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EBA Engagement Workshop Lao PDR 

16th and 17th September 2021, 14:30-17:00 Vientiane time (GMT+7)
Vientiane, Lao PDR
Virtual participation through Zoom.

The EBA Engagement Workshop in Lao PDR was organized in two virtual sessions on 16 and 17 September 2021 in close cooperation with the EU Delegation in Vientiane, the trade section at the EU Delegation in Bangkok, and the International Trade Centre (ITC) and DG Trade and DG Taxud of the European Commission, Brussels, Belgium. The two-day workshop brought together overall 165 participants representing industry, government authorities, research, and civil society but also representatives of regional EU embassies and European stakeholders.

The EU EBA Engagement Workshop in Laos served as an opportunity to engage in dialogue and build relationships between local and international stakeholders. The overall objective of the event was to facilitate and encourage the exchange of local experiences, knowledge, and best practices with the EU’s “Everything but Arms” (EBA) arrangement. Furthermore, the event introduced Lao PDR’s stakeholders to the GSP+ and sensitized participants to
the opportunities and challenges this arrangement presents following LDC graduation. Finally, this workshop aimed to identify and discuss areas and strategies for further economic development and diversification of the countries’ economy and its exports to the EU.

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all times indicated in Vientiane time (GMT+7)

Day 1: 16 September 2021- Leveraging Trade Opportunities under the EU's 'Everything But Arms'
14:30 - 15:00 Opening Session
  • Keynote and welcome - H.E. Ms Ina Marčiulionytė, EU Ambassador to Lao PDR 
  • Keynote and welcome - H.E. Mr Khampheng Xaysompheng, Minister of Industry and Commerce
  • Introduction to the GSP Hub Project - Dr Willem van der Geest, Team Leader, GSP Hub Project
15:00 - 16:55 Leveraging Trade Opportunities under the EU's 'Everything But Arms'
  • 15:00 Introductory remarks
  • 15:05 Input talk: Export potential of Lao products on the EU market.
  • 15:25 Input talk: Opportunities of sustainable agricultural products
  • 15:45 Q&A with participants
  • 16:00 Panel Discussion: Leveraging the potential of EBA preferences
    moderated by Dr Willem van der Geest, followed by Q&A with participants
    • Mr Somphone Phady, Deputy Director of Trade in Goods Division, Department of Foreign Trade Policy, Ministry of Industry and Commerce 
    • Mr Peter Fogde, President, European Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Lao PDR
    • Mr Poul Skov Petersen, Senior Administration Manager, Mascot International (Lao) Sole Co., Ltd 

This session will focus on EBA preferences and on the question how Lao PDR could further leverage the benefits and opportunities the EBA provides. As part of this session, speakers will highlight products with potential on the EU market as well as ways to overcome existing impediments or challenges leading to underutilisation of preferences in certain product sections.


Day 2: 17 September 2021 - Trade with the EU after LDC graduation- Opportunities under the GSP+
15:00 - 16:30 Trade with the EU after LDC graduation- Opportunities under the GSP+
  • 15:00 Welcome and introduction
    • Dr Willem van der Geest, Team Leader, GSP Hub Project
  • 15:05 Input talk: What is the EU’s GSP+, its opportunities and requirements? with Q&A session
  • 15:30 Input talk: GSP+ Business Focus: Implications and opportunities for Lao exporters. with Q&A session
    • Mr Christophe Fontaine, International Relations Officer - Preferential origin - General, GSP, Asia and Oceania, DG TAXUD, European Commission
    • Ms Marianna Molnar, Policy Officer - Trade aspects of rules of origin, DG TRADE,  European Commission
    • Presentation slides (English)
  • 16:00 Input talk: The GSP+ and international values- meeting the eligibility criteria for GSP+ accession. with Q&A session
    • Mr Graeme Buckley, Director of the ILO Decent Work Technical Support Team for East and South-East Asia and the Pacific and ILO Country Office for Thailand, Cambodia and Lao PDR
    • Presentation slides (English)

This session will take a more forward-looking perspective, focussing on how the trade relationship between the EU and Lao PDR could be structured following LDC graduation. The GSP+ provides the opportunity to maintain preferential access to the EU market and to facilitate sustainable development and economic growth domestically.

16:30 - 17:00 Closing Session

with closing remarks by

  • Mr Itthilith NGANGNOUVONG, Deputy Director General , Department of Foreign Trade Policy, Ministry of Industry and Commerce of the Lao PDR
  • Mr Petros Sourmelis, Head of Trade and Economic Section, Delegation of the European Union to Thailand

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