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As the pace of legal harmonization in developing East Asian states increases to comply with international trading treaties, a disjunction is forming between legislative expectations and everyday business practices. Evidence considered in this article suggests that Vietnam is no exception. State control over public discourse favors the interests of business elites, while small-scale entrepreneurs struggle to make their views known. Lawmakers exposed to this asymmetric discourse rarely adjust global legal rules to suit the transactional requirements of small-scale entrepreneurs. As a consequence, the largely imported commercial legislative framework is increasingly reflecting the interests of business elites. The article concludes that for the state to develop a more inclusive regulatory regime, it needs to relax its control over public deliberation and give small-scale entrepreneurs more opportunities to convey local precepts and practices to lawmakers.