore, expanding the scope of the Draft from the market to the whole distribution will be stiff and ineffective.

Ms. Loan suggested the Ministry of Industry and Trade should consider and revise the scope of the Draft in the direction of reducing the scope of "management and development of markets" and transfer regulations related to other forms of distribution into other legal documents.

Concerned about "sub-licenses"

In addition to the unreasonable and constrained problems within the scope of regulation, the draft of the Ministry of Industry and Trade also raised concerns about the deep interference into the business rights of enterprises, which may increase "sub-licenses".

AVR cited that in the draft, standards for supermarkets must have a business area from 250m2 to less than 10.000m2. This is unrealistic, limiting the size of retail businesses. Accordingly, it is not recommended to"ceiling"area size for supermarkets. In the case where the supermarkets are larger than 10.000m2, are they not eligible for being classified as commercial centers?

About the opening time, according to the Draft: "Supermarkets and commercial centers must open all days of the week, including holidays, minimum from 10:00 to 22:00." AVR assessed that the above regulations did not fit the reality, interfering deeply with the right to freedom of businesses as well as contrary to international practice(For example, do not open too soon, do not open too late, have to take a holiday or several holidays a year) and it should support small retail shops and traditional markets to develop.

Around this issue, the VCCI stated that the Government and the Ministry of Industry and Trade are working to cut down the business conditions. However, some of the contents in the Draft are designed to add new business conditions and therefore need to be revised, specifically, the definition of supermarkets and commercial centers such as: Draft regulations on supermarket standards, commercial centers, including a minimum limit of area, standards for fire prevention fire, security and safety.

"The regulation should be reviewed in many respects. For example, the criteria for distinguishing commercial centers is for what? In the case where businesses do not meet these criteria, but are still called supermarkets or commercial centers, are the public benefits affected? Moreover, business activities in supermarkets and commercial centers involve various commodities. Is this enough to control the risk for this activity or not?. Accordingly, the sanitation, environmental, fire and construction issues will also have a corresponding regulatory system", said Ms. Nguyen Thi Thu Trang, Head of Legal Affairs (VCCI).

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In addition, in relation to the regulation "supermarkets and commercial centers must be open all days of the week, including public holidays, at least from 10:00 to 22:00", VCCI also assessed. This is the problem of the market, and the State should not intervene.

By Duc Quang/ Hoang Anh