Vietnam’s standards system consists of nearly 13,000 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, about 60% of Vietnamese 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 Vietnam’s Directorate for Standards, Metrology, and Quality (STAMEQ) is 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 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.
STAMEQ now participates as a member in 14 international and regional standardization organizations, including ISO, IEC, OIML, PASC, CGPM, APMP, APLMF, APO, APQP, GS1, ASEAN/ACCSQ, APEC/SCSC, ASEM, WTO/TBT. For more information, see STAMEQ’s website.
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 national standards 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.
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.
National standards 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 are referenced in laws and regulations as required. The Vietnamese government 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, detailing the implementation of several articles of the law on product and goods quality. In 2003, Vietnam’s Technical Barriers to Trade Enquiry and Notification point of contact was formally established within the offices of STAMEQ. For more information, see https://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/sps_e/sps_handbook_cbt_e/c1s3p1_e.htm.
Testing, Inspection and Certification
Under STAMEQ, there are four product certification bodies: QUATEST1, QUATEST2, QUATEST3 and QUACERT (Vietnam Certification Centre).
QUACERT (https://quacert.gov.vn/) 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.
QUACERT has withdrawn its JAS-ANZ (Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand) accreditation as of May 8, 2018, with respect to the VQM-QUACERT scheme for Vietnam Quality Mark certification for management system and product certification program and by BoA for the testing laboratory.
Publication of Technical Regulations
Use ePing to review proposed technical regulations and conformity assessment procedures.
The ePing SPS&TBT platform (https://epingalert.org/), or “ePing”, provides access to notifications made by World Trade Organization (WTO) Members under the Agreements on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) and Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT), distributed by the WTO from January 16, 1995 to present. ePing is available to all stakeholders free of charge and does not require registration unless the user wishes to receive customized e-mail alerts. Use it to browse notifications on past as well as new draft and updated product regulations, food safety and animal and plant health standards and regulations, find information on trade concerns discussed in the WTO SPS and TBT Committees, locate information on SPS/TBT Enquiry Points and notification authorities, and to follow and review current and past notifications concerning regulatory actions on products, packaging, labeling, food safety and animal and plant health measures in markets of interest.
Notify U.S., operated and maintained by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) since 2003 to distribute and provide access to notifications (and associated draft texts) made under the WTO TBT Agreement for US stakeholders, has reached its end of life. Per obligation under the TBT Agreement, each WTO Member operates a national TBT (and an SPS) Enquiry Point. National TBT Enquiry Points are authorized to accept comments and official communications from other national TBT Enquiry Points, which are NOT part of the WTO or the WTO Secretariat. All comment submissions from U.S. stakeholders, including businesses, trade associations, U.S domiciled standards development organizations and conformity assessment bodies, consumers, or U.S. government agencies on notifications to the WTO TBT Committee should be sent directly to the USA WTO TBT Inquiry Point. Refer to the comment guidance at https://tsapps.nist.gov/notifyus/data/guidance/guidance.cfm for further information. This guidance is provided to assist U.S. stakeholders in the preparation and submission of comments in response to notifications of proposed foreign technical regulations and conformity assessment procedures.
Within Vietnam, 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.