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"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."

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. The Summary and Key Recommendations note highlights 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.

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