Vientiane, 20th and 22nd February 2018 – The Lao Business Forum (LBF) Secretariat held Public-Private Consultative Meetings at the Crown Plaza, Vientiane. The meetings discussed private sector issues that are barriers to business operating environment of various sectors including services, transport, trading, import and export, manufacturing, tourism and SMEs.

The one and a half-day meeting were chaired by Mr. Sirisamphanh Vorachith, Director General of Department for Planning and Cooperation, MoIC, and co-chaired by Ms. Valy Vetsaphong, Vice President of Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LNCCI). Over 40 representatives from line government and private sector attended the meeting.

 

On the first day, the meeting discussed issues related business registration and operating licenses; tourism promotion; and trademark registration. The meeting also updated on the progress of 11th Lao Business Forum Preparation by the Lao Business Forum Secretariat. Following by issues of business registration and licensing such as cumbersome and time-consuming procedures of business registration as well as business operating licenses, and issues related to informal sector. Other topics included promoting startups business in Lao PDR in terms of incentives related supported to be further provided by the government for startups businesses; allowing working permit for international staff hired by foreign chamber of commerce and industry where representative of the foreign chamber of commerce and industry requested for government consideration of identifying a regulatory agency and adopting a regulation for such type of international staff.

Continuing with the topic on tourism promotion, a number of issues and obstacles that impeded the growth of Lao tourism industry were also discussed. For example, insufficient information on tourist attractions, activities and destinations countrywide as well as adoption of practical regulations on travel agents and tour operators. In addition, relatively high cost of registering food & drug licenses and trademark was intensively discussed. 

Moreover, the half-day meeting held on 22nd February further discussed the cost of transport in particular for high cost of goods shipment both domestic and regional; issues on exporting timbers and export procedures; limited access to import-export statistics; and commercial printing business management.

At the end of the meeting, some issues have been clarified by representatives from relevant agencies where others would be further reported and discussed with the management of relevant line agencies to seek possible solutions before the next LBF 11. As usual practice, those issues that cannot be resolved at the technical level working group would need to seek further guidance from higher level management at the Steering Committee Meeting and/or the upcoming annual forum (LBF 11), respectively.

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