Lao Companies Enjoy Success At Asean Business Awards

The 12th Asean Business Awards (ABA) Gala Dinner took place on the night of November 12 last week, shining a spotlight on some of the many successful enterprises from a variety of industry sectors from across the region.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Laos pins economic hopes on extra electricity

As Southeast Asia’s energy demands grow, Laos is banking on increased electricity exports to shore up its economy. The tiny country, which has a population of just under 7 million, has been opening a string of large-scale hydropower stations that will boost its total generation capacity by an estimated 70% by the end of the year compared to 2014.
Laos plans to sell 80% of the power it generates to neighboring countries in a bid to achieve ……

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Foreigners Banned From Operating Wholesale, Retail Outlets In Laos

Foreigners are prohibited from operating trading outlets or shops whose investment cost is less than 8 billion kip (US$983,380), so that small-scale businesses are reserved solely for Lao nationals, according to a new regulation.
Under the ruling, foreigners are prohibited from investing in a specific trading shop, convenience store, mini-mart, wholesale or ……

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Laos Prepares For Tax Payments Via The Banking System

The Ministry of Finance expects to have widened the availability of modern tax payment systems via private banks in Laos, seeking to make it easier for business operators to meet their tax obligations.
The project shall help prepare towards the AEC while the tax and duty collection sector requires modern services systems to improve accountability and make it easier for …..

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Govt Sets 7.5 Percent Growth Target

The government has set an economic growth target of 7.5 percent for this and next year in an attempt to decrease the trade deficit.
The government measures to meet the planned target received support from the National Assembly (NA) at its ordinary session which concluded last week.
In the session’s draft resolution on approving the government plan, the assembly expressed support for the government targeting 102 trillion kip (around US$12.74 billion) in gross domestic product (GDP) to be created and 14.9 million kip of income per capita this fiscal year which ….

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Lao Labour Law Interpretation Needed

The calculation of severance pay, the use of foreign labour, and many other matters stipulated in the newly amended Law on Labour needed explanation to ensure the law was effectively enforced.
These issues were discussed on Friday in Vientiane between employers, government officials, and international experts to test the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LNCCI) labour code guides and training material.
The calculation of severance pay that is fixed to 10 percent of previous ……

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Parliament Passes Business Competition Law

The National Assembly (NA) yesterday passed the Business Competition Law in a move to ensure that competition between businesses in Laos is carried out in a fair and just manner to boost economic growth.
The decree has only five chapters with 17 articles, while the draft law comprises of nine parts, eight chapters and 84 articles. “Therefore, there is a need to upgrade the decree into law. The content of the law is comprehensive and covers all areas of …..

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Taking Stock In Vientiane

Quiet Lao bourse looks to attract more companies, possibly with the help of dual listings.
Having been open since October 2010, the slow-moving Lao Securities Exchange (LSX) is looking to raise the number of listed companies to about 25 by 2020 from the six that are now trading.
“Our aim is to have a least 25 companies listed by 2020 and we are looking at encouraging many state-owned enterprises and private-sector companies to be on the ……

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Laos’ Economic Agenda

To celebrate the party’s achievements in the past 60 years, a large gathering of senior party leaders and high-ranking party officials was held at which party secretary-general and president of the Lao PDR Choummaly Sayasone delivered the keynote address.
He asserted that the party has remained relevant because it adopted the policy of “self-construction and self-improvement to enhance its strength with endless flexibility.” He cited the so-called renovation policy of 1986 which “replaced the bureaucratically centralized economic mechanism and subsidy-based administration with a ……

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Laos-Myanmar Friendship Bridge Opens

President of Laos Choummaly Sayasone and President of Myanmar U Thein Sein on Saturday officially opened the Laos-Myanmar Friendship Bridge, creating a road link across the Mekong River.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Thongloun Sosoulith said the bridge was a symbol of the close cooperation between Laos and Myanmar. It also reflected the friendship, good relations, solidarity and mutual understanding between the ……

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Business Registration Numbers Falling In Laos

The number of people seeking to do businesses in Laos last year fell by more than half compared to the figure recorded in the previous year, according to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.
The Ministry attributed the shortfall to some difficulties that hindered people from doing businesses and other external factors including the impact from the economic crisis, monetary policy and …..

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Move Over Thailand, the Philippines is Southeast Asia’s Strong Man

With a greater focus on manufacturing, a young population and a president committed to stable growth, the Philippines is pulling ahead
The Philippines is no longer the `sick man of Asia’, Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan declared yesterday after the economy grew a better-than-estimated 6.9 percent last quarter from a year earlier. That capped three successive years of above-6-percent growth, placing it well ahead of Thailand, once a growth engine of ….

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Govt May Revoke 34 Business Licences

The Ministry of Finance (MOF) may cancel 34 business licences this month after the companies failed to declare tax payments to the ministry after they were warned in June last year.
“Earlier this month, we submitted a report to the minister about the need to revoke these 34 licences,” said Mr Khamhack Vivanxay of the ministry’s Revenue Collection Management Division, under the Tax Department.
“They are mostly mining and construction companies, both local and foreign owned. If they do not declare their tax payment, they should come and ……

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Merger Of McDonald Steed McGrath Lawyers Co Ltd With Australian Law Firm Arion Legal

McDonald Steed McGrath Lawyers Co Ltd has merged with Australian law firm Arion Legal, (www.arionlegal.com) creating a strong and improved presence and capability in the Lao PDR, now under the new name “Arion Legal” (incorporating McDonald Steed McGrath Lawyers Co Ltd).
The merger will allow Arion Legal to leverage the strong …

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Lao Coffee Festival 2014

To celebrate the tremendous development of the Lao coffee sector and to further promote the unique Lao coffee to the domestic and foreign markets, Lao Coffee Association is organizing the 1st Lao Coffee Festival, from 24 – 26 October 2014 at the Arawan Riverside Hotel and Champasak Grand Hotel in Pakse.
The Lao Coffee Festival will include various activities like exhibition of Lao coffee products, seminars on topics on production background of Lao coffee, present state of the world coffee trade, trends in prices, production ….

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Dealers Eye Slump In Vehicle Sales

Car dealers are anticipating a significant downturn in sales volumes as the Lao economy starts to slow and purchasing power declines.
To counteract the drop in sales showrooms are stepping up efforts to attract customers through various special offers.
The large influx of vehicles into the country is forcing dealers to introduce promotions to attract ….

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Economic Prosperity Beckons For Laos In The AEC Era

An interesting neighbour? Most people would immediately assume it’s Myanmar. While we cannot ignore the glittering promise of Myanmar’s emergence, I have noticed more and more that Laos is quietly becoming a force to be reckoned with as we enter the AEC era.
Despite its rich resource endowment, Thai investors may have overlooked Laos owing to its tiny economy, valued at just 3% of Thailand’s GDP and small population of just below 7 million. Plus, the underdeveloped ….

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Lao-Thai Train To Provide Logistic Services In 2015

Logistic facilities at Thanalaeng Train Station in Vientiane have begun to take shape after eight months of construction, according to a Lao railway official.
The Lao Railway Authority’s Railway Management Division Chief, Mr Somsana Rasaphone said recently that the new facilities, which will enable the train station to provide freight services, are now some 23 percent complete.
Construction of the container yard and lifting facilities at the train station began at the end of last year and was scheduled to be completed within 18 months. The Lao government hopes to open the rail freight service ahead of the establishment of …

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Govt Vows To Improve Business Environment

The government has vowed to address any barrier that hinders business operation and investment in Laos to boost socio-economic development of the country.
Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong yesterday told business executives that the government would take all their recommendations and proposals into the cabinet’s agenda in a move to bring about a good business operation and investment friendly climate.
Business operators called for the government to introduce clear export and import related policy giving more incentives for their …

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Chinese Investors Consider Doing Business At That Luang SEZ

Leading ethnic Chinese business people running companies in Thailand are investigating the US$1.6-billion That Luang Specific Economic Zone (SEZ) in Vientiane for possible future investment.The delegation comprised about 15 business people who own factories in Thailand notably related to salt, rice, steel manufacturing and other construction-related businesses.
The That Luang Marsh SEZ is one of the government’s mega-projects that will play a significant role in boosting the socio-economic development of Laos. The government signed a ……

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Mascot Opens New Workwear Factory In Laos

Danish workwear maker Mascot is continuing its expansion in Southeast Asia with the opening of a newly built factory in Laos.
The new 9,000 square metre production unit becomes the fourth that it operates in the region, and will complement the company’s three existing factories in northern Vietnam.
“Since we obtained the investment license, it has taken less than a year to complete the project, and I am very much looking forward to seeing the first ‘made in Laos’ Mascot-products,” said owner and CEO Michael Grosbøl.
It is expected that the workforce at the Laos factory will reach …..

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Laos Impoves Ranking In Global Corruption Survey

Corruption remains a threat to Laos, and global development, despite the government making progress to tackle the problem, officials noted at an International Anti-Corruption Day event.
According to the annual Corruption Perceptions Index prepared by global anti-corruption body Transparency International, Laos is currently ranked at 140 out of the 177 countries surveyed for the index, which scores countries on how corrupt their public sectors are seen to be. Last year Laos was ranked 160.
“Corruption is one of many negative phenomena having a large effect on ….

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Avis Arrives In Laos

Avis has signed a deal with RMA Group that will lead to the opening of its first facilities in Luang Prabang, Pakse and Vientiane in Laos, and Phnom Penh and Siam Reap in Cambodia. These will include both airport and city locations. The agreement will make Avis the first international car rental company to operate in either country.
“Strengthening our global position remains a high priority as we seek to drive sustained, profitable growth,” said Patric Siniscalchi, Avis Budget’s president for Latin America & Asia Pacific.
“Our licensee agreement with RMA Group will allow us to expand our …..

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Vientiane’s Changing Skyline

As Laos slowly engages with the world economy, investors are looking for office space in the capital, where a few ambitious developments are planned.
The sight of new buildings under construction in Southeast Asian capital cities is considered routine, but for Vientiane it is an exciting trend, showing the movement of trade and economic development in Laos. At 150 metres, the Sky Office Building will be the tallest building in Laos and the focal point of the The World Trade Centre in Vientiane.
Given the fact that Laos is not a manufacturing- and services-based country, it is no surprise that its capital city is not yet full of blocks of office buildings like Singapore, Bangkok, Manila and Jakarta. But as a new member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) since February this year, the ….

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MMG Halts Gold Production In Laos

Metals miner MMG will cease gold operations at its Sepon mine, in Laos, in December, owing to the depletion of ore reserves and lower margins.
CEO Michelmore pointed out that it was no longer economic for MMG to produce gold at Sepon. Michelmore said MMG would have to review the overall structure of the operation to meet future needs of the business. This would result in a change to resourcing requirements, which the company would work through over the coming months.
“MMG acknowledges that this is disappointing news for our workforce……

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Why Laos Is A Hyundai/Kia Country: Kolao

According to estimates by the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency, a Hyundai/Kia dealership called Kolao Holdings is the biggest nonstate company in Laos, where the government runs most businesses.
Kolao has an unusual business format: founded by a Korean, registered as a Lao company, and listed on Korea’s main stock market Kospi from 2010.The Hyundai-Kia combination overtook Toyota Motor Corp. in Laos this year, grabbing a 37% share of the imported car market. But Kolao Holdings is looking beyond the business of selling Hyundai and Kia cars and motorcycles: It created its own brand, Daehan, which will ….

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Laos Needs 70,000 More Skilled Foreign Workers

Laos needs to bring in 70,000 more foreign workers as the country grapples with a shortage of skilled labor in its emerging economy, according to Labor Minister Onechanh Thammavong. And it also needs to train its domestic workforce.
The country currently has 20,000 foreign workers, but the number needs to be more than tripled in the near future, said Onechanh Thammavong, the labor minister, to meet the 90,000-head count needed by Laotian businesses to operate.
Foreign investors often bring workers because Laotian locals they hire can be ….

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Thailand Aims To Double Trade With Laos

Thailand will discuss with Laos a plan to double bilateral trade to US$8 billion (Bt240 billion) by 2015 from $4 billion in 2011.
The meeting between the Thai Commerce Ministry and the Lao Ministry of Industry and Commerce on August 8-9 will discuss the expansion of bilateral trade and investment, aiming to double bilateral trade value by 2015.
Thailand would urge more Thai businesses to invest in Laos. Thailand is currently the third-largest investor in Laos after China and Vietnam. Most of the Thai business investment in Laos is in the mining, energy, agriculture, forestry, and ……

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Laos & Philippines Ready To Plug Into Electric Vehicles

Laos and the Philippines are keen to introduce electric vehicles and make EV production their key industry in the future, a development that may benefit auto-makers from Japan.
In Laos, which has abundant hydroelectric power, electricity charges are half of those in Thailand. The Laos government is implementing a project to convert 40 per cent of the nation’s motorcycles, tricycles and four-wheel vehicles into EVs by 2020 with the ….

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Krungsri Auto Confident Of Success In Laos

Ayudhya Capital Auto Lease, better known as Krungsri Auto, believes it will enjoy a healthy profit margin from its expansion into Laos by the end of this year despite the country’s small population.
Managing director Pairote Cheunkrut said the operation in Laos would provide good lessons for the company that it could apply elsewhere in Asean. “The small population in Laos is not a problem for offering auto loans. Laos is the first stage of Krungsri Group’s ASEAN business model. We should use trial and error to learn how we can adjust our plans when the ASEAN Economic Community is fully realised,” he …..

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Logistics And The Lao Economy: Linking Up And Reaching Out

Not so long ago, references to economic development in Laos typically mentioned the disadvantages of being a country that is landlocked. Wedged between dynamic, export-driven nations blessed with coastlines and harbours, Laos was viewed as fated to grow less rapidly than its neighbours.
But the map is changing now as the economies of Southeast Asia gear up to integrate, and as China pushes hard to develop road and rail links into the region to accelerate trade. Laos now finds itself as the pivot point between Asean’s 600 million people, with $2 trillion in GDP, and China’s …..

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Economists Project Strong Eonomic Growth In Laos

Economic growth in 2012-13 should reach 8.3 percent if government and foreign investment projects are implemented as planned, according to the National Economic Research Institute (NERI).
The figure was reported yesterday at the ‘Lao Economy in 2012 and Outlook for 2013′ meeting, organised by the institute with support from the World Bank. The economy should continue to grow by 8.2 percent in 2013-14 and 14-2015, according to the NERI.
GDP per capita reached 10.8 million kip (about US$1,349). The agricultural sector grew by 2.8 percent, accounting for 26.7 percent of GDP; the industrial sector grew by ….

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Private Firms Driving Lao Economy

Private firms have become a major driving force of Lao economic growth. In 2011 domestic and foreign private firms contributed 16 percent of total Gross Domestic Product (GDP), becoming the largest contributor to economic growth.
It is not surprising to learn that domestic and foreign private companies are playing a significant role in driving the economy. The government adopted a market oriented policy in 1986, allowing the private sector to take part in economic development after a decade of running a centrally planned economy. The government has also made a strong commitment to improve the business climate, to encourage the private sector to invest and do business in Laos. One of the government’s major achievements has been the easing of restrictions on ……

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ADB Projects Strong Economic Growth For Laos

The Lao economy is expected to grow by about 7.7 percent in 2013 as resource based industries, manufacturing and services continue to generate solid growth, according to a key Asian Development Bank (ADB) report.
According to the publication, the substantial investment flowing into hydropower and mining, coupled with the construction of hotels, offices and residential buildings, will drive this growth. “The outlook for the Lao economy in 2013 is strong, as we see the economy starting a gradual diversification from its overdependence on ……

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Toyota Establishes Production Base In Laos

Toyota established a new vehicle interior components production company, TOYOTA BOSHOKU LAO CO., LTD. in the Savannakhet Province in April. This is the first time the Toyota Boshoku group has built a production base in Laos.
The new company will serve as a satellite complementing the Toyota Boshoku group production base in Thailand. It will start producing …

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New EU Timber Regulation Comes Into Force

A new European Union (EU) regulation coming into effect to counter the trade in illegal timber will affect everyone in the wood trade sector exporting to the European market, including Laos.
This new EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) prohibits illegally harvested timber on the European market in an effort to tackle the problem of illegal logging across the world. Although volumes of Lao timber that flow directly to Europe are relatively small, large amounts of raw timber from Laos get processed in Vietnam before being …..

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Indochina Falling Under Russia’s Influence Again

Russia is returning to Indochina not as a seller of weapons, but by means of investment in these countries by increasing tourism, developing small and medium business and buying real estate. Growing wealth of the Russians, warm climate, and the decline of interest in the dangerous Middle East sector has led to a reorientation of their interest towards Thailand, Vietnam and Laos.
It is tourism, and not large business that plays a crucial role in the struggle for geopolitical influence in Indochina today. Indeed, in ….

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Your Next Nikon SLR Could Be Part Laotian

We all know where our favorite camera brands hail from, but have you ever looked at the sticker on the bottom of your camera to see where it was made? If not, you might be in for a surprise.
Nikon has revealed that it is establishing a new factory in Laos. The Japanese manufacturer is investing approximately 6.3 million US dollars in the project, and expects to have around 800 employees in a 10,000 square meter facility once production begins……

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Lao Organic Farm To Ink Export Deal

An exporter of organic vegetables and fruit, Pakxong Organic Farm, will again sign contracts with buyers from Thailand and the Middle East’s Halal Food Group within the next two weeks.
The 500 hectare organic farm in Pakxong district, Champassak province, grows bananas, pineapples, cabbage, asparagus, peppers, lettuce, onions, carrots, radishes, zucchini, potatoes, ginger, chayote, tamarind, coffee and tea.

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Mind-Boggling Mystery Monday

Last month, we launched our new menu. On Monday 21st January 2013, after weeks of slaving over new sundae recipes (which is a hard job but someone’s got to do it), training the staff, and designing the actual book, the “New and Improved” Love Life menu finally reached the tables.
It was, however, a bit of an anti-climax: that first day, the shop remained empty for most of the day, through to late afternoon and our usual rush hour. Thinking that maybe…

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J&C Maintains Position as “Top Agent” Of Toko Assurance

J&C Expat Services, who was already last year awarded with “Top Agent Bronze”, has according to Mr. Chong Yoong Swee, CEO of Toko Assurance, maintained its position as one of the “Top Agents” for 2012, without providing the exact ranking which will be only revealed during the Award Ceremony later this year.
“J&C Expat Services strong performance is impressive, with almost doubling its insurance portfolio in 2012” explains Chong. “J&C Services has become an important link between the Expat Community in Vientiane and Toko Assurance”.

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Money Matters (Money Pen Yang, Nor?)

The Curious Adventures Of Setting Up A Business In Laos
Since I moved to Laos three years ago, I have been suffering from chronic culture shock. My jaw drops a least once a day. One such shock came when I first started house-hunting: in Laos, landlords asking for rent to paid in yearly instalments is standard. It can even be paid for longer terms. I long thought this was a special treatment reserved to foreigners. But I recently found …..

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From Switzerland to Laos: Official Sika Store Opens in Vientiane

Do you want to build or refurbish your house, and are looking for solutions solving your needs? Would you like to waterproof your roof or install a tiled or a wooden floor? Or are you interested in finding the right solution to just bond a soap holder in your bathroom? Sika got it all!
Sika AG, located in Switzerland, is a globally active specialty chemicals company. Sika is a leader in processing materials used in sealing, bonding, damping, reinforcing and protecting load-bearing structures. Sika professional products have been approved on the biggest jobsites in the world and the same quality is now available at Sika Km4 Retail Shop.

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Laos Plunges Into Choppy Political Waters

LAOS, one of Southeast Asia’s poorest countries, is rarely in the role of power player in the region. The landlocked nation draws easy comparisons to a diplomatic backwater when set against Thailand, its more economically robust neighbour to the west. It is also overshadowed by Vietnam, a politically assertive eastern neighbour, which, like Laos, is ruled by a communist party.
Yet what happened last Monday on Mekong River — the region’s largest body of water shared by six countries, including Laos, Thailand and Vietnam — suggests a shift in the political currents …..

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Investors In Laos Have A Long Road Ahead

Hopes are running high that the WTO membership will encourage greater foreign investment, and that it will help Laos sustain its impressive growth rates of recent years, running between 6% and 8%. It seems that everyone is talking about the new possibilities for Laos, spreading unbridled optimism.
As a matter of fact, investing in Laos is still a risky bet …. here’s why:
First of all, it’s important to understand that whatever happens in the capital city of Vientiane does not reflect on the rest of the country. In fact, over 70% of Laos’ small population of 6.5 million people depend on agriculture for their livelihood. Slashing subsidies on agricultural exports as required …..

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Mekong ‘Hydro Diplomacy’ Falling Short

Experts at a conference in Chiang Rai held out hope that future transborder water conflicts such as the one over Laos’ Xayaburi dam will be dealt with in a more inclusive and sustainable manner, but the concept is still in its infancy in the region.
At the conference, Dr Robert Mather, with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), said the Xayaburi dam project has shown that a shared vision on water resources does not exist in the Mekong region. Each country still looks out only for its own interests and not at sharing benefits in development opportunities.
“If we apply the concept of hydro diplomacy to the Mekong situation, we may have more choices other than ….

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British Embassy Opens In Laos

The new embassy of the United Kingdom to Laos officially opened in Vientiane yesterday, aiming to boost relations between the people and governments of the two countries. Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Rt Hon William Hague, delivered this message during an interview with Lao media at the embassy’s opening ceremony.
Laos and the UK established diplomatic relations on September 5, 1955. The original UK embassy to Laos was closed 27 years ago and moved to a base in Bangkok, Thailand. But last month the governments of Laos and the UK agreed to reopen embassies in each country’s capital city. “We want to make sure there are …..

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American Chamber Of Commerce Opens Office In Laos

The American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) has opened an office in Laos, creating a focal point for US businesses intending to invest in the country.
The Lao Chapter of the American Chamber of Commerce held an official opening ceremony last week after getting the green light from the Lao Ministry of Foreign Affairs to set up the office.
AMCHAM said one of its main objectives in opening the Vientiane office is to facilitate and spur investment by US businesses in Laos, to take advantage of the country’s strong economic growth over the ……

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Coffee Is Lao’s Top Export Crop

Coffee leads the way as Laos’ top commercial export crop, followed by the increasingly popular sweet corn.
Last year, the country received US$150 million from coffee exports, US$33 million from sweet corn, US$11 million from job-tear, US$14 million from rice and cassava and US$6 million from sugarcane, according to the Agriculture Department.
The volume from the coffee crops is continuing to grow each year, especially in the warmer southern provinces of Champassak, Saravan and Xekong, with each grower averaging a harvest of …..

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Stallions To Develop Minibike Factory In Laos

Stallions, the Thai minibike brand, will open a factory in Laos next year to serve as a production base for exports to other Asean countries.
Motor World Import-Export will this year open 11 more branches nationwide in Laos on top of its existing three in Vientiane to support its growth. “We believe we’ll be the leader in niche motorcycles in the Lao market soon,” said Mr Kittipong..“ Motor World Import-Export will this year open 11 more branches nationwide in Laos on top of its existing three in Vientiane to support its growth. “Lao incomes are rising due …..

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Laos Remains Difficult For Doing Business

Laos is ranked 165th in the IFC’s Doing Business ranking for 2012, dropping from 163rd in 2011, despite the government having made key economic policy reforms.
One of the issues resulting in the drop in ranking is the difficulty businesses face when seeking credit or investment funding.
The Lao government has amended laws and created a ‘one-stop service’ for companies seeking investment permission and a business licence, which will become operational in October.

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Vientiane New World: Glory of Laos (II)

In the next six to eight years people will see a new face of Vientiane as Don Chan Island along the Mekong River develops into a modern urban area complete with a pedestrian zone.
CAMCE, the Lao-Chinese joint venture developing the area, plans to invest over US$600 million to turn 42 hectares of Don Chan Island along the Mekong River in Vientiane into the first international residence area, the first international business centre, as well as an international cultural and tourist centre where Lao people can take their family, friends and loved ones to shop, dine and enjoy local and international movies.

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Guru Shop – Sharing Technological Wisdom

Driving along Samsenthai road, the black building with white letters reading “Guru Shop” immediately caught my eye. Don’t tell me they opened a spiritual center, I joked to myself. Curious as I am, I turned around and entered the “temple of wisdom”, which turned out to be the latest Apple shop in Vientiane.

“Our goal is to introduce as many people as possible to new technologies and gadgets, and teach them how the gadgets can make their daily lives easier”, explains Eddie Savankham, the owner of Guru Shop.

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J&C Awarded “Top Agent” By Toko Assurance

Toko Assurance celebrated its Fourth Anniversary with a warm reception for staff, their nationwide agents, brokers and clients.
The Award Ceremony for its top agents was the climax of the evening.
J&C Expat Services was awarded with “Top Agent Bronze”. “Being the third largest agent for Toko in Laos is a great honor” said Mr. Aeschbach, Senior Partner at J&C, “I would like to thank all customers of J&C Services for their support and for trusting in our services. Furthermore, I would like to thank the entire team of Toko Assurance for their outstanding support”.

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Warning On Fake Dollar Bills

The Bank of the Lao PDR is urging the public to join forces to combat a rising tide of fake US dollar banknotes and other foreign currencies.
The central bank made the call last week after learning that a group of people were circulating large numbers of fake US$100 notes and other currencies in Laos. The bank is concerned about the damage this can inflict both on individuals and the national economy.

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High Taxes Affect Business In Laos

Companies operating in Laos have identified high taxes as one of the main obstacles to doing business in the country.
Speaking in response to the World Bank’s latest survey on the Lao business climate, both Laos-based and foreign firms say business tax rates are very high, making it difficult for them to stay competitive.
The bank’s survey also highlights that businesses in Laos consider access to finance to be the second largest problem despite the rapid growth of banks and microfinance institutions in Laos.

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Toko Assurance To Provide Insurance For AirAsia Passengers

Air Asia has appointed Toko Assurance as the exclusive insurer for AirAsia passengers travelling from Wattay International Airport in Vientiane.
All passengers on AirAsia flights will have the option to be covered not only whilst on board their flights but also for the entire duration of their trip when they purchase AirAsia travel protection.
J&C Services, being one of the leading agents of Toko Assurance and their top agency in the “non-motor” insurance market, also attended the signing ceremony.

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Fixed Import Tariffs To Continue Until 2013

The government will continue to set a fixed price as a reference for import tariffs on some commodities until 2013, despite calls from international companies to abolish the trade barriers, the Ministry of Finance announced.

The government will continue to use the fixed price system to levy duties on some imported goods for the remainder of this year and the next. Customs officials will begin to apply levies based on the actual price of most imported goods leading up to 2013, as this is one of the main requirements for Laos to become a member of World Trade Organisation

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Regal To Build Largest 5-Star Hotel In Laos

The US$100 million hotel is a joint investment between the Ministry of National Defense, which will hold a 25 percent shareholding and the Regal Global Investment Development Group. The project contract is for a period of 99 years and the hotel will replace the existing Rasavong Hotel at km5 area in Xaysettha district.

According to the group, the hotel will consist of 350 rooms, including 20 VIP rooms and 30 suite rooms, on a total area of 120,000 square meters.
The hotel will also contain a shopping complex, as well as restaurants, entertainment facilities and a cinema.

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Foreigners To Pay More Income Tax

It was Benjamin Franklin who said that nothing is certain in life except death and taxes. He certainly wasn’t wrong, even here in Laos. A new law is set to increase taxes paid by foreigners from the current flat rate of 10% to up to 28%. Tax paying organisations with a large amount of foreign workers are in for a rough ride.
The presidential decree regarding tax which has now been passed was dated 01 March 2011 and amends the existing tax rates of Profit Tax, Business Turnover Tax and Personal Income Tax.

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