TOKYO - Bringing Laos' human resources and legal structure up to regional standards is crucial ahead of ASEAN's economic integration late this year, Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong told The Nikkei here Friday.
The ASEAN Economic Community is aimed at lowering barriers to the flow of people, goods and money across the borders of its 10 members, creating an economic sphere of 600 million people. Six countries, including Singapore and Thailand, have already abolished the bulk of their tariffs and plan to harmonize such systems as taxes.
Thongsing stressed the benefits of the initiative for his country, whose development has lagged behind that of other Association of Southeast Asian Nations members.
"The market getting bigger is appealing," he pointed out. "That's also meaningful for Laos."
The integration is expected to bring competition with more developed countries, such as Singapore.