Senior officials of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce (MOIC), the US Embassy, and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) today formally launched the second “Lao PDR – U.S. International and ASEAN Integration Project” (LUNA II) that aims to promote investment to create more jobs through supporting the implementation of the country’s trade and economic reform agenda.
In the presence of H.E. Minister of Industry and Commerce Mrs. Khemmani Pholsena, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed in Vientiane by Vice Minister Siaosavath Savengsuka, U.S. Ambassador Daniel A. Clune and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Regional Development Mission for Asia Mission Director Mr. Michael Yates. Under this MOU, USAID will provide $8.5 million for the LUNA II project and will contribute $0.5 million to the Trade Development Facility II, a multi-donor trust fund administered by the World Bank and executed by the MOIC.
Specifically, the USAID LUNA II project will support Lao PDR’s efforts to meet World Trade Organization (WTO) accession obligations, and fulfilling commitments for establishing the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Economic Community by 2015 and further implement requirements under the U.S.-Lao PDR Bilateral Trade Agreement.
In his remarks, Vice Minister Siaosavath Savengsuksa expressed his appreciation to the Government of the United States of America for its continuous support to Lao PDR’s efforts in integrating with regional and international trading system and reaffirmed its strong interest to continued collaboration with USAID to further enhance regional and international integration of the Lao economy.
“With this new project, we will strengthen the longstanding partnership between our governments as we continue to look for ways to enhance the business environment and increase opportunities for trade,” said U.S. Ambassador Clune.
The project seeks to help Lao PDR integrate more fully into the multilateral trading system and strengthen the foundation for a modern, market economy. Deeper integration and a more predictable and transparent rules-based system will help spur investments to generate jobs and economic growth and elevate Lao PDR to a middle-income economy in line with government objectives.
The previous USAID trade project, LUNA I which concluded last year conducted over 70 workshops on transparency and public participation in legislative development. Over 4,000 Lao officials and businesses benefited from training in intellectual property, agricultural and industrial goods standards, and legislative transparency.
USAID Regional Development Mission for Asia has supported Lao PDR with economic reforms since 2007.