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Laos approves new law to safeguard local products

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Laos approves new law to safeguard local products

Laos’ National Assembly (NA) on Friday approved a new law relating to anti-dumping and countervailing duties in order to protect domestic products from unfair imports.

Laos’ Minister of Industry and Commerce Khemmani Pholsena (pictured, Vientiane Times) told the assembly’s ongoing session on Friday that the enactment of the law was part of Laos’ efforts to fulfil its obligations as a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

She said if Laos does not have the law, it cannot apply anti-dumping and countervailing duty measures against the unfairly imported products.

According to the WTO, if a company exports a product at a price lower than it generally charges in its home market, it is said to be dumping the product.

WTO agreements do not regulate the actions of companies engaged in dumping. However, they allow governments to act against dumping where there is a genuine injury to the competing domestic industry.

Before reacting or applying response measures, the government has to be able to show that dumping is taking place and how much the dumping threatens the domestic industry and economy.

The WTO says a member country can use the organisation’s dispute settlement procedure to seek the removal of the subsidy or the elimination of its adverse effects.

NA members agreed that with the law, Laos could launch its own investigations and decide to charge extra duty on subsidised imports if those imported products were found to be damaging to local producers.

The law will serve as a legal instrument for the Lao government to take response measures against dumping and impose subsidy duties to safeguard domestic producers from unfairly imported products.

It will create confidence for entrepreneurs and investors operating in Laos as their rights and legitimate interests will be protected.

Khemmani said the WTO reported that between January 1, 1995, and December 31, 2017, 51 countries applied anti-dumping measures in 3,604 cases. India implemented the most measures followed by the US and the EU. Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam applied the measures.

The minister also said 22 countries had applied countervailing measures in 257 cases. The US initiated the most measures followed by the EU and Canada. No country in Asean implemented the measures.

During the preparation period to join the WTO in 2013, Laos enacted and revised more than 90 laws and regulations associated with international trade. VIENTIANE TIMES/ANN