Lao PDR joined the WTO in 2013, intends to be a middle-income economy by 2020, and has a fast-growing economy. As a land bridge for trade blossoming among ASEAN neighbors and beyond, the country is well-situated to benefit from open trade, better investment policies, and an improved domestic business environment. Furthermore, establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community by 2015 will provide challenges as well as opportunities for Lao businesses.
Led by Nathan, this project will assist the government in further liberalizing trade and will build the capacity of institutions to support and sustain reforms and meet commitments made under various trade agreements. Ultimately, the project will advance the legislation and institutional capacity needed for Lao PDR to have an open and inclusive business environment, one characterized by better economic governance and stronger rule of law. Specific activities will involve the following:
- Implementing the WTO’s Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights Agreement and TBT Agreement
- Complying with WTO requirements for trading rights
- Establishing an official gazette in electronic form
- Strengthening government capacity to review policies, legislation, and regulations for compliance with agreements
- Developing mutual recognition agreements for e-signatures and other e-commerce procedures
- Raising awareness of the ASEAN Single Window among businesses
- Training judges to understand and enforce new regulations
- Provide training and assistance in commercial dispute settlement policy and regulations, and in the protection of intellectual property rights
- Helping ministries assemble technical teams for reform and assisting with regulatory reform
- Building the capacity of the staff of three to five ministries
Nathan managed the LUNA-Lao Project, the predecessor of this project.