New year, new rules

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Several new regulations have taken effect since January 1, 2012.

Lower import tariffs on automobiles

Import duties will be reduced on cars and trucks under trade agreements signed among members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and between the bloc with China and South Korea.

The tariffs on most of ASEAN cars, for instance, will be cut to 70 percent this year, 60 percent in 2013, and 50 percent in 2014. The tax rates applied to imported motorbikes and bicycles also will be lowered to 40 percent from the previous 50 percent.

Higher social insurance requirement

Obligatory social insurance contributions have been raised from 22 percent to 24 percent. Employees will pay 7 percent from their income, while employers will cover the remaining 17 percent.

Tougher fines on fuel trading violations

Fuel traders using expired or fake licenses will be fined between VND20 million and VND30 million (US$950-$1,420). Smugglers will face penalties up to VND70 million in cases when a criminal charge is not necessary.

Penalties of VND10 million-VND20 million will be levied on fuel retailers with expired or fake vefication certificates for measuring instruments.

Higher car registration fees

Registration fees for cars with fewer than 10 seats in Hanoi have been raised from 12 percent of the car value to 20 percent. The license plate fee for such cars was increased 10 times to VND20 million ($950).

In Ho Chi Minh City, car registration fees rose to 15 percent from the previous 10 percent.

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