Vinasa accused Yahoo! Vietnam of owning web sites and acting as an online services provider (OSP) in Vietnam without permission in July this year.

Pham Hong Hai, director of the ministry's Telecommunications Department and the ministry's spokesman for the case, said Yahoo! was doing business through two Singapore-registered units -Yahoo! Southeast Asia Pte. Ltd and Yahoo! Connected Life.

Therefore, the legal status of Yahoo! operations in Vietnam should be considered based on Vietnam's commitments to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and relevant laws, he said.

Yahoo! is supplying email services in Vietnam through its overseas units and servers. These are trans-border services which are not restricted under WTO rules, Hai said, adding they did not require licenses in Vietnam and that they did not infringe on Vietnam's WTO commitments.

In a complaint lodged against Yahoo! Vietnam to the ministry on

July 22, Vinasa said Yahoo! was using the domain name dot-vn without permission. But Hai said that under its WTO commitments, Vietnam did not have regulations on website establishment.

Vietnamese law currently allows foreign companies to use the domain name dot-vn, he said, but if they use this domain name to set up news web sites, they must comply with Vietnam's laws and regulations on media, publishing and web content.

Regarding Yahoo's cooperation with local partners to sell advertising spaces on its Vietnam websites, Hai said solving this issue would rest with the ministries of culture-sports-tourism and industry-trade.

Yahoo! now has a representative office licensed on August 13, 2007 by the HCM City Department of Trade, the present-day Department of Industry and Trade. This license was renewed on May 23 this year. As a representative office, Yahoo! is banned from direct trading operations in Vietnam.

In 2006, Yahoo! launched the Vietnamese versions of Yahoo! Messenger and its website at http://vn.yahoo.com. The company provides email, blog, chat and online music services, among others on this site.

Saigon Times Daily - october 31, 2008