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The special needs and difficulties of landlocked countries as they seek to achieve integration into the global economy have been increasingly recognized by the international community as requiring particular attention. Correspondingly, the proper mix of domestic policies and trade policy reforms for landlocked countries present a complicated agenda due to the inevitable requirements of economic structural adjustment and improved market access required for effective global integration. The Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), now in the midst of its accession to the WTO, provides a useful platform to identify and analyze such needs and difficulties as well as what may or may not be appropriate corresponding reforms. In this report, Laos’ challenges encountered as part of the WTO accession process will be surveyed. Subsequently, the linkages between Laos’ domestic reform processes and WTO accession will be analyzed, with a particular focus on certain key sectors and institutional arrangements. Based upon foregoing, policy recommendations for the Lao PDR government and regional and international organizations, particularly, UNESCAP will be presented in the conclusion to this report. Throughout this report, the status of Laos as a landlocked country and a least developed country (LDC) are stressed as giving rise to special considerations and policy responses.

By Donald J. Lewis
The special needs and difficulties of landlocked countries as they seek to achieve integration into the global economy have been increasingly recognized by the international community as requiring particular attention. Correspondingly, the proper mix of domestic policies and trade policy reforms for landlocked countries present a complicated agenda due to the inevitable requirements of economic structural adjustment and improved market access required for effective global integration. The Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), now in the midst of its accession to the WTO, provides a useful platform to identify and analyze such needs and difficulties as well as what may or may not be appropriate corresponding reforms. In this report, Laos’ challenges encountered as part of the WTO accession process will be surveyed. Subsequently, the linkages between Laos’ domestic reform processes and WTO accession will be analyzed, with a particular focus on certain key sectors and
institutional arrangements. Based upon foregoing, policy recommendations for the Lao PDR government and regional and international organizations, particularly, UNESCAP will be presented in the conclusion to this report. Throughout this report, the status of Laos as a landlocked country and a least developed country (LDC) are stressed as giving rise to special considerations and policy responses.

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