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Taking Advantage of E-Commerce : Legal, Regulatory and Trade Facilitation Priorities for Lao PDR

The rapid growth of e-commerce globally, including in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), helps lower the costs of trade for Lao PDR exporters, and reduces prices for consumers. E-commerce can reduce costs for those who often face the greatest challenges in participating in traditional trade, including women, small firms, people with physical disabilities, and people in isolated communities. However, constraints in the e-commerce environment, such as limited Internet connectivity, high costs of payments, an incomplete regulatory infrastructure, and high trade facilitation and logistics costs, hold Lao PDR back, resulting in low levels of participation in e-commerce at the present, based on available data. These constraints will need to be addressed in order to foster greater e-commerce participation. This note sets out some of the key challenges Lao PDR faces in upgrading its competitiveness in e-commerce, based on indicators that compare its performance with other countries. It does not provide an exhaustive coverage of all the constraints faced, but introduces more detailed analysis on two aspects of the e-commerce environment: (1) regulations that have specific relevance for e-commerce, e.g., in protection of personal data, consumer protection and privacy, and; (2) the trade facilitation environment affecting e-commerce. The legal and regulatory framework contains some elements necessary to support greater participation in e-commerce, but in other areas it needs strengthening. Two important areas for further work are in strengthening the protection of consumers participating in e-commerce; and developing and implementing legislation for the protection of personal data. Taxation of e-commerce is an important policy area, and a focus for many governments in ASEAN, as well as globally. Aspects of the taxation regime require clarification (e.g., the application of a de minimis threshold for low-value goods shipments ). Such taxation reforms should be informed by a previous careful assessment of costs and benefits, based on actual flows of services and goods in Lao PDR, before introducing new taxes that might restrict the growth of e-commerce before it has begun.

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Additional Info

Field Value
Document type Reports, journal articles, and research papers (including theses and dissertations)
Language of document
  • English
  • Communications infrastructure
  • Economy and commerce
  • Internet
Geographic area (spatial range)
  • Lao People's Democratic Republic
Copyright Yes
Version / Edition 1
License Creative Commons Attribution
Author (corporate) Bartley Johns, Marcus; Hoppe, Mombert; Molinuevo, Martin; Nghardsaysone, Konesawang; Daza Jaller, Lillyana Sophia
Publisher World Bank Group
Publication date 2018
Pagination 33
Keywords Regulatory and Trade Facilitation Priorities for Lao PDR,Taking Advantage of E-Commerce in Lao PDR
Date uploaded May 7, 2019, 02:35 (UTC)
Date modified December 4, 2019, 06:46 (UTC)