One of our clients wanted to retail medical products (ie contact lenses, frames, glasses and accessories, etc.) for their patients. This is a foreign-invested clinic based in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (hereinafter referred to as “FIE”). His patients usually carry out medical check-ups at his headquarters. The FIE applied to obtain a business permit (also called a business license or business license) at the local Department of Trade and Industry (“DO IT”). However, said authority requested the FIE to add a file to obtain both the marketing permit and the retail establishment license for its business.
The question is in which case does the DOIT require the FIE to apply for a business permit only? In which case does the FIE require both a trade permit and a retail store license (for the first store)? BLawyers Vietnam I would like to briefly discuss this topic.
1. General legal requirements for both licenses
The Government of Vietnam stipulated the retail activity of goods under Decree No. 09/2018/ND-CP of January 15, 2018. In which, the FIE must implement the procedures to obtain 02 licenses as follows:
To apply for a trade permit, an application file must include:
- An application to obtain the business license;
- An explanation of: (i) compliance with the conditions for the granting of the trade license; (ii) business plan; (iii) financial plan; (iv) the state of business regarding the purchase and sale of goods and the activities directly related to the purchase and sale of goods; and (v) the financial status of the FIE on the date of request for the trading permit;
- A document from the local tax authority confirming that there is no outstanding tax debt; Y
- A copy of the company registration certificate and the investment registration certificate.
To apply for a retail establishment license concurrent with the business permit, in addition to the documents mentioned above, the FIE must submit an explanation of the establishment of the establishment. Consequently, it must clearly present: (i) the location of the point of sale; (ii) business plan to be implemented at the point of sale; and (iii) financial plan for the installation of the point of sale.
Deadline for resolution of application files and competent authorities
The time frame for issuing a business permit is approximately 10 working days from the date the FIE submitted all the required documents.
For a retail establishment license, you could apply for a “green light” from the Ministry of Industry and Commerce before the local DOIT issues such a license to the FIE. The total timeframe is at least 20 working days from the date the FIE submitted all the required documents.
2. Practical experience of our client’s case
When the FIE first applied for the trading permit, the DOIT issued a notice of rejection of the dossier submitted. The reason was that, according to DOIT’s point of view, the FIE had retail activities at its head office: after the doctors checked the patients and consulted them, the patients would buy medical supplies directly from the clinic office. Therefore, the FIE must establish a point of sale with a specific plan for the establishment of points of sale and must submit both dossiers for a business permit and a point of sale license at the same time. In addition, for this case, the retail establishment license application file is one of the foundations for DOIT to grant the trade permit.
DOIT also considered whether the FIE sells products directly to end users at its head office. Although the FIE planned to support patients with click-and-buy methods (and the clinic would then deliver the purchased items via a delivery company), the DOIT realized that this was unreasonable because patients often go to see doctors before buying any medication. items.
Therefore, when preparing an application file for a business permit, an FIE must consider the nature of its retail activity. If the retail sale is made directly to end users, there is a high possibility that the DOIT will require a file for a retail establishment. This requirement is not based on the laws but on the DOIT’s point of view and evaluation of the file presented.