The vice-chairman of Laos' national Chamber of Commerse says Laos' garment exports are not benefitting as much as expected from the NTR status it has received from the U.S. government.
The official adds that his country's garment exports to the United States totalled 2.6 million dollars in 2004, and after Laos was granted the Normalized Trade Relations(NTR) status in February 2005, that amount increased only one million dollars to $3.6 million, whereas in 2000 Laos was able to export $20-million worth of garments to the US.
He says the reasons are that Laos' garment exports cannot compete wih its neighbors, namely China, Vietnam, and Cambodia, who enjoy the advantage of receiving NTR many years ahead of Laos. According to him, Laos will be able to compete with its neighbors only when it receives GSP status from the US.
The GSP status granted to Laos by Canada and the European Union has enabled Laos to increase its garment export revenues to $130 million in 2005, the second highest after its tourism revenues.
Listen to our Laos Today report for more details.