State enterprises, private businesses, government officials and students are actively learning about the World Trade Organisation as Laos progresses towards membership of the trade body.
Mr Oudet Souvannavong, Ms Medea Metreveli, and Ms Famke Schaap at the meeting.
The National Chamber of Industry and Commerce, Ministry of Industry and Commerce, and International Trade Centre (ITC) are hosting a workshop on trade capacity for WTO accession of Laos under the theme “Business Support Service with a View to Foster Exports”.
The two day workshop began at the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Thursday.
The workshop is presided over by Chamber Vice President Mr Oudet Souvannavong, Associate Advisor for Market Analysis and Research, and ITC Ms Medea Metreveli, and Consultant for Business and Trade Policy, and ITC Ms Famke Schaap.
The purpose of the seminar is to expand understanding of the basic principles of the WTO and WTO procedures and regulations in order to help Lao businesses and officials prepare for the nation's membership of the trade body.
Yesterday participants heard about the benefits and challenges of WTO membership and also listened to representatives from Cambodia share their experience on WTO membership preparation.
They were also updated on the progress of Laos' work on WTO accession.
Multilateral Trade Policy Division Deputy Head Mr Sengphanomchone Inthasane said over the past 10 years Laos has made good progress, with many trade laws and regulations improved or formulated.
Lao officials have attended six working party meetings and answered more than 700 questions put to them by the WTO.
“Now we're working on preparations for the 7th working party and answers to a further 130 questions, of which more than 70 percent regard intellectual property protection.”
“Laos has also signed bilateral trade agreements with China and Japan and expects to sign others with South Korea and Canada in coming months.”
“After signing with those two countries, we will hold discussions on bilateral trade agreements with a further five countries and that will complete our goals,” he added.
Being a member of the WTO would mean Laos receives the same benefits as other member countries in regards to the export and import of goods.
Laos currently receives special trade privileges from some countries as a least developed country. However, Laos still faces high trade tariffs from many countries as it is not a member of the WTO.
According to statistics reported at the meeting, the WTO currently has 153 members and covers 90 percent of world trade.