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Critics slam Vietnam's proposed lawyer law

HANOI (AP) -- International lawyers and business leaders are warning that proposed changes to a law on legal services in Vietnam would restrict foreign law firms and spook investors.

A group of foreign lawyers wrote to the National Assembly on Oct. 24 saying the changes could prohibit their local employees from drafting contracts. They say that would damage Vietnam's reputation at a time of economic uncertainty.

The Australian and European chambers of commerce wrote to the government earlier this month in support of the foreign firms.

Ngo Thanh Tung, who is among the Vietnamese lawyers pushing for the changes, says that foreign lawyers are being "overly sensitive," and that the proposed changes are consistent with Vietnam's commitments as a member of the World Trade Organization.