General & Misc

NA approves New Law to safeguard Local Products from Unfair Imports

Date: 17 June 2019; Type: Legal News; Source: Vientiane Times

The 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.

As Laos integrates into the region, it needs to enact laws to protect it from unfair trade competition.

Minister of Industry and Commerce, Ms Khemmani Pholsena told the NA’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).

The minister said if Laos does not have this 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 this law, the nation 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.

Ms Khemmani said the WTO reported between January 1, 1995, and December 31, 2017, that 51 countries applied anti-dumping measures in 3,604 cases. India implemented the most measures followed by the USA and European Union. Among Asean member countries, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam applied these measures.

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

Laos became a member of the WTO on February 2, 2013. During the preparation period to join the WTO, Laos enacted and revised more than 90 laws and regulations associated with international trade.

After joining the WTO, the nation has continued to enact and revise laws and regulations to facilitate economic activities and safeguard local producers from unfairly imported products.

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

The seventh ordinary session of the National Assembly’s 8th Legislature opened on June 5, and so far NA members have approved three laws including the amendment of forestry law and vocational education.

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