Lao PDR’s Capacity in Implementing WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement
Updated on : 16-09-2015
Trade Facilitation Secretariat
Department of Import and Export
Ministry of Industry and Commerce
The implementation of WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) would be a good strategy with the potential to reduce trade costs. But the capacity of each WTO member country to implement TFA varies with the level of economic development. The primary of objective of this research report is to: (1) summarize the needs assessment and priority of trade facilitation conducted at the central and provincial levels in Lao PDR; (2) analyze the determinants of Lao PDR’s capacity and obstacles underpinning the potential implementation of TFA based on three indicators, such as (1) legal documents of responsible agency, (2) infrastructure, and (3) human resources relevant to trade facilitation.
Using data from needs assessments at the central and provincial levels of Lao PDR, this research report shows that Category A consists of 13 measures, Category B 07 measures, and Category C 16 measures. The analyses also reveal key determinants of Lao PDR’s capacity in implementing Category A of TFA, which involves three indicators: (1) fundamental legal documents include Customs Law, Law on Food, and Plant Quarantine Law; (2) infrastructure of trade facilitation include Lao PDR Trade Portal and ASYCUDA system; and (3) human resources include members of the Trade Facilitation Secretariat (TFS). However, the capacity of Lao PDR in implementing TFA is still lower than its transit routes (Thailand and Vietnam) and other least developed countries (LDCs) in the areas of customs modernization and skilled labors for risk management.
To prepare for the notification of Category A and ratification of TFA, Lao PDR may consider the following three alternatives: (1) September 2015, (2) October 2015, and (3) end of 2016. The analysis of Lao PDR’s capacity in implementing TFA shows that (1) Lao PDR is ready to notify Category A in September 2015 and ratify TFA at the end of 2015; (2) Lao PDR is ready to notify Category A in October 2015 and ratify TFA at the end of 2015; or (3) Lao PDR should notify Category A at the end of 2015 and ratify TFA at the end of 2016 in order to observe the TFA ratification process of other LDCs. Nonetheless, the one-year difference between end of 2015 and end of 2016 for TFA ratification would not affect Lao PDR’s capacity in implementing TFA because the key determinants such as legal documents, infrastructure, and human resources would not change or would change slightly over this period.
 Corresponding author: Sithanonxay Suvannaphakdy. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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