Progress Report: Trade Facilitation Strategy of Lao PDR (October 2013 to July 2015)
Updated on : 02-09-2015
Trade facilitation in Lao PDR has been implemented since 2011 under the Trade Facilitation Strategy of Lao PDR for the period 2011-2015, which simplifies trade procedures and increases transparency and predictability, aiming to reduce trade costs. This in turn, promotes export competitiveness of Lao exporters in foreign markets, attracts more foreign direct investment, and improves efficient administration of import and export procedures. The objective of this report is to summarize the implementation results of Trade Facilitation Strategy of Lao PDR for two years from October 2013 to July 2015. The implementation outcomes of trade facilitation contained in this report can be useful in monitoring and evaluating the trade facilitation assigned in each sector, and thereby contributing to the formulation of consistent work plan used in reducing trade costs and gradually increasing export competitiveness of private sector.
The implementation progress for Trade Facilitation Strategy is assessed by comparing the implemented activities and 28 planned activities specified in six strategic measures; in which 26 activities have been implemented. There are four strategic measures that have been fully implemented. These include: (1) Strategic measure 1 ‘Mainstreaming trade facilitation across line ministries’; (2) Strategic measure 2 ‘Simplifying, harmonizing and modernizing trade and customs procedures’; (3) Strategic measure 4 ‘Developing private sector capacity to trade efficiently in compliance with rules and regulations’; and (4) Strategic measure 6 ‘Establishing a national trade facilitation body’. There are two strategic measures that have been partially implemented. These include: (1) Strategic measure 3 ‘Implementing WTO, ASEAN and GMS commitments’; and (2) Strategic measure 5 ‘Providing the right equipment and facilities to ensure the smooth and efficient administration of trade and customs procedures’.
The implementation of strategic measures contributed to four outcomes of trade facilitation in Lao PDR. These include: (1) regulatory reforms reflecting in the creations and amendments of 35 legal documents and the conclusion of needs assessment on trade facilitation in Lao PDR; (2) improvement of infrastructure for facilitating trade reflecting in the improvement of contents for Lao PDR Trade Portal (LTP) and the application of ASYCUDA system in international border check points; (3) Upgrading human resources related to trade facilitation reflecting in the delivery of training workshops to public and private sectors in the areas of using LTP, training for trainer program, impacts assessments of non-tariff measures, and using ASYCUDA system; and (4) problem solving for private sector reflecting in the monitoring and addressing issues related to concession of export documents for agricultural products in Oudomxay, banana in transit via Vietnam, and import permit of drugs, food, and narcotics.
The achievement of four outcomes has improved an enabling business environment in Lao PDR. According to World Bank’s ease of doing business index, Lao PDR was ranked 148 in 2015 down from 155 out of 189 countries in 2013. That said, the status of Lao PDR in terms of ease of doing business was improved by seven orders over the period 2013-2015. In addition, export cost per container reduced by 9% from US$2,140 in 2013 to US$1,950 in 2015, while import cost per container reduced by 10% from US$2,125 to US$1,910 over the same period.
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