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Memorandum of Understanding connects Lao textile producers with European market potential

On December 11th 2019 in Vientiane, the Lao Ministry of Industry and Commerce, the Lao Department of Trade Promotion, the Lao Handicraft Association and CBI signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to support the further development of the home-textile value chain in Laos.

There is significant potential for Lao home textiles to be positioned in the European market as a niche market for sourcing sustainable handmade home-textile products. Consequently, CBI has initiated the program “Hand-spun, naturally-dyed cotton products with sustainable values” to support Lao textile producers in entering the European market. Within this segment of the textile industry, there are a wide variety of attractive ethnic woven motifs and naturally-dyed colour ranges that have potential appeal for European consumers.

It was a lengthy process leading up to the signing of the MoU - which signifies the official launch of the program. All stakeholders were delighted that the signing took place and celebrated this new partnership between Lao PDR and the Netherlands.

The program has two core components: the first is the business export coaching trajectory, in which around 15 selected companies will receive export coaching to assist them in their approach to the European marketplace. Secondly, the program is focused on institutional development. In close cooperation with the MoU signatories, the CBI aims to elevate the export-enabling environment of the Lao home textiles sector to new levels.

CBI is currently engaged in selecting the SMEs that will participate in the program. The final selection is expected to be completed in early January 2020. Additionally, noteworthy things are occurring on the institutional side of the programme: the Lao Ministry of Planning invited all its partners, together with CBI, for a Project Executive Committee meeting on December 12th in Vientiane. During the meeting, all stakeholders were invited to talk about their mission and projects in order to create more synergy in international development work in Laos. This meeting indicates significant progress and CBI is looking forward to a fruitful collaboration going forward.