Lao PDR Delegation's Courtesy Visit to ERIA
Jakarta, 7 July 2023: ERIA warmly received a high-level delegation from the Ministry of Industry and Commerce (MOIC) of Lao PDR at its office on 7 July. Led by H.E. Dr Manothong VONGSAY, Vice Minister of Industry and Commerce, the nine-member MOIC delegation included Mr Saysana SAYAKHONE, Director General of the Foreign Trade Policy Department, and Deputy Permanent Secretary Mr Toulasai PHANTHAVONG. The delegation was accompanied by a representative from the Lao PDR Mission to ASEAN.
Professor Hidetoshi Nishimura, Supreme Advisor of ERIA, extended his gratitude and greetings to the delegation in his welcoming remarks, acknowledging the strong and warm relations between ERIA and MOIC. He highlighted past collaborations between ERIA and the Government of Lao PDR, including his meetings with former Minister H.E. Mme Khemmani PHOLSENA, H.E. Mme Pany YATHOYOU of the National Assembly, and the current Head of State, President Thongloun Sisoulith, during his tenure as prime minister. Prof. Nishimura shared a copy of the ERIA study titled ‘Lao PDR at the Crossroads: Industrial Development Strategy 2016-2030,’ which was a deliverable requested by H.E. Mme Khemmani PHOLSENA during Lao PDR’s previous ASEAN Chairmanship in 2016. Additionally, Prof. Nishimura emphasised the significance of the Global Dialogue Forum held in 2022 as an opportunity for the Chair. Before concluding his welcoming remarks, Prof. Nishimura reaffirmed ERIA’s unwavering commitment to supporting Lao PDR’s Chairmanship and acknowledged the contribution of the Capacity Building Programme, which engaged nearly 1,000 government officials over the past five years. H.E. Dr Manothong VONGSAY expressed his gratitude and highlighted ERIA’s contribution to Lao PDR. As a token of appreciation, he presented Prof. Nishimura with a Lao artwork.
Following the Welcoming Ceremony, key ERIA staff delivered presentations on their respective work. Economists from the Research Department, Dr Dionisius Narjoko (economic integration), Dr Han Phoumin (energy sector), Mr Masanori Kozono (agriculture), and Dr Lurong Chen (digital economy) provided brief overviews of their areas of expertise and current projects. This was followed by Mr Salvador Buban, Senior Policy Fellow from the Policy Design Department who described the department’s work, and Mr Jeremy Gross, Director of Capacity Building, who shared information about the program.
An open discussion, moderated by Dr Rashesh Shrestha, involved all participants and highlighted the interconnected interests of MOIC and ERIA’s work. MOIC shared specific concerns, including exit strategies from the post-COVID-19 situation, macroeconomic stability, and narrowing development gaps in ASEAN. They also emphasised the need for strategic thinking to drive the ASEAN Community’s Post-2025 Vision, along with the potentials for the Lao energy sector, MSMEs, digital transformation, and regulatory reform.
Dr Intan Murnira Ramli, ERIA Senior Policy Fellow, delivered the closing remarks, underlining the importance of creating a conducive environment to facilitate economic growth and foster structural transformation in Lao PDR and ASEAN.
The visit concluded with a guided tour of the ERIA office, facilitated by Ms Tyagita Silka Hapsari, ERIA’s Communication Supervisor.