The Food & Drug Department
Any individual, commercial company, or agency wishing to import, or export food products must obtain in advance a permit from the Food Control Division under the Food and Drug Department of the Ministry of Health. Each province has a food and drug division at the provincial Ministry of Health offices. The importer must use the prescribed form and the application must be accompanied by a number of supporting documents that will enable the Ministry of Health to assess the product. These documents may include an Analysis Certificate or other certificates, which are usually listed on the application form but, if in doubt, you should seek guidance from the relevant department of the Ministry of Health. Once the Import Permit has been issued, the document must be presented to Customs and to the Ministry of Health Inspector at the border when importing the goods. The importer then proceeds with the normal import procedure.
When the goods arrive at the border the importer or his authorized agent must present himself or herself to the Ministry of Health Officer who will check the documents and will carry out a physical inspection of the products to allow the consignment to be cleared.
Standards & Standards Organizations
There is the curtain standard that you need to follow when import-export or transit goods. There are 250 voluntaries ‘Lao National Standards’ that businesses and traders operating in Laos can choose to apply to the products they deal in. Procedures for applying the National Standards are provided for in the Law on Standardization and the PM Decree to Implement the Law on Standardization. https://www.laotradeportal.gov.la/index.php?r=SearchMeasures/standard
Conformity Assessment: Conformity assessment available as per Law on Standardization 55/NA
Product Certification: Product certification available as per Law on Standardization 55/NA
Accreditation: A accreditation bodies available as per Law on Standardization 55/NA
Labelling and Marking: According to regulation 027/CFDC, all food imported into Laos for consumer use must be labelled in accordance with Food and Drug Control Department requirements. In practice, this requirement is not always enforced.
Department of Standards and Metrology: Department of Intellectual Property. http://www.laotradeportal.gov.la/index.php?r=site/displayb&id=220
Agreement on Trade and Transport Facilitation
Laos became a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2013, and is working towards meeting the requirements of the ASEAN Economic Community.
The following countries have granted Generalized System of Preference (GSP) status to Laos: Canada, Japan; Australia (no import tax); European Union; South Korea; Norway and Switzerland.
Laos has also signed trade agreements with 15 countries, including: Vietnam, China, Cambodia, Burma, Thailand, North Korea; Mongolia, Malaysia, Russia, India, Belarus, Argentina, the United States, Kuwait and Turkey.
Lao Customs is the customs authority of Laos, with the responsibility of governing and overseeing the flow of goods, people and vehicles into and out of Laos; operating customs offices; and collecting import and export duty fees.
Lao customs is composed of the Customs Department, Customs Offices at the local level, Border Customs ports and Mobile Customs Units. Lao Customs operates regional offices in most towns and cities, including offices located in Attapeu, Bokeo, Bolikhamsai, Champassack, Huaphanh, Khammuane, Luang Namtha, Luang Prabang, Oudomxay, Phongsaly, Saravanne, Savannnakhet, Sekong, Vientiane Municipality, Vientiane Province, Xayaboury, Xaysomboune Special Zone and Xieng Khouang.
For more information on regulatory departments and quality control laboratories’ contact details, please see the following links: 4.1 Government Contact List and 4.3 Laboratory and Quality Testing Company Contact List.