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March 13, 2009

Vietnam grants Japanese firm retail license

A subsidiary of Japan’s Sojitz Corporation has become the first wholly-owned foreign company to win a retail and distribution license in Vietnam under the World Trade Organisation commitments that came into effect in January.

The Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee last week granted a license allowing Sojitz Vietnam to export, import and distribute goods. Under the terms of the license, Sojitz Vietnam will be allowed to wholesale and retail the products in the country.

Under Vietnam’s commitments to WTO, foreign retailers are allowed to export, import and distribute goods, except for key items such as rice and petroleum, in the domestic retail market since January 1 this year.

Sojitz Vietnam was also granted a five-year license to act as a trade intermediary in the categories of distribution products and authorized to act as a representative for foreign entrepreneurs in HCMC.

According to HCMC Planning and Investment Department, this is the first time a foreign-invested company has been licensed to be a trade intermediary and representative in Vietnam.

The biggest retailers now operating in Vietnam are joint-ventures between foreign entities and local partners. The most high profile retailers are German Metro Cash & Carry, French Casino, Malaysian Parkson, Korean Lotte and Hong Kong Diary Farm.

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