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United States – Lao PDR Sign Agreement In Principle Concerning WTO Accession

Lao PDR is a least developed country (LDC) accession candidate to the World Trade Organization (WTO). On December 16th, 2011 U.S. Ambassador to the WTO, Michael Punke, and Lao PDR Minister of Industry and Commerce, Dr. Nam Viyaketh, signed an agreement in principle on bilateral market access, associated with Lao PDR’s accession to the WTO. The agreement reflects an understanding of the industrial goods, agricultural goods, and services market access commitments that are to be reflected in Lao PDR’s market access schedules when it becomes a Member of the WTO. This agreement is an important step forward in Lao PDR’s WTO accession process. The United States has a strong bilateral relationship with Lao PDR under an existing bilateral trade agreement, and firmly supports Lao PDR’s efforts to accede to the WTO. The United States provides extensive technical assistance through USAID to support Lao PDR’s WTO accession and economic reforms. Adoption of WTO provisions builds strong economic institutions that have a long term positive impact on trade, economic growth and domestic development, and the process of WTO accession helps facilitate the reforms necessary to enhance economic growth and development.