The Ministry of Industry and Commerce in Laos and the International Trade Centre (ITC) have successfully concluded the European Union (EU)-funded ASEAN Regional Integration Support (ARISE) Plus Laos project in Vientiane Capital.
The project aims to promote inclusive economic growth, increase climate change resilience, and create jobs in Laos through EU funding.
“The partnership that the MOIC has had with the EU and ITC spans over the last 15 years. These efforts are highly relevant to our national strategy of diversifying the economy, rebuilding from COVID-19, and graduating from Least Developed Country (LDC) status by 2026 through accelerating trade integration, eliminating poverty, and increasing shared prosperity,” said Manothong Vongsay, Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce, Laos.
ARISE Plus Laos had three main objectives, including enhancing regional economic integration, increasing awareness of trade preferences, and strengthening support services for smallholders and microbusinesses.
Despite challenges posed by COVID-19 and macroeconomic instability, in its five years of implementation, the project achieved remarkable results. These included improved knowledge by public and private sector stakeholders on a wide range of subjects such as organic coffee farming, quality management, and sustainable sourcing in the wood-processing sector.
“The EU is the fourth trade partner of Laos. Our trade is still relatively modest, at around USD 500 million per year. The recent studies show that there is good potential to increase our trade, especially in promising sectors such as specialty agriculture (like coffee and tea) and wood processing under the ARISE Plus project,” said Ina Marciulionyte, Ambassador of the European Union to Laos.
The project also published two export roadmaps for the two sectors, giving detailed insights into the global and national contexts of the sectors, analyzing challenges, and laying out a detailed plan of action for export competitiveness.
In addition, ten quality champions graduated from the project to assess, coach, and guide Laotian companies in improving product quality. A Quality Platform was launched in Laos as a one-stop shop to find export market quality requirements, connect to institutional and individual expertise and services, and learn from best practices.
The project conducted an in-depth gap analysis on the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA), published a handbook on the ATIGA notification process, six Everything But Arms (EBA) business guides, four guides on of e-commerce and a handbook on the World Trade Organization ePing notification system.
A study was conducted on the implications of the least developed countries (LDC) graduation, which found that Laos should harness the power of trade promotion to avoid losing a potential 7.3 percent in exports after graduation.
The ARISE Plus project has been instrumental in promoting inclusive economic growth, trade intelligence, and participation in global value chains in Laos. Through its collaboration with key government agencies, trade support institutions, and the private sector, the project facilitated market access, built capacity, and created opportunities for Lao exporters. As the project officially concludes, it leaves behind a legacy of enhanced competitiveness, improved resilience, and sustainable economic growth for Laos.
Find us online: https://www.intracen.org/arise-plus-laos/
Media enquiries about ITC should be directed to
Ms. Kay-amphone Singhalath
International Trade Centre