ERIA Supports Wrap-Up Meeting on Lao PDR’s PEDs
Vientiane, 2 May 2023: In preparation for the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) assuming the Chairmanship of ASEAN in 2024, the Lao government has been identifying issues it wishes to promote as Chair. Central to this, under the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Pillar, are prospective priority economic deliverables (PEDs).
Led by the Foreign Trade Policy Department (FTPD) of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce (MOIC), FTPD has spearheaded the development of PEDs in an open and inclusive manner, to make it a truly national endeavour. To do this, it has brought together stakeholders from across the country, and the private sector as well as public. ERIA has been pleased to be able to contribute to this process. At an initial meeting in Vientiane in February 2023, 21 proposed PEDs were presented. Dr Aladdin Rillo, ERIA’s Senior Economic Advisor, was able to provide comment and feedback on the proposed PEDs. Mr Jeremy Gross, Director of Capacity Building and coordinator of ERIA support for Lao PDR for the AEC Pillar, was also in attendance. Several directors from the ASEAN Secretariat (ASEC) contributed to the discussions in their respective field of competence.
On 2 May, following two regional consultations, a Wrap-Up Meeting was held in Vientiane to finalise the PEDs Lao PDR will propose to ASEAN. The meeting was opened by H.E. Manothong Vongsay, Vice Minister, MOIC, along with H.E. Paul Kelly, Australian Ambassador to Lao PDR. The Vice Minister noted how Lao PDR needed to focus on proposing a realistic number of achievable PEDs, where around a third of PEDs should be attributable to Lao ownership and promote a Lao legacy. H.E. Paul Kelly noted that this current work on PEDs will have an impact on Lao PDR as they will provide input for future national five year and socio-economic plans. Both the Vice Minister and Ambassador thanked ERIA for its contribution to the process. The ERIA Director of Capacity Building attended the event on-line.
Following overviews of the principles of PED development and the process to date by the Director General of FTPD, Mr Saysana Sayakone and Mr Sven Callebaut of TradeWorthy, the 18 PEDs, grouped in four strategic thrusts aligned with the main theme of the Lao 2024 Chairmanship 'Connected and Resilient' were presented and discussed.
The meeting concluded with a review of the list of PEDs, with some definitely agreed for inclusion in the final list, while other requiring more inputs from the ASEAN Secretariat before being considered for inclusion. Several PEDs will benefit from a rewording while others have been dropped altogether as not considered relevant for the Lao Chairmanship.
The FTPD will coordinate the development and approval of the final list, consulting with ASEC, ERIA and relevant sectoral committees, before submitting it officially to the ASEAN Secretariat.