Story: Lao PDR steps up foreign trade negotiations for export success
‘We have seen an immense growth of Lao PDR's foreign trade value in the past few years, resulting in an increase of $12 billion or 64% of GDP in 2019,’ said Saysana Sayakone, Director of the Department of Foreign Trade Policy at the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, during Lao PDR’s validation workshop of the Foreign Trade Negotiations roadmap. The workshop was held on 23 February 2021 in Vientiane.
Thanks to its central location in Asia, the Lao People's Democratic Republic offers many economic advantages. Therefore, boosting its economy and trade relations with its neighbouring regions and the world is the government’s top priority.
‘Despite such growth, many obstacles remain,’ continued Mr. Sayakone. ‘Particularly in export, there are many challenges involving trade regulations of the destination country, non-tariff barriers as well as sanitary and phytosanitary measures or technical barriers to trade.’
The ‘Foreign Trade Negotiations for Export Success Roadmap – Focus on Trade in Goods Negotiations for Lao PDR’ proposes an action plan that will guide trade-related agencies in negotiations, implementation and enforcement of trade agreements in the long run (2021-2025).
Overall, it ensures coherence in various trade negotiations, promotes the country's economic interests, and contributes to the socio-economic development of the country. The roadmap also considers the implications of the country’s current economic situation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, offering opportunities of recovery.
‘In order to protect interests of trade and investment in Lao PDR, we need to focus on developing and updating our international trade to keep up with local and international change’ concluded Mr. Sayakone. ‘The foreign trade negotiations roadmap will prove key to ensuring consistency in the various negotiations that Lao PDR is undertaking while upholding Lao PDR’s economic interests’.
The validation workshop was a joint effort between the Ministry’s Department of Foreign Trade Policy and the International Trade Centre (ITC).
The roadmap’s development was led by the Department of Foreign Trade Policy and the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, with technical assistance from the International Trade Centre under its ASEAN Regional Integration Support from the EU Plus – Lao PDR (ARISE Plus Lao PDR) project.