Good Articles to Share

Laos, the Asean chair for 2024, launches regional trade programme for South East Asia

Tan KW
Publish date: Sun, 01 Oct 2023, 11:03 PM
Tan KW
0 381,565

VIENTIANE : An initiative titled “Regional Trade for Development” was launched in Vientiane on Wednesday, with the aim of supporting Laos in preparation for its Asean Chair year.

The launch ceremony of the Regional Trade for Development (RT4D) programme in Laos took place in Vientiane this week. The event was led by Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce Manothong Vongsay and the Australian Ambassador to Laos, Paul Kelly.

Manothong said the scheme was established at the right time and would focus on the less developed Asean members of Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.

He urged representatives of the Asean-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA) and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) committees and sub-committees to work closely with project staff to identify areas of improvement through the lens of priority economic deliverables and to seek support from the programme.

This will help to expedite development efforts during Laos’ Asean Chair year and beyond, he said.

“I thank the RT4D for the programme’s contributions so far. This includes the video to be used for gaining endorsement from other member states and international development partners, and translation of the AANZFTA upgrade into Lao language to comply with our domestic requirements in order to receive approval for the signing of the protocol of the agreement.”

Ambassador Paul Kelly said “I am pleased to announce that ministers from Australia, Asean and New Zealand recently signed the AANZFTA upgrade that will provide new opportunities for businesses operating in the region once it comes into force.”

“To support Asean member states realise the full benefits of an upgraded AANZFTA and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, Australia and New Zealand are funding the RT4D initiative, to which Australia has committed US$46 million.

The programme has a strong focus on lesser developed Asean economies.

Country managers have been appointed for Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam to facilitate their engagement with the initiative.

Through regional trade promotion and facilitation, the programme also advocates for gender equality, disability and social inclusion, Ambassador Kelly said. The project builds on Australia’s long history of economic cooperation under AANZFTA and will complement Australia’s support under the country’s bilateral and other regional programmes.

RT4D has already been supporting Laos in preparation for its Asean Chair year. This includes funding a video to showcase Laos’ priority economic deliverables and the translation of the upgraded AANZFTA text into Lao language to facilitate signing.

In addition, RT4D is preparing to provide a 12-month programme of support for the Lao Intellectual Property Committee in their quest to educate female-led businesses on trademark design and registration.

While having the Department of Foreign Trade Policy of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce as its main focal point in Laos, RT4D, primarily through its Country Manager for Laos, Sianong Phomkong, is expected to work closely with all subsidiary bodies of AANZFTA and RCEP to help them make the most of the initiative in order to realise the benefits offered by the two free trade agreements.

 - ANN


Be the first to like this. Showing 0 of 0 comments

Post a Comment