Timeline: 2011 – 2012
Donor: Germany (GIZ)
Lao PDR has been gradually integrating into the world economy through the accession to regional and multilateral trading systems such as the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
From an economic development perspective, the integration into ASEAN is one of the top priorities for Lao PDR: as of 2011, around 66%  of the total volume of international merchandise trade in Lao PDR is taking place with ASEAN countries (mostly Thailand and Viet Nam).
In recent years, while the importance of multilateral trade remains fundamental, it is also clear that regional trade has become very dynamic and that it is the centre of preoccupation for many WTO Members. In that context, Lao PDR considers further the significance of the upcoming ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and seeks to facilitate its entry into the relevant internal processes of integration.
The work provided by IDEAS Centre consisted of a stocktaking exercise assessing the level of national integration of Lao PDR into the AEC’s scorecard mechanism.
The overall objectives of the stocktaking exercise included:
- Mapping and monitoring the state of implementation of Lao PDR’s different commitments in goods and services towards the creation of the AEC in 2015. In that sense, the exercise gave concrete recommendations on what still needs to be achieved in the forthcoming years, including concrete steps, timelines and responsibilities.
- Facilitating and building the capacity of the Laotian National Economic Research Institute to submit the data requested for the mid-term review.
- Contributing to the realisation of the mid-term review of the AEC Blueprint by the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia by providing an overview of Lao PDR’s progress in implementing existing commitments and timelines outlined in the AEC Blueprint, the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement, the ASEAN Framework Agreement on Services, work plans of different sector working groups and the ASEAN scorecard mechanism.
- Reviewing subjects which are still under negotiation and providing recommendations on how to negotiate.
“The work provided by IDEAS Centre consisted of a stocktaking exercise assessing the level of national integration of Lao PDR into the AEC’s scorecard mechanism.”
Project activities and outputs
- Took stock of Lao PDR’s existing commitments and timelines under Pillar A1 and A2 as outlined in the AEC Blueprint, scorecard mechanism, agreements, protocols and sector work plans. The output was a table with a list of Lao PDR’s commitments under Pillar A1 and A2 (what had been agreed, what were the timelines).
- Assessed the degree/state of implementation of commitments (including outstanding measures or measures that had not been fully implemented). The output was a list/table with information on the degree of implementation of all the measures.
- Review of outstanding commitments (either not implemented or to be implemented) and provision of recommendations. The output was a list of pending issues with concrete recommendations including next steps, timeline and responsibilities (what needs to be done, by whom and when).
- Reviewed subjects still under negotiation, identified timelines and provided recommendations on how to negotiate
- Presentation of the results during an ASEAN workshop.