Challenges and impacts of unfair trade practices in ASEAN

October 03, 2011 – Out of control advertising has sparked an urgent need for stringent regulations in the new Advertising Law.


At the National Assembly’s Standing Committee meeting last week, National Assembly’s Committee for Science, Technology and Environment head Phan Xuan Dung said that the draft law, which was under discussion and would oust the Advertising Ordinance, would tackle advertising not reflecting the true quality of products.

According to the National Assembly’s Committee for Culture, Education, Youth and Children the law, expected to be approved next year, needed to stipulate clear responsibilities of advertising firms and advertisement owners, and specific procedures for addressing consumers’ complaints. These issues failed to be mentioned in the Advertising Ordinance, issued in November, 2001.

“Our committee’s supervision results show that there are too many false ads in the media, while consumers affected don’t know where to send complaints,” said this committee’s head Dao Trong Thi.

National Assembly Committee for Social Affairs’ head Truong Thi Mai said: “Consumers are being seriously misled by advertising. The law must include regulations to curb untrue advertising to protect consumers.”

Thi’s committee found that the Advertising Ordinance had become unsuitable.

For instance, Ho Chi Minh City’s People’s Committee reported that over the past nine years, the municipal authorities seized about 18,000 illegal advertising boards and ribbons and stopped the use of over 1,000 telephone advertising service numbers. The authorities also fined nearly 6,000 violators. In Hanoi, the city’s authorities last year imposed a total fine of VND451 million ($451,000) on 109 violators.

According to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the number of Vietnam’s advertising firms augmented from over 1,000 in 2002 to nearly 7,000 now, whose revenue was estimated at $900 million last year. Vietnam now has 30 foreign invested advertising firms and over 30 overseas advertising firm representative offices, which occupy 80 per cent of the country’s market share.