Laos has delayed its goal of joining the World Trade Organization until 2009, citing unpreparedness and inability to meet the necessary requirements by 2008 as originally planned.
Laos applied for WTO membership in 1997 and was granted observer status in 1998. Since then it has been preparing itself to meet all the requirements with assistances from the World Bank, IMF, ADB, as well as the EU and fellow ASEAN members. Lao trade officials have also held two talks with WTO, with the third one scheduled for the end of this year.
Nevertheless, Laos is still far from meeting all the requirements pre-requisite to joining WTO.
Listen to our report for more details in Lao.