VIENTIANE, Laos (February 22, 2011) – The United States Embassy in Vientiane reported Tuesday that it hosted a workshop with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to implement a National Single Window aiming to streamline cargo transfer and enhance Laos’ trade efficiency by 2012.
The workshop was held in partnership with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Secretariat and the Lao Customs Department.
Laos and other ASEAN member states have agreed to establish their National Single Windows by 2012. The ASEAN Single Window is a cornerstone of establishing the ASEAN Economic Community by 2015.
“This event is a key step towards this country’s economic development and integration in ASEAN,” said U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission Peter Haymond, speaking during the opening ceremony. “We are pleased to support its launch and to promote intra-ASEAN trade.”
Lao Customs Department Director General, Mr. Santiphab Phomvihane, emphasized the Lao government and ASEAN’s commitment to facilitating trade.
“As a landlocked country, Laos stands to benefit greatly from increased trade with our ASEAN neighbors,” he said. “The National Single Window will connect government agencies to improve efficiency in the clearance process so that we can be a part of ASEAN’s growth.”
Government officials and experts from Indonesia, Philippines, and Thailand traveled to Vientiane to share their National Single Window development experience. An international customs legal expert also provided a list of legal requirements necessary for the operation of a single window. Following the workshop, the legal expert will work with Lao officials to assess the legal environment and plan the next steps forward.
Through the Laos-U.S. International and ASEAN Integration Project (LUNA-Lao) the U.S. Government has provided support to the Government of Laos since 2008 to modernize and adapt its legal system and economic policies to meet the requirements for World Trade Organization membership, to implement the Bilateral Trade Agreement with the U.S., and to adhere to the ASEAN Economic Community standards.