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Set up a seafood trading business in Vietnam

Currently, the fisheries industry is increasingly expanding and has development potential. This leads to the need for business investment to establish a seafood business company. So when establishing a seafood business, what conditions should you keep in mind? Viet An Law will analyze the conditions for setting up a seafood trading business in Vietnam according to the law.

Table of contents


    Legal basis

    • EVFTA, CPTPP, ACIA Agreement;
    • Law on Enterprises 2020;
    • Law on Fisheries 2017;
    • Decree 26/2019/ND-CP guidelines for implementation of the law on fisheries.

    What is a seafood business?

    According to Article 3 of the 2017 Law on Fisheries, fisheries activities are activities that protect and develop aquatic resources; aquaculture; fisheries; processing, buying, selling, exporting, and importing seafood.

    it can be understood that seafood trading is a business activity that includes activities including aquaculture, seafood exploitation, trading of fresh seafood, and trading seafood products.

    To set up a seafood trading business in Vietnam, businesses need to meet the conditions for establishing a business as well as the specific conditions for seafood business according to the law. In addition, for foreign investors to establish seafood business companies, they need to meet market access conditions according to regulations.

    Market access conditions for foreign investors

    Set up a seafood trading business in Vietnam

    Regulations in EVFTA

    • Appendix 8-B: unbound for the fishing and aquaculture sector;
    • Appendix 8-C: stipulates that Vietnam may promulgate or maintain any measure related to the operation of an enterprise provided that such measure does not contravene the commitments set out in Appendix 8-B (Schedule of specific commitments of Vietnam) for fisheries and aquaculture sectors and sub-sectors.

    Regulations in CPTPP

    NCM Appendix II-VN-29: Seafood

    Vietnam reserves the right to apply and maintain any measures related to fisheries activities in waters under Vietnam’s sovereignty and jurisdiction as stipulated in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982.

    Vietnam does not issue investment licenses to foreign investors in the following areas:

    • Sea and freshwater fishing;
    • Mining natural coral and pearls.

    NCM Appendix II – Sub-Appendix A

    • Vietnam is not limited to specialized consulting services related to freshwater and saltwater fish, breeding services
    • Accordingly, foreign investors can invest in aquaculture at sea but cannot fish.

    Based on some of the above agreements, it can be seen that at the time of signing, Vietnam had not committed to opening up the seafood business. However, this does not mean that foreign investors cannot establish seafood businesses in Vietnam but will only allow Vietnam to freely set conditions that foreign investors will have to meet if they want to do business in this service in the Vietnamese market.

    Conditions for establishing a business in Vietnam

    When establishing a seafood business company, it is necessary to note the following conditions for establishing a business according to the Law on Enterprise 2020:

    Choose the type of business

    Currently, the law has no restrictions on the type of business for seafood trading companies. Thus, a seafood business company can be established under one of the following types of enterprises according to the provisions of the Enterprise Law such as partnership company, limited liability company, joint stock company, or private enterprise.

    Each type of enterprise will have its legal characteristics. Based on the conditions of the number of founding members, business orientation, and capital contribution, organizations, and individuals can consider choosing one of four business types.

    About charter capital

    • Seafood business does not require legal capital (minimum charter capital), so you can freely declare charter capital depending on your needs, business scale, and financial capacity.
    • Note, capital contribution deadline: within 90 days from being granted the business registration certificate, the company needs to contribute the full amount of charter capital stated in the business registration dossier.

    About the company name

    • Company names include 03 types: company name in Vietnamese, company name in foreign languages ​​, and abbreviated company name. In particular, the company name in a foreign language and the abbreviated company name are not required.
    • The company name must include two elements: company type and personal name.
    • Do not name the same or confuse it with the name of the registered enterprise.


    • The head office of the enterprise is located in the territory of Vietnam, is the contact address of the enterprise, and is determined according to the administrative unit boundaries; including phone number, fax number, and email (if any).
    • The company’s headquarters address must not be registered in an apartment building, dormitory house, or places that only have residential functions according to the provisions of the Housing Law 2014. Enterprises should choose a private home address (with a red book), address of office buildings, and places with commercial business functions.

    Business lines

    Enterprises are free to conduct business in professions not prohibited by law. Accordingly, seafood business companies can refer to and register for the following industries:

    0311: Marine fishing

    0312: Inland fishing

    0321: Marine aquaculture

    0322: Inland aquaculture

    1010: Processing and preserving of meat and meat products

    1020: Processing and preserving of fisheries and fishery products

    Conditions for the seafood trading business in Vietnam

    To conduct seafood business activities, seafood business companies need to meet the conditions prescribed in the Law on Fisheries 2017 and Decree No. 26/2019/ND-CP, specifically:

    For aquaculture activities

    Aquaculture facilities must meet the following conditions:

    • The location of aquaculture facilities must comply with regulations on the use of land and sea areas for aquaculture according to the provisions of law;
    • Have facilities and technical equipment suitable to the subject and form of farming;
    • Meets legal regulations on environmental protection, veterinary medicine and labor safety;
    • Meets legal regulations on food safety;
    • Registration is required for cage aquaculture and key aquaculture species.

    For aquatic exploitation activities

    For exploitation in Vietnam’s waters, organizations and individuals exploiting fisheries using fishing vessels with a maximum length of 6 meters or more must have a Fisheries Exploitation License. Fishery exploitation license when the following conditions are met:

    • In the quota of fishing licenses, for fishing at sea;
    • There are fisheries exploitation occupations that are not on the List of occupations banned from exploitation;
    • Have a Certificate of technical safety for fishing vessels, for fishing vessels must be registered;
    • Fishing vessels have communication equipment according to the regulations of the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development;
    • Have cruise monitoring equipment for fishing vessels with a maximum length of 15 meters or more according to Government regulations;
    • Have a fishing vessel registration certificate;
    • Captains and chief engineers must have diplomas and certificates according to the regulations of the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development.

    For exploitation outside Vietnamese waters, organizations and individuals exploiting aquatic resources outside Vietnamese waters need to meet the following conditions:

    • Permitted by a competent authority of a country or maritime territory or granted quota to Vietnam by a regional fisheries management organization;
    • Fishing vessels are qualified to operate; has been registered and has a fishing vessel technical safety certificate that is valid for at least 06 months; have enough safety equipment for people and fishing vessels; appropriate trip monitoring and communication equipment;
    • The captain and chief engineer must have a diploma or certificate issued by a competent authority; Crew members and people working on fishing vessels must have insurance and passports; On board the ship or group of ships, there must be at least one person who knows how to use English or the common language of the country or territory where the fishing vessel is operating; not subject to a ban on leaving the country according to the provisions of law;
    • Meet other conditions according to regulations of regional, national and other territorial fisheries organizations.

    For trading, preliminary processing, and processing of seafood and aquatic products

    For seafood trading companies with activities of buying, selling, pre-processing, and processing seafood and aquatic products, the following conditions need to be met:

    • Establishments that buy, sell, prepare and process seafood and aquatic products must meet legal regulations on food safety, environmental protection, and fire and explosion prevention.
    • Aquatic products and aquatic products purchased, sold, pre-processed, and processed must have clear origin records, ensuring quality and food safety.
    • Buying and selling aquatic products in areas where epidemics have been declared must comply with the provisions of law on veterinary medicine, plant protection and quarantine.

    Set up a business in Vietnam service of Viet An Law

    • Legal advice on conditions and procedures for establishing a seafood business company;
    • Instructions on the order and procedures for establishing a seafood business company;
    • Drafting documents and synthesizing establishment documents;
    • Representing clients to carry out procedures at competent state agencies.
    • Consulting on legal issues after the company is established.

    Above is basic information about the conditions to set up a seafood trading business in Vietnam. Clients wishing to establish a seafood business company as well as other types of businesses, please contact Viet An Law to be provided with the best service.

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