February 23, 2005, Vientiane Times

By Souknilundon Southivongnorath

The First National Reference Group Meeting took place in Vientiane yesterday to discuss business competition policy in developing countries.

“The meeting today brings local business representatives to share ideas, comments and contributions concerning the present competition scenario in Laos. Justice in business practices is a concern because some operations will be strong while others are weak,” said National Economic Research Institute (NERI) Deputy Director, Dr Leeber Leebouapao.

NERI and the Consumer Unity and Trust Society cooperated to research the state of business competition in Laos and to identify areas of potential improvement.

“Now that the government is using standard marketing mechanisms in building its economy, the most important aspect is that competition be allowed on a free and fair basis. To guarantee healthy competition we need a policy framework to manage and provide fairness in business competition,” Dr Leeber explained.

Current competition scenarios have been researched by NERI and then compared with government policies and laws. Their findings will be incorporated in a document for study by the government.

“The local business participants here today will brainstorm the document and we will then discuss it further and do more research into what should and should not be included in the document before handing it to the government,” said Dr Leeber.

He said that the meeting would help to promote the idea of competition and would ultimately improve the quality of products manufactured and lower their price through the natural forces of competition, which would be of benefit to all consumers.