U.S., Lao Partners Celebrate Successful Completion of USAID Trade Integration Project

For Immediate Release

Monday, November 25, 2013

VIENTIANE, November 25, 2013 – U.S. Ambassador Daniel A. Clune welcomed Lao and U.S. officials and private sector representatives to his residence for a closing celebration for the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Laos-U.S. International and ASEAN Integration Project on Monday, November 25. Under the project, over 4,000 Lao officials and businesses benefited from training in intellectual property, agricultural and industrial goods standards, and legislative transparency, which helped Laos meet requirements to accede to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in February 2013.

"We are pleased with the partnership between our governments which saw Laos enter the WTO, improve its business environment, and increase trade opportunities," said U.S. Ambassador Daniel A. Clune. USAID and other U.S. partners have worked closely and collaboratively with key government ministries, the National Assembly, the Supreme People's Court and the Lao National Chamber of Commerce on preparing many legislative reforms needed for Laos to meet WTO standards.

As part of the process of economic reforms supported by the United States, the USAID project, in collaboration with the Ministry of Industry and Commerce as its leading Lao government partner, has pursued greater economic opportunity for Laos and its citizens. The six-year project also supported implementation of the terms of Laos; historic 2005 trade agreement with the United States and preparations for the coming ASEAN Economic Community in 2015.

The project provided detailed analyses of a wide range of draft legislation and facilitated over 70 workshops on transparency and public participation in legislative development. USAID's efforts through the project led to the development and approval of 25 major laws and regulations and many more that are pending approval. In 2013, the project supported the drafting of the landmark Law on Making Legislation the establishment of the Lao government's Electronic Official Gazette (E-Gazette). Both efforts will enhance public participation in draft laws and regulations -- a key requirement for WTO membership and other international trade agreements that Lao PDR has signed.

The new law requires that all new legislation at the national and provincial levels must be published in the Official Gazette for 15 days before coming into force, and that drafts of such legislation must have a 60-day public comment period along with regulatory and budgetary assessment notes before approval. The E-Gazette is now available, in English and Lao, to anyone with internet access at laoofficialgazette.gov.la With the E-Gazette, local and international businesses can easily track regulatory changes, while legal professionals and the general public can access authoritative versions of Lao laws.

The United States will continue its commitment to working with Laos to integrate into the global economic community through expanded economic and trade opportunities. A new five-year USAID program will focus on implementation of trade and economic reforms passed to date, and will double U.S. assistance in this sector to $9 million over the life of the program.

Last updated: April 04, 2014

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