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Preparing to Unlock the Lockdown with Lao PDR

6 May 2021

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Vientiane, 6 May 2021: ERIA’s Capacity Building Programme held an online workshop, ‘Unlocking the Lockdown: Alignment of Domestic and Regional Policies’ on 6 May. Hosted jointly by the Ministry of Planning and Investment’s Centre for Development Policy Research (CDR), 31 officials from a wide range of ministries and agencies participated in the workshop. The workshop was led by Dr Shandre Thangavelu from the University of Adelaide’s Institute of International Trade and the Jeffrey Cheah Institute of Southeast Asia, Sunway University.

Divided into two sessions, the first session focused on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on ASEAN, looking at the gaps, challenges and alignments of domestic policy, with a focus on the importance of addressing policy coordination between the national and sub-national levels to mitigate the pandemic shock. The second session discussed relief, stimulus, and the potential for global value chain (GVC) recovery in East Asia, looking at strategy for maintaining market access and opportunities. The workshop also identified trends for the post-recovery period and their economic implications.

Dr Sitthiroth Rasphone, Acting Director-General of the Centre for Development Policy Research, in his opening comments for the workshop, highlighted the importance of this workshop to support Lao PDR in mitigating the pandemic effects by formulating a good policy response and producing constructive actions for post-economic recovery in the long-term. Ms Hannah Wurf, Second Secretary, Australian Embassy in Lao PDR, delivered opening remarks on behalf of the Australian Government, which funds the Capacity Building Program. She highlighted how this workshop supports the officials in defining strategies to mitigate the pandemic effects.She also mentioned the importance of regionalism especially with the establishment of RCEP.

Deputy Director-General Sisavanh Didaravong closed the workshop by expressing her utmost gratitude for this workshop and the clear guidance it provided for identifying policy responses for the post-COVID-19 economic recovery. Mr Jeremy Gross, ERIA’s Director of Capacity Building, moderated the workshop. He noted ERIA’s continuous commitment to promote ASEAN economic integration by delivering analytical research and policy recommendations across the region.

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