With a little over a year before it starts implementing the ASEAN free trade agreement or AFTA, Laos calls on its private sector to speed up its modernization efforts so that it can compete with its ASEAN counterparts in the free trade zone.
When it officially joins AFTA in 2008, Laos has to lower its tariffs on over 3,000 foreign imports to no more than 5%, and completely abolish the tariffs by 2010. This means Laos will lose a lot of its import tariff revenues. And to make up for the loss, its private sector has to be able to compete with its counterparts in the ASEAN Free Trade zone, meaning Lao businesses have to improve their management styles and production capacity, so that their products can compete with foreign imports.
Listen to our Laos Today report for more details.