Australian Embassy
Lao People's Democratic Republic
Km 4, Thadeua Road, Watnak (P.O. Box 292)

Official Launch of Additional Financing to the Second Trade Development Facility (TDFII)

Official Launch of Additional Financing to the Second Trade Development Facility (TDFII)
March 13, 2017 (11:00 – 12:00)

MoIC Meeting Room (first floor)

Opening remarks by John Williams, Australian Ambassador to the Lao PDR

H.E. Mr Somchith Inthamith, Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce, World Bank colleagues, distinguished guests, friends and colleagues.

Thank you for the opportunity to join you this morning to launch the TDF2 Australian additional financing.

I would like to congratulate our colleagues from the World Bank, particularly the Task Team, and to Madame Khemmani and her staff at the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, for all their hard work to process the Grant Agreement approval timely.

Australian aid has had a long-standing engagement in the trade sector in Laos back in 2008 and it still remains the key development priority till 2020.

Australia is proud of our continue support for TDFII to Laos integrate into the regional and multilateral trading system. After supporting Laos’ accession to the WTO in 2013, future work will focus on improving the quality and sustainability of Laos’ trade and investment growth.

We are keen to provide financial and advisory support to businesses operating in Laos to improve their competiveness with a particular focus on strengthening women entrepreneurs’ voice.

Through the Trade Development Facility Phase II, we will work to improve business climate reform by supporting enhanced public-private engagement (through the upcoming 10th Lao Business Forum), increase transparency and predictability of obtaining business registration certificates and key operating licenses and strengthening women-led business initiatives.

In Australian views, for Lao PDR to grow its economy sustainably, and improve its ranking on the World Bank’s East of Doing Business Index, the government’s strong work to improve the trade environment must be complemented by improvements in the business climate.

As has been Australia’s experience, in a competitive economy, economic success needs to be built on sometimes difficult but necessary reforms, to create an open and transparent trade and investment regime, and business-friendly regulatory environment.”

Lastly, I would like to congratulate Ministry of Industry and Commerce for the excellent oversight and day-to-day program management. I would also like to thank the task team for their strong program support and good results so far of the project.

I wish you every success in your vital work ahead in support of Lao trade and business climate reform!

Thank you.