Legal framework


The legal framework analysis aims to provide general knowledge of the national cooperative legislation and of its main characteristics and contents, with particular regard to those aspects of regulation regarding the identity of cooperatives and its distinction from other types of business organisations, notably the for-profit shareholder corporation.

It aims to evaluate whether the national legislation in place supports or hampers the development of cooperatives, and is therefore “cooperative friendly” or not, and the degree to which it may be considered so, also in comparison to the legislation in force in other countries of the ICA region, or at the supranational level.

In addition, the research aims to provide recommendations for eventual renewal of the legal frameworks in place in order to understand what changes in the current legislation would be necessary to improve its degree of “cooperative friendliness”, which is to say, to make the legislation more favourable to cooperatives, also in consideration of their specific identity. This webpage presents a snapshot of the legal framework analysis results for Vietnam.



The Cooperative Law No. 23/2012/QH13 is the only law that regulates the establishment, organization, and operation of cooperatives and cooperative unions of all economic sectors in Vietnam. There are no special laws on different types of cooperatives in Vietnam.


Main Laws relevant to cooperatives in Vietnam

The Cooperative Law No. 23/2012/QH13 - Regulates the establishment, organization, and operation of cooperatives and cooperative unions of all economic sectors in Vietnam.

Government's Decree No. 193/2013 / ND-CP issued on November 21, 2013 - Elaborates on certain articles of the Law on Cooperatives.

Government's Decree No. 107/2017 / ND-CP - Amended and supplemented some of the articles of the Government's Decree No. 193/2013 / ND-CP.


The Cooperative Law No. 23/2012/QH13 states seven principles that are similar to the ICA’s cooperative principles.


Cooperative friendliness

The research has highlighted that Vietnam’s cooperative law is certainly not perfect (no legislation is), but it contains several elements that reflect good practices and measures that could be useful in the current context.


Key recommendations for improvement

  • The definition of cooperatives should include their mention of being operated as an ‘enterprise’, which is true in practice.
  • The minimum number of members to establish cooperatives should be reduced to five.
  • Provisions should be made to allow the joining of private enterprises as an official member of a cooperative.
  • A dedicated chapter for the operation of Cooperative Unions and Cooperative Alliances should be added.
  • The legal framework of cooperatives needs to make a mechanism to build a digital system of cooperatives.



The 2012 Cooperative Law of Vietnam represents a fundamental change in awareness of nature and role in the development of cooperatives. The new type of cooperatives under the Cooperative Law of 2012 operates to focus on bringing benefits to members through the commitment to supply and consumption of products, services, and jobs according to the needs of cooperatives.


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