IBI supports a modern, flexible framework for electronic transactions in Laos
Technology plays a critical role in private sector development. It is increasingly important for businesses and consumers to be able to settle transactions over long distances, and even across borders. The Laos’ Law on Electronic Transactions (2012) established the general principles on the use of electronic communications, electronic contracting, and e
lectronic signatures in Lao PDR. The law applies to all types of electronic transactions on websites and e-commerce platforms, e-mails, instant messaging, and mobile payments.
The e-commerce landscape has evolved rapidly within the past 11 years, marked in part by the ever-increasing use of mobile phones to facilitate business-to-business and business-to-consumer transactions. With this in mind, various stakeholders in Laos have proposed that the legal framework be amended.
Between late 2021 and 2022, the USAID Laos Business Environment Activity assisted the Department of Digital Technology, Ministry of Technology and Communications, to develop a draft Amendment to the Law on Electronic Transactions in line with recent developments in international law and best practices, to create a modern, flexible framework for electronic transactions in Lao PDR. After the National Assembly approved the draft legislation, the law was promulgated by the President on February 10, 2023, and became effective on March 22, 2023.
The amended law reinforces underlying principles of e-transactions, such as ensuring that paper-based and electronic documents are treated equally in view of the law, and that businesses can choose their preferred devices to conduct transactions. This will further support the growth of Laos’ paperless trade, ultimately providing small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Laos with a more e-commerce-friendly environment to compete and thrive in ever-growing global markets.