VIENTIANE, Aug. 23 (Xinhua) -- The Lao Ministry of Finance said it has adopted a new ASEAN tariff code, giving a signal that Laos is ready to become part of the single regional market of 600 million consumers, local daily Vientiane Times reported Thursday.
According to the announcement, posted on the Lao Trade Portal, an official website that provides information on trade services, Laos has put into practice the ASEAN Harmonized Tariff Nomenclature 2017 since May.
The adoption of the ASEAN tariff code is in line with the Lao government's policy to implement regional obligations to which the country is committed, the Finance Ministry said.
The updated version of the ASEAN tariff code provides a clearer definition of goods and services in which ASEAN member countries are trading. This will make it easier for Lao customs officials to implement the government policy to facilitate cross-border trade and become part of the regional market.
In the past, customs officials faced difficulties in levying tariffs and taxes on particular goods from ASEAN countries as there was no single definition of the goods and tariff code.
ASEAN agreed to establish the region as a single market where goods and services are allowed to flow freely. However, the free movement of goods will be impossible without a single tariff code. The adoption of the single tariff code will help the region to end non-tariff barriers and facilitate the free flow of goods.
ASEAN has also agreed to eliminate tariffs as part of efforts to promote free trade.
Laos has already eliminated tariffs on a number of goods but as one of the newest ASEAN members, the country has been allowed to extend its tariffs on strategic goods for a while.
Over the past few years, the Lao government has been active in integrating its economy into the region and the world, hoping this will attract foreign investment so that the country can generate jobs and greater income.