Under this project, Nathan Associates supported the Government of Lao PDR in making the reforms necessary for the country to join the WTO, implement the U.S.-Lao PDR Bilateral Trade Agreement (BTA), meet its obligations under the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), and follow its strategy for economic growth and poverty reduction.
We provided technical assistance to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, other ministries, the National Assembly, the judiciary, and the Lao National Chamber of Commerce to modernize and deepen commercial laws and policies, judicial procedures, and institutional capacities in keeping with domestic needs and international best practice. In supporting the implementation of far-reaching trade agreements, the project helped advance the rule of law, improve governance, and stimulate economic growth.
- Organized a study mission to Vietnam in which Lao government officials learned about Vietnam’s successful WTO accession process;
- Sponsored a workshop in which parliamentarians explored how to navigate and benefit from WTO accession and BTA implementation, drawing in part on the experience of Vietnam and Cambodia;
- Conducted workshops on communicating the benefits of trade and trade-related reform;
- Had trade laws and regulations translated into Lao and English;
- Helped develop a website for the Lao trade department;
- Assessed what is needed for the Lao intellectual property rights regime;
- Initiated work on a Trade Resource Center; and
- Delivered reports on trade in telecommunication services in Laos, how to establish a GATS Enquiry Point, and U.S. import requirements for five export sectors.
Nathan Associates also supported training, policy dialogue, public awareness and institutional development on a range of issues: trade in goods and services, legal transparency, intellectual property protection, investment promotion, commercial dispute settlement, the right to appeal administrative decisions, public-private and intra-agency policy dialogue, and ministries’ communication capabilities.
LUNA-Lao was part of ADVANCE, a joint program of USAID and the U.S. Department of State.