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  • The regulations on foreign investments in wholesale and retail businesses in the Lao PDR have been changed. Previously, the operation of wholesale and retail businesses in the Lao PDR by foreign investors was strictly controlled. Foreign investors were not permitted to engage in retail businesses while certain strict conditions were applied when investing in wholesale businesses. However, after 22 May 2015, these conditions were amended by the Decision on Wholesale and Retail Business No. 1005/MOIC with the intention to allow foreign investors to operate in both retail and wholesale business in the Lao PDR under certain conditions.

  • The Ministry of Industry and Commerce has approved the promulgation of the Agreement on Wholesale and Retail Business No. 1005/IC.DT, dated 22 May 2015, which was made official by publication in the Lao Official Gazette on 24 June 2015. The major changes announced by this agreement are that foreigners are now allowed to invest in the wholesale and retail business under certain conditions. The Agreement on Wholesale and Retail Business is set to attract many foreign distributors to establish the wholesale and retail business in the Lao PDR, including automobile distributors.

  • The Ninth Ordinary Session of the Lao National Assembly’s Seventh Legislature and the Premier Ordinary Session of the Lao National Assembly’s Eighth Legislature (the “Conference”) was successfully held from July 1st – 22nd 2015 and from May 20th -22nd 2016, respectively.

  • After the fifth Ordinary Session of Lao National Assembly concluded successfully on 16 July 2013, three new draft laws had been approved: 1) The Law on Science and Technology; 2) The Law on Social Security; and 3) The Law on Lao Women’s Union. Apart from this, the Lao National Assembly also approved amendments of another two laws: The Law on Tourism and the Law on Food.

  • As computers and technology play an important role in our daily life, many transactions are not only played out within the confines of each individual country but across borders throughout the international community. The Lao PDR has realized this, and therefore has adopted the Law on Electronic Transactions (the “E-Transactions Law”) promulgated on 17 January 2013 through the National Assembly.

  • According to the Law on Investment Promotion, a representative office may be established in the Lao PDR provided that it is approved by the Ministry of Planning and Investment. Such approval shall have a term of 1 year. It may be renewed for another 2 times, 1 year for each approval. In this regard, the total term of the representative office shall not exceed 3 years. After the term of the representative office has expired, the investors may establish a company in the Lao PDR in accordance with relevant laws and regulations depending on the type of business and investment.

  • Importing liquor products for distribution in the Lao PDR is allowed only through an entity established legally under the laws of the Lao PDR. As liquor products fall under the category of “Food” under Law on Food No. 04/NA, dated 15 May 2004 (“Law on Food”), approval for importing liquor products shall be granted by the Department of Food and Drug, Ministry of Public Health. The Law on Food requires that all imported products must be safe for consumer health. The quality and standard of the container, packaging and labor must also be certified by the Management and Food Inspection Organization.

  • The court system in the Lao PDR consists of The People’s Supreme Court, The People’s Courts of Appeal, The People’s Courts in Provincial and City Level, The People’s Courts in District and Municipal Level, and The Military Court.

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  • Currently, the insurance business is not a competitive business in the Lao PDR as there are only 6 insurance companies operating within the Lao PDR, i.e. Assurances Generales du Laos, Champa, Lao-Viet Insurance Co., Mitsui Sumitomo: MSIG Insurance (Lao) Com, Ltd., PCT Asia (formerly Insee Insurance Co. Ltd.), and Toko Assurance Co. Ltd.According to the law on Investment Promotion No.02/NA, dated 8 July 2009, the insurance business is listed as a concession business. Therefore, any application in relation to an establishment of an insurance company or insurance broker must be submitted to Ministry of Planning and Investment (the “MPI”) for consideration.

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