Govt orders action to facilitate Laos trade, spur transport and exports

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/Asia News Network): The government has instructed ministries to streamline procedures to facilitate trade and speed up freight transport and the export of goods.

Deputy Prime Minister and chairman of the committee in charge of trade facilitation, Dr Sonexay Siphadone, signed an instruction assigning the relevant departments to take action swiftly.

The move aims to facilitate trade and accelerate freight transport and the export of goods such as farm products, timber and non-timber forest products, and minerals.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry was told to work with the relevant bodies to streamline procedures and the certification process, so that domestic transport and the export of products managed by the ministry take place at a much faster pace.

The product categories in question comprise timber products, non-timber forest products and livestock.

Timber products include logs, and half-finished and finished timber products harvested from both natural forests and managed plantations.

Livestock and made-of-livestock products include cattle, horses, pigs, birds and goats as well as aquatic animals.

Dr Sonexay advised the relevant bodies to devise clear and streamlined regulations to shorten all the related processes and cut spending, thus speeding up the movement of freight.

However, the shipment of commercial crops including rice, coffee, beans, cassava, sweetcorn, fruit and vegetables no longer requires transporters to seek permission from the authorities.

This means transport of these products can be made without needing to seek permission. However, in the event of a plant or animal disease outbreak, transport will be prohibited.

The ministry was entrusted to define a list of herbs to ensure proper management.

In addition, authorities were told to formulate legislation to regulate products such as wooden furniture and handicrafts being sold at fairs and electronics markets.

The Ministry of Energy and Mines was told to work with the relevant ministries to streamline similar procedures and mechanisms in order to speed up the export of mineral products.

The instruction asked the Ministry of Finance to continue to install ASYCUDA - a computerised Customs management system - and to expand the Lao National Single Window (for tariff declaration) in order to facilitate and quicken procedures.

The instruction prohibits the inspection of freight trucks on roads and bans the charging of fees.

However, inspections can be carried out if it is believed that vehicles could be carrying narcotic drugs, weapons or any other illicit items, following information from a reliable source. Duplicate weighing of trucks on roads is also banned.

Temporary checkpoints may be set up in essential cases of specific duration with the approval of provincial governors.

Such cases include attempts to prevent the transport of illicit items and curb the spread of communicable diseases.

The instruction is aimed at fulfilling Prime Ministerial Order No. 12 issued in October, 2019, to facilitate imports and exports and the transit and movement of goods in Laos.

The order aims to cut all related processing times by at least a half and to cut relevant spending by at least 30 per cent.

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Laos , trade , economy


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