Lao-EU Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade towards Voluntary Partnership Agreement (Lao-EU FLEGT VPA)

Ministry of Industry and Commerce consulted on timber Import and Export statistic improvement

The Department of Import and Export (DIMEX) of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce (MOIC) organized a kick-off meeting on 30th October 2020 to start their project on the development of guidelines for import and export of timber products and the improvement of quality of timber export data in cooperation with related sectors. The meeting was chaired by Ms. Manivone Vongxay, Deputy Director General of the Department of Import and Export. Recent assessments have shown that several procedures of export declaration and data collection of timber products exist, but they are inconsistent and uncoordinated. Often different agencies use different data sources and data cleaning methods, which lead to data quality issues and has posed huge challenges both for the government and the operators exporting timber as clear government guidelines for operators are lacking. Specifically for exporters little guidance in the form of checklists or manuals are available to ease the procedures of exporting timber products.

In relation to the stated background, the objectives of the meeting were to:

  1. To introduce the project of the Department of Import and Export of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce as part of the FLEGT-VPA process between Laos and EU. The project is supported by the GIZ project Protection and Sustainable Use of Forest Ecosystems and Biodiversity (ProFEB) with co-financing support by the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) to promote VPA negotiations in Vietnam, Lao PDR and Cameroon, about legal timber supply chains management between VPA partners.
  2. To generate an informed understanding of the current issues related to the export of timber products and establish procedures for addressing them under the Lao FLEGT-VPA process.
  3. To support reconciliation of export data between MOIC/DIMEX and MOF/Customs and to identify possible cooperation for addressing data discrepancies between Laos and Vietnam.
  4. To revise and align the procedures and regulations for exporting timber with the timber legality assurance system in Lao PDR (ongoing processing) and address the possibility to use modern export systems as Lao National Single Window (LNSW).

The participants have been made aware of the current challenges in timber product export from Laos and the meeting discussed possible next steps for addressing those by development of a workplan and by forming a working group between relevant agencies. The meeting also discussed the new TLAS Decree in Vietnam, which has possible implications on the export procedures of timber products from Laos to Vietnam. The participants agreed that communication between the related agencies and between Laos and Vietnam needs to be encouraged and facilitated to support the FLEGT process in both countries.

For detailed information of the workshop, please visit the MOIC website: ກະຊວງອຸດສາຫະກໍາ ແລະ ການຄ້າ ປຶກສາຫາລືການປັບປຸງສະຖິຕິການນໍາເຂົ້າ ແລະ ສົ່ງອອກໄມ້ (moic.gov.la