ASEAN Regional Integration Support from the EU

Virtual Outreach Event on ASSIST for Trade in Services

Vientiane, 26 August 2020

25 participants from the public and private sector, inter alia Government officials from relevant ministries, representatives from the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LNCCI), European Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Lao PDR (ECCIL), Lao Business Women Association (LBWA), and local enterprises, which mostly consisted of law firms and consulting firms in the service sector, attended an outreach event on the ASEAN Solutions for Investments, Services and Trade (ASSIST) for Trade in Services. The event was organized by the Department of Foreign Trade Policy of Lao PDRs Ministry of Industry and Commerce and the ASEAN Regional Integration Support from the EU (ARISE) Plus Project with funding support from the European Union. It was held at the Lao PDRs Ministry of Industry and Commerce, with the ARISE Plus experts joining the event virtually. The event aimed at introducing the ASSIST consultative mechanism to the Lao PDR services sector as a practical trade facilitation tool to solving their cross-border intra-ASEAN trade problems.

Welcoming remarks were delivered by Mr. Santisouk Phounesavath, Deputy Director-General, Department of Foreign Trade Policy, Ministry of Industry and Commerce. Mr. Phounesavath urged the participants to use ASSIST to lodge complaints to seek solutions to the trade problems that they may be experiencing within ASEAN.  He highlighted that ASSIST is an online tool that is easy to access from their computers and free of charge.

Ms. Hasduna Putri Adamy, ASSIST Expert under the ARISE Plus Regional Project delivered a presentation to introduce the ASSIST mechanism and illustrate the ASSIST website, as well as its tutorials and the ASSIST toolkit that has recently been developed with EU support in all ASEAN languages. Mr. Paolo R. Vergano, Key Expert on Trade Facilitation under the ARISE Plus Regional Project, delivered the closing remarks and again encouraged participants to take full advantage of the opportunities offered by ASSIST to interact with ASEAN Governments in relation to intra-ASEAN cross-border trade issues. He also urged them to inform their business and trade associations or other ASEAN enterprises about ASSIST, and conveyed that ARISE Plus and the EU remain committed to supporting ASEAN by providing technical assistance with respect to ASSIST and many other trade facilitation initiatives.

The Trade in Services Division, Department of Foreign Trade Policy also delivered a presentation on the Lao Services Portal (LSP), which was officially launched on 31 August 2017 by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. The aim of this portal is to provide both foreign and domestic investors, and also the general public, a quick and easy access to necessary information on services business operations through modern IT system. LSP contains information related to trade and investment in the services sectors in Lao PDR. In this website, users are able to find legal documents, measures, procedures, forms, services commitments, news, publications and other information related to trade and investment. The portal also allows users to fill-out an enquiry form to seek further information. In addition, by registering as a member on the website, users will be able to obtain updated information on their selected sectors. The portal is available in English and Laotian at www.laoservicesportal.gov.la.

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