New Enterprise Registration System in Lao PDR

Since the Prime Minister’s Order No. 02/PM of 2018, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce (“MOIC”) has been focusing on the regulatory amendments in respect business incorporation and corporate amendment procedures for investment in general business activities. The Ministry of Planning and Investment (“MPI”) and the MOIC in collaboration with the relevant line ministries have also revised and identified the lists of general business subject to control and concession business (“Lists of Controlled and Concession Businesses”) administered by the MPI which was adopted under the Decree on Adoption of Lao PDR Lists of Controlled and Concession Businesses No. 03 dated 10 January 2019 (“Decree No. 03”). Investors seeking to invest in controlled and concession businesses will need to apply with the MPI for an investment licence (“Investment Licence”). In the old system, the MOIC was responsible for both controlled and non-controlled general business investment. Individuals or entities looking to conduct business activities outside the Lists of Controlled and Concession Businesses must file application with the MOIC for an enterprise registration certificate (“ERC”). Under the new system pursuant to the Decision on Enterprise Registration No. 0023/MOIC dated 9 January 2019 (“Decision No. 0023”) (effective from February of 2019), the MOIC has reduced certain documentary and approving requirements for the business entity registration including application documents, approval letters and application processing. For instance, the old requirement of having to obtain prior consent from an industry specific authority before the proposed entity could be incorporated has been waived by the MOIC. The ERC will now be issued without listing the business activities which are subject to an Investment Licence and/or an industry...