Representatives and stakeholders from the industry and commerce sector and the European Union came together to discuss sustainable trade solutions at the ARISE Plus Laos 6th Project Review yesterday.
The Laos Ministry of Industry and Commerce, the International Trade Centre (ITC), the European Union, and trade-related national stakeholders discussed sustainable trade solutions and diversifying value chains to further small business competitiveness at yesterday’s meeting for the ASEAN Regional Integration Support from the EU (ARISE Plus Laos) 6th Project Review Committee.
Participants recognized the project’s effectiveness and its potential for policy and financial sustainability. Therefore, the project was granted a full-year no-cost extension and will continue until December 2023.
The Arise Plus Laos project aims to contribute to the recovery of the Lao economy by supporting capacity building of trade officials, enabling the public sector to develop and implement key policy instruments, while equipping the private sector with skills to produce high-value added, export-oriented products.
The meeting brought together over 40 national stakeholders, project partners, and funders who reviewed the project’s progress for the first half of 2022 and looked at the priorities for the rest of the year.
Between January and June 2022, the project has supported the Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) National Enquiry Point to develop its standard operating procedures, trained inspectors of the Food and Drugs Department to improve hygiene and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) standards, 16 quality champions completed 12 workshops under the “Quality Champions Programme” and started coaching eight companies and small businesses in quality standards, coached and trained wood-processing companies and trained entrepreneurs and the Specialty Coffee Association in coffee organic farming, and sensory and cupping skills.
The meeting was chaired by the Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce, Manothong Vongxay, the Ambassador of the European Union to Laos, Ina Marčiulionytė, and the International Trade Centre’s Chief for Asia and the Pacific, Xuejun Jiang.
Speaking at the meeting, Deputy Minister Manothong Vongxay said, “We strongly believe that full and effective implementation of the technical assistance provided by the ARISE Plus Project could contribute to accelerating economic recovery by addressing trade disruptions, improving overall trade and investment environment as well as strengthening supply chains of targeted sectors to make them more resilient to other shocks in the future.”
Ina Marčiulionytė, Ambassador of the European Union to Laos, added that “The EU is very pleased with the concrete outputs for the coffee and wood sector made by the ARISE Plus project that fully contributes to objectives of the Team Europe Strategy for 2021-2025 and our vision of a win-win partnership with Laos. The project is playing a crucial role to support Laos in benefitting from regional integration and trade agreements, such as the ASEAN, the RCEP, the EBA.”