Vietnam - Standards for TradeVietnam - Trade Standards
Vietnam’s standards system consists of over 9,500 national standards (TCVN, in the Vietnamese language). The Directorate for Standards, Metrology, and Quality (STAMEQ) of the Ministry of Science and Technology is Vietnam’s national standards body. Vietnam’s weights and measures standards are based on the Metric system. The electric current is AC 50-60 Hz and voltage ranges are 220/380 volts. The electric distribution system of Vietnam is being standardized at three, phase four wires.
The 2006 Law on Standards and Technical Regulations marked a turning point for standardization activities in Vietnam and comprehensively reformed the system. Under this law, standards and technical regulations were simplified to two levels: national standards (TCVNs) and organization’s standards (TCCSs); national technical regulations (QCVNs) and local technical regulations (QCDPs). While standards are applied voluntarily, technical regulations are mandatory. The law also clearly identified MOST as the responsible agency for issuing and managing national standards, while line ministries are responsible for developing national technical regulations.
Following accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO), Vietnam’s Directorate for Standards, Metrology, and Quality (STAMEQ) become the central inquiry and notification point under the WTO Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade. Vietnam’s national standards system is in theory, transparent with principle of standard development based on ISO/IEC Guides. Currently, over 47 percent of Vietnam national standards are harmonized with international and regional standards. In general, Vietnam does not appear to use technical measures as non-tariff barriers. The exceptions to this are some goods controlled by specific ministries such as chemicals, toxic chemicals and intermediate materials for their production, wild animals, pesticides and materials for their production, pharmaceuticals, substances that may cause addiction, cosmetics that may impacts human health, and medical equipment.
STAMEQ is also responsible for advising the government on issues in the fields of standardization, metrology, and quality management domestically, as well as representing Vietnam in international and regional organizations in the fields concerned. This organization also has the following responsibilities:
- Prepare rules and regulations on standardization, metrology and quality management and submit them to the appropriate authorities for approval.
- Conduct studies on standardization, metrology, and quality management.
- Organize the supervision and implementation of approved rules and regulations.
- Establish an organizational system on standardization, metrology, and quality management and then to provide methodological guidance for these activities.
- Organize the formulation of national standards and maintain national metrology standards. Develop policies and management documents on conformance activities: accreditation; certification, testing, and inspection.
- Provide product quality and system certifications.
- Implement state supervision on quality of goods and measurements.
- Carry out training and informational activities related to standardization, metrology, and quality management.
Per the Law on Standards and Technical Regulations, Government Decree 127/2007/ND-CP, dated 1/8/2007, and Ministerial Circular No 21/2007/TTBKHCN, dated 28/9/2007, the procedures for national standards development were stipulated in accordance with the principles of the WTO Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBTs). For example, draft national standards are to be prepared by relevant line ministries, national standards technical committees, and other organizations or persons concerned. In turn, drafts are to be circulated for public comment for at least 60 days, then passed onto the standards appraisal committee, and submitted by STAMEQ to MOST for final approval and declaration.
In recent years, most of TCVN’s have been developed through the adoption of relevant international and regional standards (e.g. ISO, IEC, Codex, and EN). The process of national standards development is supposed to be transparent to the public from the initial stages of development until the standard is issued and published.
STAMEQ’s Standards Department is responsible for the management of standardization activities in Vietnam, including: preparing, guiding, and monitoring the implementation of legislative documents on standardization; suggesting the policy and strategy for standardization and national standards system development; standards development planning; organizing the draft national standards appraisal; and submitting final draft standards to MOST for approval and declaration. STAMEQ’s Standards Department is engaged in international and regional standardization activities.
The Vietnam Standards and Quality Institute (VSQI) is the subsidiary of STAMEQ and is responsible for organizing national technical committee (TCVN/TC) activities - developing, publishing, and issuing national standards and providing other related services. It coordinates with relevant domestic ministries/agencies, as well as international and foreign national standardization organizations.
TCVN’s are developed by consensus with participation of different interested parties and stakeholders. They are used as the technical criteria for quality certification, suppliers’ product conformity declarations, and quality inspection of imported/exported goods. TCVN’s are developed through technical national committees/ sub-committees with the involvement of any interested parties and are intended for voluntary adoption unless they were referenced in laws and regulations as required. The State encourages the application of voluntary standards.
The National Assembly adopted the Law on Goods and Products Quality in November 2007, which took effect in July 2008. In line with the law, the government issued Decree 132/2008/ ND-CP on December 31, 2008. In 2003, Vietnam’s TBT Enquiry and Notification point of contact was formally established within the offices of STAMEQ. For more information, see http://tbtims.wto.org/en/NationalEnquiryPoints/Search
Members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) are required under the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT Agreement) to notify to the WTO proposed technical regulations and conformity assessment procedures that could affect trade. Notify U.S. (www.nist.gov/notifyus) is a free, web-based e-mail registration service that captures and makes available for review and comment key information on draft regulations and conformity assessment procedures. Users receive customized e-mail alerts when new notifications are added by selected country(ies) and industry sector(s) of interest, and can also request full texts of regulations. This service and its associated web site are managed and operated by the USA WTO TBT Inquiry Point housed within the National Institute of Standards and Technology, part of the U.S. Department of Commerce.
NIST Notify U.S. Service
Conformity AssessmentsAll conformity assessment bodies (CAB) operating in Viet Nam shall register at STAMEQ. The Department for Conformity Assessment is responsible for the review and assessment of the CAB (as necessary) to accept the registration and publish the list of registered CABs on STAMEQ website. Circular No. 28/2012/TT-BKHCN dated December 12, 2012, providing for declaration of standard conformity and announcement of technical-regulation conformity and method to assess conformity with standards and technical regulations.
Technical organizations under STAMEQ and provincial Standards, Metrology and Quality Departments providing the following services:
- Legal and commercial inspection of imported - exported goods.
- Verification for process line equipment.
- Calibration and verification of measuring equipment.
- Testing and inspection of products and commodity.
- Products and systems certification.
- Consultancy, training services.
- Information services.
Under STAMEQ, there are four product certification bodies: QUATEST1, QUATEST2, QUATEST3 and QUACERT (Vietnam Certification Centre).
QUACERT is the Certification Body of STAMEQ. QUACERT provides certification services for organizations and individuals who have complied with internationally recognized standards or other technical specifications including:
- Management system certification to international standards such as ISO 9000, ISO 14000, OHSAS 18000, ISO 22000, HACCP, GMP, ISO 27001, ISO/TS 29001, ISO 50001
- Product certification (Quality Mark) to Vietnam standards (TCVNs), foreign standards (ASTM, JIS, GOST, GB), regional standards (EN, CEN…) and international standards (ISO, IEC).
- Certification of Electrical – Electronic equipment under ASEAN EE MRA.
- Product certification to Technical Regulations (QCVN) under the Vietnam Law of Standards and Technical Regulations (CR mark).
- Certification of VietGAP (Vietnam’s Good Agriculture Practices regulation established by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development).
- Provision of quality inspection for imported animal feeds as authorized by MARD.
- Provision of professional training on standard, metrology, and quality.
- Provision of commercial inspection.
AccreditationThe Bureau of Accreditation (BoA) was established in 1995 under the Directorate for Standards, Metrology, and Quality (STAMEQ) under MOST. BoA offers accreditation programs for testing laboratories, calibration laboratories, medical testing laboratories, certification bodies, inspection bodies and other conformity assessment bodies (CABs).
- Vietnam Laboratory Accreditation Scheme (VILAS) for testing and calibration laboratories.
- Vietnam Laboratory Accreditation Scheme (VILAS MED) for medical testing laboratories.
- Vietnam Biosafety Level 3 Laboratory Accreditation Scheme (VILAS BSL3) for Biosafety Level 3 laboratories.
- Vietnam Inspection Accreditation Scheme (VIAS) for Inspection Bodies
- Vietnam Certification Accreditation Scheme (VICAS) for Certification Bodies.
BoA is member of some international organizations such as APLAC (Asia Pacific Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation), ILAC (International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation), PAC (Pacific Accreditation Cooperation) and IAF (International Accreditation Forum). BoA is a signatory of APLAC and ILAC MRAs (Mutual Recognition Arrangement) for testing, calibration, medical, inspection, and signatory of PAC and IAF MLA for Quality Management System (QMS), Product, Global Gap, and FSMS. BoA has accredited around 900 laboratories, inspection bodies and certification bodies.
Publication of technical regulations
Cong Bao is the official gazette of the Vietnamese government, like the U.S. Federal Register. Technical regulations are printed in the gazette, which is issued in both Vietnamese and English.
For more information about standards in Vietnam, please contact:
Nhung Nguyen, Commercial Assistant
U.S. Embassy, Hanoi
Organize the supervision and implementation of approved rules and regulations.
Vietnam Market Access Trade Development and Promotion