UK Government Launches New Trade Scheme in Laos

Ambassador Pearson gives the opening remarks of the Trade With The UK Workshop.

The UK government in partnership with the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LNCCI), held a launch event in Vientiane for their new trade preferences scheme – the Developing Country Trading Scheme (DCTS) last week. 

The keynote presentations at the event were delivered by experts in trade policy, the UK Agricultural Councilor for South-East Asia, customs experts, and a representative of HAL Logistics. They highlighted high-potential value chains and products that can benefit from the new scheme.

This was based on research into UK retailers’ and consumers’ buying considerations, as well as insights from Lao producers, financiers, trade programs, and policymakers. 

Lao exports to the UK can benefit from additional tariff cuts as the UK government’s Developing Country Trading Scheme (DCTS) offers generous tariff preferences and facilitates access to the UK market for Lao businesses across a wide range of industries.

While Laos exports numerous high-value products to the UK including agricultural products and textiles, there has been a steady decline in trade volume between Laos and the UK since 2018. 

The UK Government is launching the DCTS to replace the Generalised Scheme of Preferences to grow free and fair trade with several countries, including Laos, thereby boosting their economies. The DCTS offers one of the most generous sets of trading preferences in the world and demonstrates the UK’s commitment to building long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with countries like Laos. 

“This is the first time the UK has hosted an event on the new Developing Countries Trading Scheme, and I am certain it will form the foundation of a stronger trading relationship between the UK and Laos,” the British Ambassador to Laos, John Pearson, said during the launch. 

“I am pleased to see so many companies interested in exporting to the UK; Laos has incredible potential across a wide range of industries and we look forward to engaging with them to further drive development,” he added. 

During the visit to Vientiane, the delegation delivered further information sessions and engagements in partnership with the Lao National Chamber of Commerce, the UK’s Department for Environment Forestry and Agriculture, His Majesty’s Revenues and Customs, and the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office.

The sessions focused on sharing insights with their members including current trends, UK market purchasing criteria, trade barriers, and what can be done to unlock Laos’ trade and investment potential. Attendees also learned about other key trade-related information including quality certification and customs requirements.

The event was attended by the British Ambassador, John Pearson, Deputy Minister for the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Mr. Manothong Vonxay, Vice President of LNCCI, Mr. Thanongsinh Kanlagna, Dr. Xaybandith Rasphone, and senior officials from Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, and Ministry of Public Work and Transportation.