Australia supports trade sector development in Laos

Media release

18 February 2013

Foreign Minister Bob Carr today announced Australia will provide $5 million to expand trade and improve economic competitiveness for Laos in the international market.

Senator Carr said trade reform is a key part of the Lao Government’s approach to broadening the country’s economic base and reducing poverty.

“Australian support for trade development assisted Laos to build capacity in this area- an important factor in Laos gaining membership of the World Trade Organisation.

“This new round of Australian funding for the Trade Development Facility (TDF) is expected to halve the time taken to clear exports and imports through customs and halve the number of days taken to get an import licence.

“This will speed up business and improve income generating opportunities for the people of Laos.

“Private sector businesses, particularly those owned by women, will get access to advisory services and financial support to improve the quality of their services and products.

“This support will provide employment and improve labour standards in key manufacturing and in sectors with high female employment such as the garment sector,” Senator Carr said.

“The Trade Development Facility will aim to halve the average number of days required to clear imports from 10.6 days to 5.3, and exports from 7.5 days to 3.8.

“There will also be a significant reduction in the number of days required on average to obtain import licences – cutting the time taken from more than 20 days to nine,” Senator Carr said.

This assistance is provided through the second Trade Development Facility, a multi-donor trust fund that provides coordinated donor assistance to the trade sector.

It will continue to support the Lao Government’s global and regional trade priorities, including following through on World Trade Organisation and ASEAN trade reform commitments.

Australian aid is supporting this as an essential contribution to sustainable and inclusive future development.

Trade between Australia and Laos totalled $80 million in 2012.

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