Lao PDR to Improve Trade and Business Environment

March 13, 2017

VIENTIANE, MARCH 13, 2017 – Representatives of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, the World Bank, and the Australian Embassy met today to officially launch the Additional Financing to the ongoing Second Trade Development Facility Project, which will receive an increase of financing, with additional Australian funding of $2.5 million.

The Second Trade Development Facility Project, implemented by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, supports the government efforts to compete for quality international investors, through further reforms to develop a more business-friendly regulatory environment.  This new agreement extends the duration of the project until September 2018. 

This grant is funded through an additional contribution from Australia to the Multi-Donor Trust Fund, with initial funding of $14 million, which originally received contributions from Australia, Ireland, the United States, the European Union, and Germany.

To date, the Second Trade Development Facility Project has helped improve the regulatory environment governing the movement of goods and selected service sectors, for example in telecommunications and agricultural trade. It has supported more than 200 private companies to become more competitive through the Business Assistance Facility, helping raise incomes and provide jobs.

“This additional support will help the Government as it pursues the 8th National Socio-Economic Development Plan, which prioritizes continued strong economic growth, increased productivity, and widened regional and international integration,” said H.E. Mr. Somchith Inthamith, Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce.

“Strengthening Trade and the Environment for Private Sector Business is key for sustained and inclusive long-term growth in Lao PDR,” said Ms. Sally Burningham, Country Manager of the World Bank for Lao PDR. “The World Bank is pleased to continue support for the implementation of the Second Trade Development Facility project, which will help create more and better jobs for the people of Lao PDR.”

Specifically, the additional activities aim to increase the transparency and predictability of obtaining business registrations and operating licenses. These will also strengthen the effectiveness and inclusiveness of the public-private dialogue through the Lao Business Forum under the leadership of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce and the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

“For Lao PDR to grow its economy sustainably, and improve its ranking on the World Bank’s East of Doing Business Index, the government’s strong work to improve the trade environment must be complemented by improvements in the business climate, said John Williams, Australian Ambassador to Lao PDR. “As has been Australia’s experience, in a competitive economy, economic success needs to be built on sometimes difficult but necessary reforms, to create an open and transparent trade and investment regime, and business-friendly regulatory environment.”

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Hannah McDonald-Moniz
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