Laos’s WTO (Who’s help Laos to get WTO entry)

Australia-Laos talks

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Foreign Minister Bob Carr today held talks with Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Dr Thongloun Sisoulith of Laos, in Vientiane.

The Ministers discussed regional development, security issues including the recent North Korea nuclear test, Australia’s priorities as a member of the UN Security Council and Laos’ accession to the World Trade Organization.

There was further discussion on Australia’s aid program in Laos, which focuses on education, trade and investment and rural development. Australia is providing around $48 million in aid to Laos in 2012-13.

Senator Carr said he was pleased to announce a second Trade Development Facility for Laos, which would further streamline trade regulatory frameworks, stimulate investment and create jobs.

Senator Carr and Dr Thongloun also exchanged views on regional economic integration through the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA) and the role of the East Asia Summit (EAS) in facilitating discussion on regional economic, political and security challenges.

Senator Carr’s visit follows Dr Thongloun’s visit to Australia in February 2012 for the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Australia and Laos.

Senator Carr will hold talks with Laos Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong, and Planning and Investment Minister Somdy Douangdy, on February 20.

Media enquiries

Minister’s office: (02) 6277 7500
DFAT Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555

18 February 2013

Australia supports trade sector development in Laos

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Foreign Minister Bob Carr today announced Australia will provide $5 million to expand trade and improve economic competitiveness for Laos in the international market.

Senator Carr said trade reform is a key part of the Lao Government’s approach to broadening the country’s economic base and reducing poverty.

“Australian support for trade development assisted Laos to build capacity in this area- an important factor in Laos gaining membership of the World Trade Organisation.

“This new round of Australian funding for the Trade Development Facility (TDF) is expected to halve the time taken to clear exports and imports through customs and halve the number of days taken to get an import licence.

“This will speed up business and improve income generating opportunities for the people of Laos.

“Private sector businesses, particularly those owned by women, will get access to advisory services and financial support to improve the quality of their services and products.

“This support will provide employment and improve labour standards in key manufacturing and in sectors with high female employment such as the garment sector,” Senator Carr said.

“The Trade Development Facility will aim to halve the average number of days required to clear imports from 10.6 days to 5.3, and exports from 7.5 days to 3.8.

“There will also be a significant reduction in the number of days required on average to obtain import licences – cutting the time taken from more than 20 days to nine,” Senator Carr said.

This assistance is provided through the second Trade Development Facility, a multi-donor trust fund that provides coordinated donor assistance to the trade sector.

It will continue to support the Lao Government’s global and regional trade priorities, including following through on World Trade Organisation and ASEAN trade reform commitments.

Australian aid is supporting this as an essential contribution to sustainable and inclusive future development.

Trade between Australia and Laos totalled $80 million in 2012.

Media enquiries

Minister’s office: (02) 6277 7500

DFAT Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555

18 February 2013

Australia welcomes Laos to the WTO

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Trade and Competitiveness Minister Craig Emerson today welcomed Laos officially as the 158th member of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Australia supported Laos’s bid to join the WTO, serving two terms as Chair of the Working Party for Laos’s accession. It also provided technical assistance during negotiations.

Dr Emerson said domestic reforms implemented as part of the WTO accession process had already benefited the Lao people.

“Now, as a Member of the WTO, they will enjoy the security of international trading rules, while reaping the benefits of further domestic economic reform,” he said.

Australia has been at the forefront of recent negotiations in Geneva to streamline accession processes for least-developed countries (LDCs), recognising the challenges they face when liberalising trade in goods and services.

Laos is the first to benefit from this new LDC accession process. It joins 32 other LDCs as WTO Members, with a further nine currently negotiating their accession.

“Australia supports and applauds these LDCs,” Dr Emerson said.

“Their governments have recognised trade liberalisation as essential to sustainable economic growth, the fight against poverty, and better jobs for their people.”

As part of its membership commitments, Laos has agreed to lower its import tariffs on goods, including on exports of Australian specialised machinery and parts and pumps.

Greater trade in these products will help Laos and Australia link into rapidly growing value chains in Asia, Dr Emerson said.

Laos has also agreed to allow for majority foreign ownership of joint ventures.

Australian exports to Laos were worth $29.6 million in 2011.

Media enquiries

Minister Emerson’s Office: (02) 6277 7420
DFAT Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555

Australia welcomes agreement on Laos’s WTO entry


Trade Minister Craig Emerson today welcomed the agreement of terms which will allow Laos to join the World Trade Organization (WTO), after 15 years of negotiations.

WTO Members will formally approve the accession agreement at a special General Council meeting in Geneva next month.

“Laos’s membership of the WTO will be an important step in its economic development,” Dr Emerson said.

“It signals Laos’s commitment to economic reform and integration into the international trading system.”

Australia has been an avid supporter of Laos’s bid for WTO membership, contributing $4 million in technical assistance for the bid, and to help the country develop trade and investment expertise.

“WTO membership provides the incentives and the market access for least developed countries such as Laos to lift their people out of poverty,” Dr Emerson said.

As part of its accession commitments, Laos has agreed to lower its import tariffs on goods, including on Australian exports such as specialised machinery and parts and pumps.

Developing exports in these elaborately manufactured products will help link Australia into regional value chains, which is vital to its economic diversification in the Asian century.

Laos has also agreed to liberalise conditions of access for service suppliers and allow majority foreign ownership of joint ventures.

29 September 2012

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