Lao gov't to ease cross-border trade with new service charter

Source: Xinhua| 2019-05-22 12:00:15|Editor: Shi Yinglun
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VIENTIANE, May 22 (Xinhua) -- The Lao Ministry of Industry and Commerce plans to introduce a new service charter to reduce the time it takes to authorize imports and exports, as part of efforts to improve the business climate.

The Lao ministry's Import and Export Department plans to introduce the service charter this year so that business operators can benefit from faster services at the department, the local daily Vientiane Times reported on Wednesday.

Under the new service charter, businesses will be able to get permission to import and export vehicles, fuel and diamonds within one day after submitting a formal request. If businesses submit a request electronically through the National Single Window system, the approval process will take only half a day through the 2019 service charter, according to the Lao ministry's Import and Export Department.

In addition to reducing the time it takes to issue import and export documents, the department plans to halve the time it takes to issue businesses with a certificate of origin. In 2018, it took four hours.

As of this year, business operators will be able to obtain certificate for the transit of goods, and imported goods for export within one day, down from two days in 2018.

With regard to responses to inquiries by business operators, import and export officials will reply within three days, down from the five days it took last year.

To further facilitate cross-border trade, the Lao Ministry of Industry and Commerce's Import and Export Department met with the relevant authorities to recommend the changes they should make. One of these recommendations was for the Lao government to cancel the import and export approval process currently required for goods related to livestock, food and drugs. However, the Lao government should continue to check the quality of imported goods at border crossings. This means the Lao government should freely allow goods to be imported so long as they meet the set national standards, the daily quoted a report from the Import and Export Department as saying.

The report also said that the department has seen a big improvement at border checkpoints, adding that it now takes less time to import goods.