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Lao PDR Market Access Guide: Trading with ASEAN Dialogue Partners - Australia and New

Lord, Montague J. (2013): Lao PDR Market Access Guide: Trading with ASEAN Dialogue Partners - Australia and New.

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Abstract

Laos benefits from the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA). The Agreement has eliminated tariffs on 90% of Australia’s and New Zealand’s imports, with the remaining tariff lines to be removed by 2020. For Laos, it provides for a much longer transition period for eliminating tariffs in recognition of the country’s status as a newer ASEAN member having as least developed country status.

The Agreement also eliminates non-tariff barriers like licensing requirements; offers procedures on standards and sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures; facilitates communications and shipping services; and guarantees equal treatment to foreign investments. These preferential arrangements offer Laos significant opportunities for accessing the Australian and New Zealand markets in a wide range of products.

Although tariff rates are, on average, relatively low for non-AANZFTA countries, they still raise costs. Lao producers and exporters therefore have a competitive cost advantage because Australian and New Zealand importers can buy Lao products without having to pay customs duties on those imports.

Australia and New Zealand have conducive environments for doing business. Both rank within the top 10 best countries in general, and they both have above-average rankings for ease of trading across borders. In addition, Australia’s and New Zealand’s logistics environments are highly favorable to trading.

Both countries rely heavily on trade with ASEAN countries. The ASEAN region is the largest trading partner of Australia and the fourth largest one for New Zealand.

This study covers the operation of the Agreement and its parts related to rules of origin, opportunities of Lao businesses, how to gain access to the market, and useful contacts and resources.

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