Asia, Europe Should Cement Cooperation To Narrow Development Gap: Laos

Asia and Europe should strengthen cooperation to narrow the development gap that remains wide, Laos has told the 12th Asia-Europe Meeting (Asem12) in Brussels, Belgium.

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Provincial SME’s Need Regulatory Burden Relief, Swifter Tax Registration

Authorities need to reduce the regulatory burden or “red tape” that businesses face in conducting their activities due to rules and regulations so that their compliance costs can be cut to increase their efficiency.

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Improved Business Environment To Support Sustainable Growth In Lao PDR

Lao firms and households are expected to benefit from a new US$13-million project, which will promote reforms to the business environment, for instance reducing the number of days needed to start a business.

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BOL Advises Media To Stop Ads For KIWI QR Code Payments (Alipay)

Authorities have directed all media outlets to stop carrying advertisements for KIWI Co Ltd’s QR Code payments and services via the Alipay system in Laos as they do not have the required permission from the Bank of the Lao PDR (BOL).

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Vientiane Airport: International Expansion As China Tourism Booms

Vientiane Airport has doubled the size of its international terminal, supporting a Laotian initiative to boost tourism. Laos expects Vientiane’s international passenger traffic to double over the next five years, driven by a rapid increase in visitor numbers.

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First UK English Language School Opens In Vientiane

Panyathip International School has partnered with the Wimbledon School of English, a British English language school, to officially open the Panyathip Education Centre in Vientiane.

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J&C Celebrates A Decade Of Success

Wednesday Night, J&C Services Celebrated our 10th anniversary surrounded by over 150 guests on the grounds of the J&C office compound. We are exceptionally proud of the services we have been offering expatriates in Laos for the past decade.
J&C Services is a fast growing business continuously searching for better and more unique products for our clients. At the beginning of this year, we expanded our activities to include a marketing department.

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Laos Continues To Be Target For Money Laundering

Laos continues to face a high risk of money laundering despite the country graduating from the “grey list” of the Financial Action Task Force last year, according to the National Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Risk Assessment (NRA).

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Laos’ Main Airport Got Huge Expansion

The international terminal of the airport serving the Laotian capital of Vientiane, Wattay International Airport, can now accommodate as many as 2.3 million foreign travelers a year, roughly nine times the original terminal’s capacity.

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Major To Open New Cinema In Laos

Vicha Poolvaraluck, chief executive of Major Cineplex, said he signed the deal with Thatnakhone Thammavong, president of TK Group and Lao World Plc, an owner of ITECC Mall, to open the new state-of-the-art cinema.

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New Decree Offers Tax Breaks For Investors in Lao SEZs

Domestic and foreign investors will be granted a number of tax breaks under a new amended decree related to specific and special economic zones (SEZs) issued recently by the government.

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Chinese Constructors Complete Foundations Of Mekong River Rail Bridges

The concrete casting for the last pier understructure of LuangPrabangrailway bridge has been successfully completed, laying down all the foundation construction work of the two cross-Mekong River super major bridges along the China-Laos railway.

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Inspection Ordered As Road Toll Bites In Champassak

Champassak provincial authorities will soon order an inspection of Road No. 16 including accurate details on the construction budget as the government contemplates plans to purchase the project rights from the private construction company.

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PM Urges Strengthening Business Sector Through Law Improvement

While giving a guidance talk at the 11th Lao Business Forum on Jul 5, Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith emphasized the importance of strengthening the business sector through the improvement of business-related laws and regulations adding that doing so could help achieve the national socio-economic development goals.

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First Certified Crypto Exchange In Laos Launches: Vientiane Exchange Money

Laos makes a move towards increasing its crypto-friendliness. The new development has brought the first-ever crypto exchange with an official certification in Laos. The exchange’s name is Vientiane Exchange Money, and it will only offer seven currencies – digital and traditional, at least for the time being.

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New Laos IP Law Is A Significant Step Forward For Domestic And International Brands

A new IP law will come into force in the Southeast Asian nation of Laos this weekend, introducing trademark opposition procedures to the country for the first time. The new law also stipulates the creation of a new digital platform for brand rights and expands the range of images eligible for trademark protection in the jurisdiction, among other things.

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New Flights To Boost Links Between Laos and China

Laos and China on Monday officially set in motion a new air route between the two countries, aimed not only at boosting tourism but also other areas of cooperation.
The new flight will carry tourists and other travellers between Vientiane and Luang Prabang province in Laos and Hainan province in China.

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J&C Services Awarded For Outstanding Performance For Its J&C Elite Care Health & Life Insurance Plan

During its annual agent meeting & celebration, Lanexang Assurance awarded J&C Services for their outstanding performance in 2017.
Stephan R. Aeschbach, owner of J&C Services, proudly accepted the award. “We are thrilled to receive this recognition for our performance” said Mr. Aeschbach, “we truly believe that providing a valuable service to our customers begins with creating a trusted partnership with our providers.”

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Laos’ Investment Outlook for 2018

Landlocked by Myanmar, Cambodia, China, Thailand, and Vietnam, Laos is among the poorest economies of the world. Yet, in terms of gross domestic product (GDP), the economy continues to soar. Over the last decade, Laos has sustained an average growth rate of 7.8 percent, relatively higher than its neighboring countries.

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Rule Of Law Key To Strengthening Laos’ Competitiveness

Laos has to strengthen the rule of law if it wants to become a competitive investment destination, according to a report from the World Bank.
“The country (Laos) faces issues that include weak regulatory effectiveness, control of corruption and rule of law,” the 2018-Doing Business in the Lao PDR report highlighted in its key findings.

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Tourism And Development Threaten Laos’ French Traditions

It remains a jewel of French colonial architecture, you can savor some of the best croissants and baguettes east of Paris here, and even toddlers still learn the language of their bygone rulers. Luang Prabang, tucked into a river valley in the heart of Laos, survives as one of the last bastions of the old French Indochina.

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Green Light For Tourism Complex Development In Vangvieng; Casino Pending Approval

A Chinese company is beginning construction of a more than US$200-million tourism complex at the disused airfield in Vangvieng district. The project will include a five-star hotel, a modern private hospital, a public park and a planned casino.

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Lao Factory Owners Say Proposed Wage Hike Will Shutter Businesses

Owners of garment factories and other businesses in Laos are rejecting a proposal to raise the minimum wage by as much as one-third, saying the increase in expenses would force them to shut down operations, despite reports of workers seeking opportunities elsewhere due to low pay and high living costs.

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How To Protect Your Intellectual Property In Laos

As Lao PDR’s economy grows and more companies begin conducting commercial activities here it will become increasingly important for businesses to protect and maintain their competitiveness in the market. A company’s failure to effectively protect its IP or to restrict infringement of its IP can lead to the loss of market share, revenue, reputation, opportunity and competitive advantage.

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Will Costs Continue To Cage Laos’ Regional Connectivity?

Laos is among the fastest growing economies in Southeast Asia: economic growth has averaged 7.8 per cent over the past decade. Despite the slow recovery of the global economy, the country’s growth rate was 6.9 per cent in 2017 and is expected to be 7 per cent in 2018. This is buoyed by an expansion in electricity production, manufacturing and agriculture, and it occurs despite a slight drop in tourist arrivals.

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Laos Dances To Survive Between China and Vietnam

While often portrayed as a pliant client to its larger neighbors, Vientiane’s balancing act is more astute than widely recognized
With its sparse 6.7 million population, land-locked Laos is often cast as a passive victim of pell-mell Chinese expansionism, a rich source of raw materials its giant neighbor craves and a virtual truck stop on the way to Thailand and the more prosperous countries of mainland Southeast Asia.

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High-speed Rail Project Will Force Thousands of Lao Families to Relocate

More than 4,400 Lao families are being forced to relocate to make way for the U.S. $6 billion Lao-Chinese high-speed railway whose construction began nearly a year ago as part of a longer rail project that will link China to mainland Southeast Asia, a public works ministry official said.

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American Pacific Resources Partners with Lao Company to Develop a 67,000-acre Gold Mining Project

PHI Group, Inc., (www.phiglobal.com) (OTCQB:PHIL), a company focused on mergers and acquisitions and investments in natural resources, energy, agriculture, and special situations, announced today that its subsidiary American Pacific Resources, Inc. (“APR”) (https://aprgold.com/) has signed a Business Cooperation and Investment Agreement with a Lao company to develop a 67,000-acre gold mining project in the Province of Savannakhet, Laos.

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B Grimm Goes Big With Power Projects In Laos

B GRIMM POWER has taken an aggressive move in building and operating hydropower plants in Laos. The company officially opened on Friday the Xanamnoy 2 and Xekatam 1 hydropower plants in Champasak province that shares a border with Thailand’s Northeastern Ubon Ratchathani province.

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The Lao-Singapore Tax Treaty/DTA is Now Effective

In case you missed it, Singapore’s reputation as an attractive holding company location for investments into Lao PDR recently went up a notch: after being signed way back in February 2014, the long-awaited tax treaty/double taxation agreement between Lao PDR and Singapore (the “DTA”) became effective on 1 January 2017.

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Arbitration in Laos

The choice of arbitration as a dispute resolution mechanism has risen in popularity as a time and cost-effective option to resolve commercial disputes. By including an arbitration clause in contractual arrangements, contracting parties may agree in advance on the seat and rules of arbitration, the size of the arbitration panel and even the rules to ….

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Laos Cuts Maximum Concession Period To 50 Years

Laos’ newly-amended Investment Promotion Law has moved to cut by half the maximum investment period for new concession projects to 50 years, down from the previous maximum period of 99 years.
The move is aimed at maximizing investment benefits for the Lao economy, an official from the Ministry of Planning and Investment involved in …

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China Top Foreign Investor In 2016

China overtook Vietnam to reclaim the number one position as the largest foreign investor in Laos last year.
China’s investment last year soared to over US$1 billion compared to US$88.9 million in 2015 while Vietnam’s investment decreased by US$4.5 million in 2016 after registering US$466 million in 2015.
Most of the investments are focused on the hydropower, mining and ….

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Why It’s Time To Comply: Internal Regulations For Workplaces In Laos

The Labour Law (2013) came into effect on 28 October 2014, repealing and replacing the previous Labour Law (2006) and introducing a number of significant changes relating to the basic rules of employment in Lao PDR. As the Labour Law is now well into its third year in force, we consider one of its more significant yet often overlooked legal requirements for employers in Lao PDR – internal regulations or “work rules” of the workplace for employees.

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These Are The Fastest Growing Economies In East Asia In 2017

The Philippines is just one growth engine for the region stretching from Japan to Singapore, and infrastructure booms are just one source of booming economies. Here are the countries that the World Bank projects will grow fastest in East Asia and the Pacific this year:
1. Laos. This impoverished country with a strict Communist government will grow 7% this year because of investment in the …

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Lao Province Issues Banana Ban

Authorities in the northern Lao province of Bokeo suspended the operations of 18 Chinese-backed banana plantations after they discovered widespread violations of the regulations governing the use of agricultural chemicals, government officials told RFA’s Lao Service.
“It has been a problem for the environment as the Chinese companies destroy the environment with their heavy use of chemicals,” a provincial official told ….

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China’s New Silk Road Is Getting Muddy

With the future of U.S.-China relations an open question for the incoming Donald Trump administration, many have focused on whether the president-elect’s promise to withdraw from negotiations over the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will enhance Beijing’s growing influence in East Asia. But rather than hand-wringing over TPP’s ignominious failure, Asia watchers should turn their attention to …..

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Trade Surplus Predicted For 2016

The total value of goods, imports and exports to Laos is expected to see an overall trade surplus of an estimated US$73 million at the year’s end, with data currently available for the first nine months of 2016.
The value of exports is expected to reach US$4.081 billion or 10.29 percent over the plan while the value of imports is expected to reach US$4.008 billion, or 76 percent of the plan, according to ….

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Thai Government To Air Concerns On Lao VAT

The government is set to raise the issue of Laos’s value-added tax (VAT) in a joint discussion with Lao counterparts, fearing the new tax measure may cripple growing border trade.
Thailand will ask for leniency and a spending ceiling from Laos during the meeting, which is expected to be held soon.
Laos has begun collecting VAT on products imported from abroad, starting at the …..

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Richest 1 Percent Of Thais Own 58 Percent Of Country’s Wealth

The global economic recovery since the 2008 crash has failed to reach all levels of society and inequality continues to grow, according to a major report.
Credit Suisse’s Global Wealth Report 2016 identified Russia as the world’s most unequal country, with a staggering 74.5 per cent of the nation’s wealth controlled by the richest 1 per cent of people.
In India and Thailand, the top 1 per cent own nearly 60 per cent of the wealth, while the …..

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Lao Amended Investment Law Shortens Concession Period

Amendments to the Investment Promotion Law has shortened investment concession periods to ensure closer scrutiny of investors’ operations, Lao state-run daily Vientiane Times reported on Monday.
A draft amendment to the law, which was passed by Lao National Assembly (NA) last week, shortens the investment concession period from 99 years to 50 years, a change that was widely welcomed by NA members during ….

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That Luang Marsh Developer To Build Theme Park

A Chinese developer plans to invest US$80 million to construct a water theme park next year at the That Luang Marsh Specific Economic Zone in Vientiane to attract domestic and foreign tourists.
The concept is to capture a slice of the increasing foreign visitor market to Laos while enticing domestic tourists and discourage them from travelling to neighbouring countries for their …..

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Unlawful Financial Institutions Warned of Legal Action

Illegal financial institutions that have sourced funds by offering abnormally high interest rates will face legal measures, the governor of the central bank has warned.
Governor of the Bank of the Lao PDR, Dr Somphao Phaysith, told the ongoing ordinary session of the National Assembly (NA) that 24 institutions have been found acquiring deposits illegally. He said the bank has issued a notice instructing these institutions to …..

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Many Banks In Laos Refuse To Sell Foreign Currencies

Many people want to buy foreign currencies especially dollars and baht for transactions including the import or purchase of foreign goods but currently customers are confused as to the current situation regarding foreign exchange.
Customers who need kip to buy dollars or baht at the Banque Pour Le Commerce Exterieur Lao Public (BCEL) can only ….

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Banks Cut Interest Rates On Kip Accounts, Raise For Foreign Currencies

Commercial banks in Laos have lowered the interest rates charged on loans and offered on kip accounts in line with a recent decision made by the Bank of the Lao PDR, hoping to stimulate economic activity.
Conversely banks have raised the interest rates offered on Thai baht and US dollar deposit accounts hoping to build up …..

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Top Leaders Discuss How Businesses Can Succeed In ASEAN Developing Economies At Channel NewsAsia Forums

Business leaders share views on roadmap to success; Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of IMF, discusses economic development at ASEAN Business Investment Summit 2016
Regional broadcaster, Channel NewsAsia, brought together business leaders and the government sector for two forums held during the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit (ABIS) 2016, at ….

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Real Estate Growth Sustainable But Sluggish, Experts Say

Laos is not at risk of developing into a bubble economy despite the apparent ongoing building boom particularly in the capital, according to leading economists on Tuesday.
This is because overall growth in the real estate sector is actually quite sluggish and most investment is from overseas interests, mainly China and Vietnam.
Another factor preventing the forming of a Lao asset …..

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VAT To Be Levied At Border Crossings, Effective Immediately

All people who enter Laos bringing with them goods items valued at over US$50 will have to pay 10 percent of the goods value to the government as Value-Added-Tax(VAT), with the decision already in force.
Through this decision, the minister has tasked the customs sector to implement the levy on all Lao and foreign passengers entering the country via border crossing points and international airports, while all citizens are ….

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Tax Rates Set To Increase Next Year: Ministry

The Taxation Department of the Ministry of Finance is aiming to introduce new land and road tax rates to boost government revenue for next fiscal year.
According to the Taxation Department’s report for the first seven months of the 2015-2016 fiscal year they were yet to determine what the percentage increase would be for the numerous categories of land and road tax.
At present tax is collected for land and vehicles at many different rates depending …..

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Asia Aviation Capital Poised To Benefit From AirAsia’s Airbus A321neo Order

Asia Aviation Capital Limited stands poised to benefit from parent company AirAsia Berhad’s recent deal for 100 Airbus A321neo aircraft, with 30 percent of the order expected to be allocated to the wholly-owned leasing unit.
The aircraft order, valued at $12.6 billion based on list prices, was announced at Farnborough Airshow last week. It is the first order placed by AirAsia Berhad for the ….

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Slowing China Economy Ripples Into Laos

A slowing in China’s economy is having rippling effects on Laos, which has been described by the World Bank as having “once of the fastest growing” economies in the East Asia and Pacific region.
A decade long mining boom, combined with a rapid development of hydropower, has seen Laos’ growth rate reach over 7 percent a year, allowing national output to more than double, generating some ….

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The Rise, Fall and Possible Renewal of a Town in Laos on China’s Border

For five years, this remote town on the China-Laos border has lived in the shadow of more prosperous times.
On the main street, weeds grow where bustling shops and restaurants once stood. Old nightclub signs blister and peel in the tropical climate. Around town, abandoned multistory hotels loom like decaying sentinels, colonized by armies of jungle insects.
About a half-dozen years ago, Boten was a casino boomtown, a pinprick of neon amid thickly forested hills. Its gold-rush economy revolved ….

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Import Tariff Reductions Have Little Impact On Vehicle Prices

The prices of vehicles in Laos remain high even though import tariffs on many products including vehicles have been reduced to five percent, much to the disappointment of recent purchasers.
Deputy Director of the Foreign Trade Policy Department, Mr Saysana Sayakone told Vientiane Times recently that the prices of vehicles will remain rather high as buyers still have to pay consumer tax.
He explained that the Lao PDR had begun to reduce …..

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Luang Prabang Lures Foreign Investors With Tax Incentives

Promoted as one of Laos’ tourism destinations, Luang Prabang is angling for investors from Asean, including Thailand, by offering waiver of corporate income tax for up to six years as bait.
Luang Prabang has prioritised the tourism industry to drive its growth and lift Laotians from poverty under the 2020 strategic development plan, Governor Khamkhan Chamthavisouk said. “In general, Asean investors will be allowed to hold a 100-per-cent stake in …..

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Laos Gives Green Light To Foreign Investors

The government has reaffirmed its commitment to giving the green light to foreign businesses seeking opportunities for investment in the country.
This was the statement made by Deputy Prime Minister Dr Sonexay Siphandone during the launch of the 4th China-South Asia Expo and the 24th China Kunming Import and Export Commodities Fair on June 12.
In his opening remarks, Dr Sonexay said that although Laos does not share a border with the sea, based on….

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Direct Flight Between India and Laos soon

To enhance people to people contact between two South East Asian neighbours, India and Laos will soon have a direct flight connectivity as part the initiatives to increase cultural exchange and bilateral trade between two countries.
“Direct flight connectivity between the two countries is in final stage of approval and very soon India and Laos will have ….

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Tax Alert: Revised Tax Law Pending

The Lao Government ‘slipped through’ a revised tax law recently (Amended Tax Law No. 70/NA, dated 15 December 2015), with the law set to take effect next week on 24 May 2016. But fear not: much of the revised law is similar to the law it replaces, the Tax Law (2011), with a few new inclusions, revisions and corrections.
That said, one glaring adjustment is the insertion of a new article on profit tax withholding for foreign entities deriving income from ….

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Tax Payments Decline Over Seven Months

The Taxation Department reported recently that tax payments across the country had decreased 5.1 percent during the first seven months of the 2015-16 fiscal year, in comparison to the previous year.
Tax collection in the first seven months of 2015-16 reached 4,678.67 billion kip or 46. 4 percent of the target.
Meanwhile at the provincial level, tax authorities were able to collect …..

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Five-Year Budget Approved, Deficit Continues

The National Assembly (NA) approved the state budget plan for the next five years (2016-2020) last week, which will include a budget deficit of 27,119 billion kip.
The deficit is in line with the parliament’s approval of the five-year plan that sets the deficit at 3.6 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) with the maximum deficit not to …..

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BOL Teams Up With Police To Combat Money Laundering

The government is taking a tough stance on financial transparency as well as crime prevention, especially in the area of money laundering, to help encourage foreign direct investment in Laos.
As part of government’s efforts to bring the country’s financial standards in line with international systems, the Bank of the Lao PDR (BOL)’s Anti-Money Laundering Intelligence Unit yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the ….

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Lao Garment Industry Shrinks Amid Labour Shortage

The local garment industry has contracted in the wake of labour shortages, the Association of the Lao Garment Industry has reported.
From 2003 to 2011, the garment industry expanded but since 2012 a downward trend has prevailed. “Labour shortage issues have caused new investors to lose interest in Laos, instead shifting their capital to neighbouring countries, especially Cambodia, …….

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IMF Chief Praises Laos, Warns Of Challenges Ahead

International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Christine Lagarde has lauded Laos’ economic achievements while cautioning that more work is needed to consolidate stability as the nation transitions from low-income country status.
Ms Lagarde is believed to be the first IMF chief to visit Laos since the country joined the ….

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Laos’ Sleepy Capital Awakens To A Construction Boom

The capital of Laos is a low-rise, low-key city, especially when compared with the hulking high-rises and bustling streets of better-known Southeast Asian cities such as Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.
But this once-sleepy city is fast shedding its sedate reputation due to a building boom ahead of international summits that will bring U.S. President Barack Obama, Chinese President Xi Jinping and a host of other world leaders to visit in ….

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Banks To Issue More Loans Despite Lower Rates

Despite the fact that the Bank of the Lao PDR (BOL) recently declared a lower interest rate for deposits and loans, many banks in Laos believe the number of depositors and borrowers will not decrease in the years to come.
ACLEDA Bank Lao Ltd. is one of several banks that have expressed confidence that the lower interest rate will not cause a decrease in …..

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Amended Constitution Creates Provincial Assemblies, Gives President Two Terms

The newly-amended constitution passed recently by the National Assembly (NA) has allowed the establishment of provincial assemblies (PAs) for the first time, which are set to function in an NA-like role as local parliaments.
The constitution also stipulates, for the first time, that the president can hold office for not more than …..

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Beware Of ATM ‘Skimming’ Bandits

Banks officials are reminding ATM users to be alert to thieves trying to steal information from their credit and debit cards, otherwise known as ‘skimming’.
Officials from a Vientiane bank and the Vientiane Police Office spoke to Vientiane Times yesterday about thieves stealing card data from ATM users and then later using the information to illegally withdraw money.
Police said they recently arrested a foreign national who was ……

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