What is the license for trading alcohol?

Vietnamese laws provide for 4 different licenses to trade alcohol:

  • Level 1: “Sale of alcohol for on-premises consumption” 
  • Level 2:
  • Level 3
  • Level 4

Companies planning to distribute or produce alcohol must obtain the authorities’ approval by applying for the relevant alcohol trading license.

Legal services:

  • Analyzing the company’s business plan to determine which level is required;
  • Obtaining or renewing the company’s alcohol trading license;
  • Negotiating and drafting supply and distribution agreements;
  • Filling statutory periodic reports.

How to proceed?

  • Contact us via phone, email or create a CRM account to define your investment requirements and objectives with our lawyers.
  • Whenever possible we will meet in person to define your legal strategy in depth.
  • Our legal services will notably include our advisory on the conditions to obtain the relevant certificate of alcohol trading, our assistance to prepare your application documents and join the meeting on site with the inspector(s).
  • We will provide you with the list of required information and documents, as well as the application dossier drafted and translated by us into Vietnamese and English languages.
  • At any time, you can access the CRM system to manage and keep a track of your legal services.

Opening a branch is allowed by law for both domestic and foreign companies.

Although domestic companies (even foreign invested) can open a branch without issue, foreign companies usually face obstacles when trying to open their branch in Vietnam.

Vietnamese law provides for “leasehold” and not “freehold. Foreign individuals are not allowed to buy land, but they can buy apartments from the developer of the housing construction project or from another foreign individual. They are not allowed to purchase from Vietnamese owners.

The products shall be registered or at least the standards that apply to them shall be announced (depending on the type of the product). That step is mandatory before importing and distributing the products into the Vietnamese market. Some products require the company to obtain an additional license for import, the “import license”.

Yes, there are import duties which are applied to goods exported and imported through Vietnam’s borders and border checkpoints; goods exported from the domestic market to free trade zones; goods imported from free trade zones into the domestic market; or goods indirectly exported/imported.

VAT stands for “Value-Added Tax” and is imposed on the added value of goods or services arising in the process of production, circulation and consumption.

The general VAT rate is 10%. Other rates such as 0% or 5% can be applied depending on each specific product or service.

It depends on purpose and demand of an enterprise which is producing, supplying, retailing or wholesaling liquor to register relevant certificates, such as: a distillers license, a liquor distribution license, a liquor wholesale license, a liquor retail license.

An enterprise that trade in liquor from 5.5% Alcohol by Volume (ABV) for on-premises consumption, or trading of liquor having less than 5.5% ABV are required to register their sale to the competent authority. This procedure is replaced an application for permission.

Enterprises have liquor wholesale License are allowed to conduct directly retailing liquor in their business locations within registered areas. In this situation, those enterprises still need to obtain a liquor retail license.

There is not required currently for an enterprise that serves alcohol on-premises consumption having a liquor retail license. However, the enterprise must register with the competent authority for serving alcohol on-premises consumption.

The Liquor Distribution License, Liquor Wholesale License, and Liquor Retail License are valid for 05 years. For remaining operation, the enterprise must apply a dossier for re-granted of its License prior 30 days of its License’s expiration.

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