EU boosts support for export competitiveness and job creation in Lao PDR
(Vientiane /Geneva) - Lao PDR and the European Union (EU) today took a significant step to help spur growth in trade and investment by launching a EUR 5 million initiative – the ASEAN Regional Integration Support – Lao PDR Trade-Related Assistance (ARISE Plus – Lao PDR). This four-year action will be implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and the International Trade Centre, and aims at stimulate inclusive economic growth, stimulate job creation, and strengthen climate-change resilience.
The project seeks to boost Lao PDR's export competitiveness and integration in regional and global value chains, by promoting trade and tapping into the potential of two selected sectors in particular: wood processing and specialty agriculture. It will enable small and medium-sized enterprises in Lao PDR to increase their export knowledge, including on how to trade better and more with partners in the European Union.
Currently Lao PDR’s fourth-largest trading partner, the EU wants to support Lao PDR in take better advantage of its membership of the World Trade Organization and reap the benefits of greater access to global markets. The EU also wants to step up assistance to Lao PDR to strengthen its economic integration into the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). In particular, the goal is to ensure that Lao PDR is better enabled to take advantage of the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA), which seeks to achieve free flow of goods across the region, and other commitments under the ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint 2025, which aims to create an integrated economic zone among the member states.
The launch of ARISE Plus Lao PDR was held at in conjunction with the official visits of Neven Mimica, the European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, and ITC Executive Director Arancha González to Lao PDR. The event was hosted by H.E. Mr. Somchith Inthamith, Deputy Minister of Commerce and Industry, and H.E. Dr. Kikeo Chanthaboury, Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment.
Notes to the Editor
About ARISE Plus – Lao PDR is the four-year National Lao component of the regional ARISE Plus programme that contributes to the integration of the Lao economy into global production chains through targeted support to both the public and private sectors, with a focus on smallholders and SMEs with a total budget of EUR 5,017,000.
The Overall Objective is to promote inclusive economic growth, increased climate change resilience, mitigation of vulnerability (especially due to dependence on a limited number of sectors and markets) and job creation in Lao PDR. The Specific Objectives are: a) to improve the business environment in targeted sectors with a focus on regional economic integration (ASEAN); and b) to increase trade and participation in global value-chains in targeted sectors.
The expected results are:
1. Increased regional economic integration by addressing specific constraints in targeted sectors through support for the implementation of measures contained in the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA) and other commitments under the ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint 2025;
2. Increased awareness on trade preferences for exports, including to the European Union, with greater use of Everything But Arms (EBA), and on the requirements for placing products on the EU market; advanced preparation of Lao PDR to shift to a new trade preference scheme (post-EBA).
3. Strengthened support services (especially for smallholders and SMEs, with a focus on women), reduction of supply-side constraints, and trade and investment promotion in targeted sectors (e.g. wood processing and agro-based products
About ITC - The International Trade Centre is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. ITC assists small and medium-sized enterprises in developing and transition economies to become more competitive in global markets, thereby contributing to sustainable economic development within the frameworks of the Aid-for-Trade agenda and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
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International Trade Centre
Jarle Hetland, Media Officer
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Press and Information Officer to EU Del in Laos,
Ms. Thongvone Sosamphan
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E:Thongvone.sosamphan [at] eeas.europa.eu (hongvone[dot]sosamphan[at]eeas[dot]europa[dot]eu)