Laos is drafting a strategy to develop a set of national quality control standards, because building trade with other countries in the region will require up-to-standard facilities to be built and maintained.
Officials from the relevant sectors attended a seminar in Vientiane yesterday to discuss the draft strategy on quality control standards before Laos joins the World Trade Organisation (WTO) later this year or early next year, and becomes part of the Asean Economic Community (AEC) in 2015.
Membership in the WTO and AEC will require allowing the free flow of goods and services within the region and the world. With most countries attaching great importance to protecting their own interests, they are putting the necessary preparations in place to compete in a single regional market.
One aspect of this is building up standards and measurements a nd assessing processing facilities and other enterprises to make sure they meet the international standards that WTO requires.
Having quality standardised infrastructure nationwide will help to protect consumers in terms of health and safety and environmental protection, and will be required in many areas if products from Laos are to be recognised on the world market.
Representatives from the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, provincial authorities and representatives from the private sector attended a quality control seminar recently, which was chaired by Deputy Minister of Science and Technology Mr Sakhone Chaleunvong.
Officials said it was essential to have national quality control standards in place to promote and protect socio-economic development in Laos and further the country’s integration with the rest of the region and the world.
Standards in relation to infrastructure will include developing various techniques and rules regarding goods production and service delivery, to ensure they meet the standards required for certification by the International Standards Organisation (ISO).
National quality controls will help to ensure that factories, processing facilities and other businesses conform to ISO standards, aiming to promote efficiency in terms of production and facilitate further international trade.
During yesterday’s seminar, companies that have already received ISO certification gave presentations about its benefits, before opening the floor to companies that wish to obtain certification and answering questions on the issue.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce gave a presentation about the WTO situation, how to gain access to the organisation, and the actions Laos has taken in this regard.
Seminar participants contributed their opinions to the draft strategy in a frank manner to ensure the quality control strategy is more comprehensive and easier to implement.
Laos applied to become a WTO member in 1997 and over the years has gradually refined various laws and standards pertaining to economics and trade.
The government believes that WTO membership will help to open up the country’s economy and accelerate the economic reform process. Most Asean member countries are already members of the WTO and Laos trades mainly with these countries.
As the Asean Economic Community draws closer meanwhile, the various sectors in Laos are preparing to deal with the challenges and opportunities it will present in order to benefit from regional integration.
The AEC seeks to transform Asean into a single market and production base; the stated goal is to produce a highly competitive economic region that is fully integrated into the global economy, but one in which economic development is equitable.
Source: Vientiane Times
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