Public, Private Sector Engagement to Increase Investment in Laos

22/11/2023 16:10
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KPL (KPL) The Ministry of Industry and Commerce (MoIC) hosted the 21st Trade and Private Sector Working Group (TPSWG) meeting. The event provided a platform for the Government of the Lao PDR, the private sector, small and medium enterprises, and development partners to discuss collaboration to improve the business environment and increase private sector investment in Laos.


(KPL) The Ministry of Industry and Commerce (MoIC) hosted the 21st Trade and Private Sector Working Group (TPSWG) meeting. The event provided a platform for the Government of the Lao PDR, the private sector, small and medium enterprises, and development partners to discuss collaboration to improve the business environment and increase private sector investment in Laos.

The 21st TPSWG meeting was co-chaired by Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce Mr. Bounthueng Douangsavanh, Ambassador of the European Union Delegation to the Lao PDR Ina Marciulionyte, and U.S. Chargée d’affaires to the Lao PDR Michelle Y. Outlaw.

Over 80 participants representing various entities, such as line ministries, embassies, development partners, and the domestic and foreign business community, attended the meeting.

During his opening remarks, Deputy Minister Douangsavanh, emphasized the importance of improving the business environment to create favorable conditions to overcome current macroeconomic challenges.

“Over recent years we have made several reforms to improve the environment for business. However, much more needs to be done to promote economic diversification and reduce our dependence on the resource sectors as main growth drivers,” said Deputy Minister Douangsavanh.

Chargée d’affaires Outlaw highlighted the expanding partnership between the United States and Lao PDR. “The Working Group’s objective to promote trade and private sector investment is more important than ever in supporting the Government to overcome the ongoing economic challenges and take full advantage of new opportunities with Lao PDR assuming the ASEAN chair in 2024,” said Chargée d’affaires Outlaw. “The United States and other development partners are committed to collaborating closely with the Lao government to help Lao and foreign businesses succeed, creating more job opportunities and driving the Lao economy in the years to come”.

The meeting was divided into two main sessions. The first session featured constraints to private investment, including skill shortages in the Lao labor market presented by the World Bank, key findings and recommendations from the European Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the Lao PDR, and a joint business sentiment survey by representatives of the EU Chamber of Commerce.

The second session focused on an update of ongoing reforms to improve the Trade and Investment Environment, including the revision of the Controlled List and Investment Promotion Law by a representative from the Investment Promotion Department, Ministry of Planning and Investment. Licensing Reform was presented by representatives from the Department of Enterprise Registration Management, Ministry of Industry and Commerce.

Ambassador Marciulionyte, in closing, welcomed the meaningful discussions on policy reforms implemented by the Government to strengthen the establishment of a transparent and rules-based regulatory framework. “This working group enables us to work effectively together, taking into account the views from all important stakeholders, in order to better tailor policies, strategies and support programmes, to address bottlenecks faced by businesses,” said Ambassador Marciulionyte.

Deputy Minister Douangsavanh concluded the meeting, recognizing the valuable contributions of all participants and reiterating the government's commitment to creating a more conducive environment for trade and private sector growth. “The overall business enabling environment has also been improved through implementation of the revised Enterprise Law. However, for Laos to gain full benefits from its international integration especially in the context of AEC, it is essential that the Lao PDR can enhance its national competitiveness by further deepening economic integration, creating favorable trade and investment environment, and improving productivity of Lao enterprises.” said Deputy Minister Douangsavanh in his concluding remarks.

TPSWG is one of the ten sector working groups under the Round Table Process and is the main forum for policy dialogue between the government of the Lao PDR and development partners. The working group meetings are organized semi-annually to address issues related to trade policies, investment promotion, infrastructure development and other matters that affect the private sector and trade within the country.

KPL

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