(KPL) Australian Ambassador to the Lao PDR, Mr Jean-Bernard Carrasco has announced the contribution of AUD 4.5 million to support ease of doing business reforms, trade facilitation and private sector development in Laos.
An MoU on the grant support was signed at the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Vientiane on Feb 8, 2019.
Australia is pleased to work with the Lao government and the World Bank to improve the ease of doing business, trade facilitation and firm competitiveness in the Lao PDR. Our support for the Lao Competitiveness and Trade Project will assist Laos to develop its private sector, connect to the regional and global economy and implement the international rules that support stability and prosperity in our region, saidAmbassador Carrasco.
The grant, provided through the World Bank-administered Lao Competitiveness and Trade Project multi-donor trust fund, will continue Australia’s support for the Lao government’s economic reform priorities, including implementation of Prime Minister’s Order No 2 on the Ease of Doing Business. Through the project’s Business Assistance Facility, Australian aid will contribute to creating more employment and income generation opportunities for Lao people.
Australia is proud of our long history of support to the Lao PDR for trade facilitation, private sector development and economic reform. Over the past decade, through the Trade Development Facilities I and II, Australia has provided over AUD12 million to support trade facilitation and private sector development in Laos. This included support to Laos to accede to the World Trade Organisation and implement its obligations as a WTO member, said Ambassador Carrasco.
In July 2018, Australia was nominated to Co-Chair the Trade and Private Sector Working Group, the primary development partner government coordination mechanism which is part of the Round Table process.
Strengthening the Lao PDR’s private sector is a key development priority, as it can create jobs and make economic growth more inclusive. This project aims to ensure that all companies, particularly small enterprises, women-led enterprises, and companies outside major economic centres can benefit from the government’s reforms. We are very pleased to continue our long collaboration with Australia on this important agenda, said Mr Nicola Pontara, Country Manager World Bank Laos.
Australia is one of the key partners in Laos’ development over the last several decades. Australia’s development assistance is making important impact in education, rural development and trade reform areas. Particularly Australia’s grant provided through World Bank administered multi-donor trust fund supported government’s efforts in integrating with regional and international trading systems, and improving export competitiveness of our non-resource sectors, said Minister of Industry and Commerce Ms Khemmani Pholsena who witnessed the signing.
With support from the World Bank, Australia, and the Republic of Ireland we will officially launch new Lao Competitiveness and Trade Project, which aims to improve environment for private sector led growth. We are grateful to Australia and its people for their valuable support to Laos’s development in the past and we are looking forward to working with Australia in implementing our development priorities, especially in areas of trade and investment in the coming years, said Ms Khemmani Pholsena.
Australia’s support for the Lao Competitiveness and Trade Project is part of its commitment to ensuring a stable and prosperous Indo-Pacific region based on international rules.
Total merchandise trade between Laos and Australia in 2017/2018 was AUD 43 million. Total services trade was AUD 68 million.
Source: Lao News Agency