New UK Initiative to Boost Trade with Laos

UK announces new Developing Countries Trading Scheme

A new initiative announced by the UK aims to promote the growth and prosperity of developing nations through the power of trade.

The UK’s new Developing Countries Trading Scheme is a strategic move for the post-Brexit era that will replace the Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) for developing countries with a new trading instrument early next year.

The new Developing Countries Trading Scheme (DCTS) offers additional tariff concessions to products imported from developing countries. 


Laos is among 65 countries set to benefit from the scheme, which the UK says will help grow trade, boost jobs, and drive economic growth.

And while the country is due to graduate from Least Developed Country status in the coming years, changes made to the DCTS mean Laos will retain duty-free access for 100% of eligible exports compared to 2% under the current scheme.

John Pearson, British Ambassador to Laos
John Pearson, British Ambassador to Laos.

“The UK invests a lot of money to help the development of Laos, and one of the best ways to do this is by supporting the export of Lao goods. This drives economic growth within Laos, benefiting all levels of society” says UK Ambassador to Laos, Mr. John Pearson.

“Laos is due to graduate from LDC status in 2026: but to help with its transition period, the UK will extend this arrangement for another three years, until 2029″ he added.

Under the DCTS, Laos will continue to benefit from duty-free exports to the UK on
everything but arms. The scheme will provide a more generous trading arrangement
for Laos thanks to simplified and more flexible rules of origin, making it easier to produce
goods using components from other countries without losing duty-free status.

And the scheme is considered a win-win, with UK firms benefiting as well.

When launching the scheme last week, Secretary of State for International Trade Anne-Marie Trevelyan said that the UK was taking back control of its trade policy.

“UK businesses can look forward to less red-tape and lower costs, incentivizing firms to import goods from developing countries.”

According to a UK government media release, the DCTS means that a wide variety of products – from clothes and shoes to foods that aren’t widely produced in the UK including olive oil and tomatoes – will benefit from lower or zero tariffs.

The scheme removes seasonal tariffs, providing more options for British supermarkets all year round.  It also simplifies complex trade rules, such as rules of origin, making it easier for businesses in developing countries to export and encouraging them to play a greater role in the global trade community.

According to the UK trade office, the scheme is part of a wider push by the UK to drive a free trade, pro-growth agenda across the globe, using trade to drive prosperity and help eradicate poverty.