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LAOS: Export-Import Permit Approval Processing Time Set to be Cut by 50%

The new Service Charter set to be adopted by the Department of Import and Export (DIMEX) some time later this year is expected to reduce the processing time for various essential trade documents, including export-import permits and Certificates of Origin (COOs). This will see import-export permits for fuel, vehicles and diamonds actioned within 24 hours of initial application or within 12 hours when such an application is made electronically via the Lao National Single Window (LNSW). At present manual applications take 48 hours to process, while online submissions are normally cleared within 24 hours.

In the case of COOs, the required processing time will be cut from four to two hours, while permits for goods in transit, as well as for the import of goods for re-export purposes, will be actioned in 24 hours rather than the current 48. In a related change, export-import officials are to be obliged to respond to any written inquiry within three working days rather than the maximum of five which is currently permitted.

In the cases of livestock, food items and pharmaceuticals, it is expected that the need for an export-import licence is to be wholly rescinded, although the authorities will retain the right to conduct any ad hoc quality inspections they may deem necessary.

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