The following are some regulations and bills that took effect January 1:
The amended Constitution
The amended Constitution recently approved by the National Assembly states that Vietnam is a market-based economy with socialist orientations.
Laws and regulations will be amended or supplemented to reflect the new provisions.
Increased minimum wage
The minimum wage in the corporate sector will rise by around 15 percent this year under a new decree issued by the government.
Companies have to pay their staff a minimum of VND1.9 million-2.7 million (US$90-128) per month, or VND250,000-350,000 higher than the old rates, depending on the location of the workplace.
For skilled workers, salaries will be at least 7 percent above the minimum wage.
Reduced import taxes on ASEAN cars
Vehicles imported from other ASEAN member countries will enjoy tax cuts ranging from 10 to 50 percent under the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement.
The tariff on emergency and prisoner-transport vehicles will range from 0 to 5 percent.
Reduced corporate income tax
The corporate tax rate has been cut to 22 percent from 25 percent, and will be cut further to 20 percent in 2016, according to the amended Law on Corporate Income Tax.
The rate for companies with fewer than 200 employees and annual revenues of up to VND20 billion ($947,642) was lowered to 20 percent on July 1, 2013, and will be cut to 17 percent in 2016.
The Law on National Defense and Security Education
The law on National Defense and Security Education stipulates that national defense and security must be included in curriculums at all levels from primary school to higher education.
They will be taught along with extra-curricular activities to suit students of all ages.
The amended Law on Residence
The amended Law on Residence doubles the period one must live in a centrally-governed city to apply for permanent residency to two years.
Ban on non-lead 83 RON gasoline
The government has approved a proposal by the Ministry of Industry and Trade to stop the production and distribution of unleaded 83 RON gasoline.
The proposal followed a series of explosions and fires which occurred in motorbikes and cars around the country in 2012.
The exact causes were never established, but many experts blamed them on adulteration of 92 RON gasoline, the most commonly used variety in Vietnam,with 83 RON gasoline and methanol by fuel traders.
Fines related to culture, sports, tourism, and advertising
Government Decree 158 imposes fines for wrongdoing related to culture, sports, tourism, and advertising.
Sending emails about products and services without express permission by receivers can result in a fine of VND10-15 million ($474-711).
Advertising 'sensitive' products at 6-8 p.m. will attract a fine of VND20-30 million ($952-1,428).
Producing a film with slanderous content can result in a fine of VND10-20 million ($474-947).
Performers who lip-sync or wear inappropriate clothes will have to pay fines of VND5-10 million ($237-474).
Performers who do not have a license or behave in a manner which adversely affects relations with other countries will be fined VND10-15 million.
Performers who are lewd or provoke violence will be suspended for three to six months depending on the nature of the offence.
Reduced registration fees for cars
The registration fee in Ho Chi Minh City for cars with fewer than 10 seats has been cut from 15 percent to 10 percent.