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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Laos Inaugurates Largest Coal-Fired Power Plant Constructed By China

The Hongsa Power Plant (3x626MW), which was constructed by China, was inaugurated in Laos’ northern Xayaboury Province on Wednesday.
The project is currently the first and largest coal-fired power plant project in Laos, which comprises coal mines, transmission lines and power plant. The inaugural ceremony was ….

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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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Frontier Markets: Laos Rising

Founded in 2011 with the support of South Korea’s stock exchange (which owns 49%), the Laos Securities Exchange occupies a five story ultra-modern glass building in the capital city of Vientiane
The four companies listed are: Banque Pour Le Commerce Exterieur Lao (BCEL), EDL Generation (EDL-Gen), Lao World (LWPC), and Petroleum Trading Lao (PTL). Needless to say the stocks don’t trade daily, however ….

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New VAT Invoices Distributed To Boost Revenue Collection

Many people in Vientiane have begun to request the newly made Value Added Tax (VAT) invoices after learning the receipts may contain prizes, with tax officials hoping that the new incentives will boost revenue collection.
“I’d like a VAT invoice because I may win a prize,” said a customer at a small barber shop in Phontong village, Chanthabouly district, Vientiane last weekend. “If this invoice really contains prizes, it is better than……

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Laotian Coffee Prepares To Obtain Geographical Indication

ON THE Bolaven Plateau, Bounthong Thepkaisone waded through his 5-hectare coffee plantation in Mai village, Pakxong district, in Laos’ Champasak province.
For Bounthong, producing coffee is his present and future. The same can be said for many of the 1,855 farmer families in his community that make up the Bolaven Plateau Coffee Producers Cooperative (CPC), an organisation of ….

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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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Lao Foreign Reserves Grow

The Bank of the Lao PDR looks set to be in a strong position to secure sufficient supplies of US dollars for goods importers despite a rising demand for the currency in the country.
Value of foreign reserves in the country has been growing over the past several months thanks to the imposition of an appropriate monetary policy.
Foreign reserves rose to US$994 million in August, which made the country able to …..

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Thailand Issues New B1,000 Banknote

The Bank of Thailand will issue a new 1,000 baht banknote later this week, one that celebrates the many contributions made to the country by King Chulalongkorn, who reigned from 1868-1910.
The first 100 million of the new banknotes will be put into circulation on Friday, central bank governor Prasarn Trairatvorakul said on Monday.
The new note will eventually replace the …..

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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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Govt Faces Challenges Collecting Revenue As Planned

The Ministry of Finance still has a difficult task in collecting revenue as per the plan approved by the National Assembly for fiscal year 2014-15, a senior government has noted.
“In the past six months of the fiscal year, we’ve been able to collect 13,000 billion kip. This means that we have to collect 17,000 billion kip in the last six months of the year in response to ……

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Long Queues To Pay Road Tax

People in Vientiane are facing a long queue when they go to pay road tax this year as they need to register the vehicle’s information.
The new service for paying road tax began in the middle of last month in each District Finance Office in the city plus a road tax centre in Naxay village of Xaysetha district.
“Many people are complaining about the long queues as last year there was much less …..

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Road Tax 2015: New Procedures

The Ministry of Finance is informing all vehicle owners that the Road Tax Sticker for 2015 is now available and that it needs to be purchased for all vehicles. The sticker is valid for the calendar year 2015. Further a penalty of 10% per month for purchasing the sticker after 31st May is imposed.
In addition J&C Services has been informed that the procedures to purchase the Road Tax Sticker 2015 have changed as following: …..

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Govt Plates Must Be Removed From Private Vehicles

The government has instructed officials to remove state-owned number plates from private vehicles which previously belonged to the state and car owners must pay customs, tax and other fees.
Those vehicles provided to administrative-level officials of state departments, state funds, and state enterprises are required to have their ownership rights changed after the officials retire, or the vehicles must be returned to 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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Thailand Places A Coal Plant In Laos

To feed its growing hunger for fuel, Thailand is close to completing one of Southeast Asia’s largest coal-fired power plants. The location? Just over the border in Laos.
The $3.7 billion project can supply power for two million households in Thailand. But heavy resistance to toxic emissions from burning coal, the dirtiest of all fossil fuels, has prompted power companies there to build it in Laos, where standards and opposition are …..

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ATM Pool System Goes Ahead

The Chinese government has agreed to provide a grant of 56 million yuan (more than 70 billion kip) to the Lao government to improve the Lao ATM Pool Switch (LAPS) project.
The pool system will effectively create a centralised ATM network, cutting unnecessary costs and saving time for customers as they will no longer have to seek out the ATM of a particular bank.
The system will also ….

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Kasikornbank Opening Bank In Laos This Month

Kasikornbank is venturing into the Asean market by opening a bank with registered capital of Bt1.2 billion in Laos. The bank, which will commence operations this month, will focus on high-end customers and groups of companies investing in that country.
With its high growth potential, proximity to Thailand, and small number of privately run banks, KBank sees Laos as attractive for business.
In the initial stage, Kasikornbank Co Ltd will focus on …..

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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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Bank BFL Launches VISA Debit Card

Banque Franco-Lao (BFL) is launching a new VISA Debit Card program.
BFL is the chosen partner bank of J&C Services; by referring our Expat customers to BFL we rest assured that they will receive modern, professional premium banking services.
Visa debit cards are a convenient and secure way to pay anytime, anywhere. With the new VISA debit card BFL clients will be able to shop online, draw ……

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US Firms Prefer Indonesia, VN and Myanmar; Laos Holds The Least Interest

Indonesia, Vietnam and Myanmar are the top three destinations in Asean for US companies for future expansion despite many challenges, a recent regional survey has found.
Brunei and Laos hold the least interest for respondents in the survey.
The “Asean Business Survey Outlook 2015”, carried out by the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) Singapore and the US Chamber of Commerce, revealed dissatisfaction with …..

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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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Central Bank To Combat Financial Crimes

The Bank of the Lao PDR is gaining support from the local and foreign communities after receiving legal backup to fight financial crimes in the country.
ANZ Lao, one of the international commercial banks in the country, joined with the Bank of the Lao PDR last Thursday to hold a workshop, aiming to educate Lao bank officials on how to combat financial crimes in the country.
A number of diplomats from the UK and US embassies, as well as representatives from international organisations and banks also ….

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China’s EximBank Suspends Loans For Roads, Bridges in Laos

Export-Import Bank of China (EximBank), the official export credit agency of the Chinese government, has suspended loans for infrastructure and construction projects in Laos, saying it would prefer to only finance mining and hydro-power ventures, according to Lao sources.
The move is seen by some as an indication of Beijing’s concern over its neighboring communist ally’s ability to repay loans for such projects as roads and bridges in the absence of immediate guarantees.
In the mining sector, for example, natural resources act as ….

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Developer Spends US$100 Million On That Luang Marsh SEZ

The Chinese developer has spent over US$100 million to build infrastructure facilities and condos at That Luang Marsh Specific Economic Zone (SEZ) in Vientiane.
The infrastructure projects include a 50-hectare lagoon, road access to the zone, installation of electricity and water supply facilities and a drainage system.
The Chinese developer is now focusing on building 12 condominium blocks with 18 floors. The company is expecting to spend US$14.5 million to build each block and plans to sell them within 5 years after completion for …..

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Major Cineplex Group To Open Venue In Vientiane

Major Cineplex Group Plc, Thailand’s largest cinema operator, is looking to expand further in Indochina as the region’s entertainment industry develops.
“Cambodia, Myanmar and Laos are fresh entertainment markets, and we should take this opportunity to establish our presence in these countries before our rivals,” said Major Cineplex chairman Vicha Poolvaraluck.
Its first cinema with five screens would open by the end of this year at the ……

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Tourism Potential Draws Top Hotel Chains To Laos

At least 40 hotels, including five international chains, are scheduled to open in Laos over the next five years as the country becomes a more popular tourist destination.
IInternational brands Ramada, InterContinental, Crown Plaza, Sofitel and Marriott are set to open hotels in the capital by 2019. Three global brands – Mercure, Ibis and Best Western – have already opened their doors in Vientiane, and one regional brand has entered the World Heritage Site of Luang Prabang.
Furthermore, 25-30 three- and four-star hotels are set to open in the capital, with some in ….

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Experts Warn That Public Debt Must Be Reigned In

The Ministry of Finance has to maintain careful management of the government’s external debt so that the stability of the state budget and the national economy as a whole is ensured despite the debt level being considered as moderate.
The ministry’s Budget Department Director General Dr Bounleua Sinxayvoravong made the warning when introducing the structure of public debt in Laos at the National Assembly inter-session held in Vientiane this week.
At the end of 2012, the government’s external debt was US$4.2 billion which was in net present value around …… .

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BCEL Warns Of User Password Theft

A leading Lao bank has warned its e-banking customers to be aware of identity and password theft which has occurred recently to several customers.
Banque Pour Le Commerce Exterieur Lao (BCEL) made the announcement to warn customers using i-Banking and e-Banking to be aware of someone stealing their private information such as user identity and password.
The bank noted that recently criminals have been attempting to steal user and password information of BCEL i-Banking and E-Banking customers by using ……

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Ascott Wins First Franchise Agreement In Vientiane

CapitaLand’s wholly-owned serviced residence business unit, The Ascott Limited (Ascott), has secured its first franchise agreements in Vientiane, the capital city of Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Laos), and Bali, Indonesia. The agreements are for an operating serviced residence in Vientiane that will be rebranded as a 116-unit Somerset Vientiane in the fourth quarter of ….

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Lao Gov’t Suspends Approval For New Commercial Banks

The Bank of Lao PDR, the nation’s central bank, has announced a suspension of the establishment of new commercial banks in Laos, as it moves to evaluate the current situation in the country’s banking industry.
The suspension applies to investors and legal identities who are not representing an existing bank or group of banking businesses which already have operations in foreign countries. It will be imposed from ….

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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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Toyota Boshoku Begins Manufacturing In Laos

Toyota Boshoku Corporation has begun manufacturing automobile seat covers in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic. Manufacturing is being undertaken by TOYOTA BOSHOKU LAO CO., LTD., which was recently established as a satellite to support automobile seat production in Thailand. The seat covers will be supplied to the Thai production base.
As a member nation of the East-West Economic Corridor*1, Laos is convenient for distribution to Thailand, and has stable ….

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Can You Afford To Retire? (And Why You Should Read This)

Retirement has changed radically over the last few decades in developed countries.
Years ago, when you expected to work most of your life for a single, large employer, you could count on a pension. Retirement planning meant figuring out how to use your free time when you stopped working, not calculating rates of return and deciphering tax rules. You didn’t have to worry.
Now though, its a different story. In the new modern world of transient employment and Countries of residence most workers are not enrolled in pension plans, and the numbers continue to drop as Company schemes continue to close or not be offered. Because fewer and fewer people enjoy the security ….

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Chinese Make $1.4bn Bid For Miner PanAust

PANAUST’S long-term supportive shareholder has turned hostile, proposing a $1.4 billion takeover bid which the target has immediately said materially undervalues its copper and gold assets.
Guangdong Rising Assets Management Co., a state-owned Chinese investment group, offered to take control of PanAust Ltd. (PNA) in a cash bid that values the Laos-focused copper producer at A$1.5 billion ($1.4 billion).
Buying PanAust would give Guangdong Rising control of mines in Laos as well as the ….

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Road Tax Is Back Again !

Despite previous announcements by the Ministry of Finance that the collection of the road tax has been abolished, J&C Services has just been informed by the authorities that the road tax is back in force again.
The Ministry of Finance informs all vehicle owners that the Road Tax Sticker for 2014 is now available as from 1st May 2014 and that it needs to be purchased for all vehicles. The sticker is valid for …

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SCG Ready For Bt10 Billion Plant In Laos

SIAM CEMENT GROUP’S board of directors has approved a Bt10-billion investment to build its first cement factory in Laos, as the group continues to expand in Asean.
President and chief executive Kan Trakulhoon said the 1.8-million-tonne-a-year cement plant would be established in Khammouane province, Laos, and was scheduled to begin production in the second quarter of 2017.
“Demand for building materials in the region has continued to grow, especially in Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar. This cement plant will mainly serve demand in …..

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JETRO Opens Office In Laos

The Japan External Trade Organization on Monday held an opening ceremony for its Laos office in the capital city of Vientiane.
The new office, expected to be fully operational in July, will be the 74th overseas base and 10th in Southeast Asia for JETRO, a public body which supports foreign investment by Japanese businesses through its network covering ….

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Central Bank Builds Up Foreign Reserves

The Bank of the Lao PDR has built up a strong foreign reserve as part of efforts to secure the supply of international currencies for importers, according to a senior bank official.
The central bank governor, Mr Somphao Phaysith said the bank had been able to increase its foreign reserves to meet the demand of imports. “The current foreign reserve is now able to secure imports for about ….. .

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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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Businesses Urged To Revise Plans As Govt Slashes Spending

A number of businesses ranging from construction firms to office equipment sellers need to revise their business plans following the government announcing its belt tightening policy, according to economists.
“Business leaders in Laos need to adjust their business plans to the reality of the situation so they can run their businesses smoothly,” the Lao National Economic Research Institute said.
In October, the government stopped paying state employees a monthly living allowance of 760,000 kip (US$95) per person as a measure to pay off the country’s debt.
It also announced a suspension of ….

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Mitsubishi To Build Plant In Laos

Japanese electronics maker Mitsubishi will invest US$8 million (260 million baht) in its first production plant in Laos.
MMC Electronics Laos Co signed a lease with an industrial park on the outskirts of the capital, the Vientiane Times reported.
Construction of the plant, which will produce thermostats and temperature control equipment for air conditioners, refrigerators, rice cookers and cars, is to begin immediately and be completed by ….

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Laos, China Vow To Push Railway Project Forward

Laos and China have confirmed they will push forward with the Lao-Chinese railway project while the two countries are still looking for an effective method of cooperation that serves their mutual interest.
The Lao and Chinese governments have come up with a plan to build the 421km railway, which would link Vientiane to the Laos-China border in the coming years.
The Lao side also suggested that China should expand its investment in hydro and lignite power plants as well as provide loans for irrigation development in the central provinces in order to ensure ….

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First Quarter Revenue Collection Falls Short Of Target

The Ministry of Finance has fallen well short of the revenue collection target over the first quarter of this fiscal year, posing bigger challenges for the government to secure funding for its expenditure and investment plan.
From October to December 2013, the finance ministry was able to achieve only 12.29 percent of the annual revenue collection plan, very much lower what it earlier expected.
Normally, the finance ministry is supposed to achieve 25 percent of the revenue collection target over the first quarter of the year, which if achieved would have set a …

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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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Japanese Investment Skyrockets In Laos

Japanese investment in Laos has skyrocketed and the prospects remain strong looking forward, according to a leading economic expert in the field.
With strong forecasts for growth, Japanese investors see Laos as a new production base following the improvement of the country’s infrastructure, legal framework and the availability of cheap labour. The latest investors from these countries include Nikon and Toyota, which will both be building part of their production bases in Laos.
The value of Japanese investment in Laos in 2013 reached …..

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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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Caution Urged On Provision To Use State Assets As Collateral

The creation of conditions to enable state-owned enterprises to use their assets as collateral for bank loans heated parliamentary debate yesterday at the ongoing National Assembly session.
The newly added Article 201 stipulates that using the assets of an enterprise like land and other property to guarantee bank loans is one of the ways to secure finance.
Although the draft states that principles on how to use the assets as guarantees or collateral for loans is set out in a separate regulation, some NA members suggested that it should be set out in the law instead.
The government is aware of the need to enable state enterprises to access bank loans to secure finance for ….

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Official Corruption A Great Concern; Vice President Says

Vice President Bounnhang Vorachit said recently that many Lao officials are violating the country’s laws and abusing their power of authority to embezzle state property, causing great loss to the nation.
The vice president highlighted that this issue needs to be urgently addressed in order to ensure the country’s development progress can move forwards in a quicker manner.
He said illegal logging and illegal mining excavation occurs with the involvement of state officials, leading to financial leaks and hindering national development. Mr Bounnhang noted that social problems are on rise in Laos including crimes and drug trafficking. Official corruption, extravagance and abuse of power remain issues of great concern in …..

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Lao Banks Remain Financially Sound

Commercial banks in Laos are still in sound financial shape as non-performing loans (NPL) remain below 3 percent despite a rapid increase of credit, according to the top central bank official.
Speaking at a session of the National Assembly conference recently, the Bank of the Lao PDR Governor, Mr Somphao Phaysith said that credit released by banks in Laos saw a 42 percent increase in September compared to the same period last year.
Despite the rapid increase of credit, non-performing loans remain at 2.75 percent, below the annual target of 3 percent, he told law makers amid worries that at rapid rise in credit would pose negative impacts on …..

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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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LSX Launches Online Trading Service

Local and foreign investors will find it easier to buy and sell stocks on the Lao Securities Exchange (LSX) with the launch of the Home Trading System earlier this month.
LSX, a Lao-Korean joint venture, launched the new stock trading service so investors can place orders to buy and sell stocks from anywhere in the world with internet access.
People wishing to trade on the LSX are advised to contact one of the two associated security companies, who can provide information on the trading system. Traders must install home trading software and open a bank account so they can access the online system before……

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Abe Discusses Aid, Security In Laos

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Laotian Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong agreed Sunday during their summit to seek the launch of a security dialogue framework.
“I would like to come to a mutual understanding (with Laos on various issues) through dialogue between our foreign and defense officials,” Abe said.
Abe also unveiled Tokyo’s decision to extend yen loans to help Laos expand an airport terminal to back its efforts to improve its infrastructure. In other support for Laos’ development, Abe offered Japanese help for the Southeast Asian country’s health and medical care systems, Japanese officials said.
Abe is on the second and last leg of a two-day trip to Southeast Asiathat took him to ….

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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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The Pension Time Bomb

The dream of a relaxed and enjoyable retirement is something we all aspire to. Unfortunately not all of us plan well enough to ensure we have sufficient funds to live out our dreams. So what is it we might be getting wrong ?
Firstly, very few people take into account inflation. Our pension providers will quote us a figure that in today’s terms looks reasonable. However if inflation runs on average of …

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US Unveils New $100 Bill Today

After production problems and delays, the Federal Reserve will finally circulate a new $100 bill today. The aim of the redesigned bank note is to make it harder to fake.
Due to the enhanced security features “it only takes a few seconds to check the new $100 note and know it’s real,” according to Newmoney.gov, a website affiliated with the Federal Reserve Board,Treasury Department and U.S. Secret Service.
Check out a decade’s worth of research and development that went into America’s newest bank note.: ….

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Govt To Revise Value-Added Tax

The government will amend the Law on Value-Added Tax (VAT) to remove tariffs on materials Laos cannot produce domestically as part of preparations for the Asean Free Trade Area and Asean Economic Community in 2015.
Under amendments flagged in a government report last week, the 10 percent tariff on some materials and machinery that cannot be produced in Laos will be reduced to zero in a bid to promote productivity in other sectors.
The government has moved to assure the amendment will not impact …..

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Poor Management Deprives Lao Govt Of Taxes

A large amount of revenue from taxes and tariffs has been lost due to poor management of the financial system and a lack of cooperation from business operators.
In addition, the government is deprived of revenue due to its tax exemption policy for foreign investors, Minister of Finance Mr Phouphet Khamphounvong said.
Revenue is also lost because some businesses import goods illegally, while customs officers do not manage their work properly. In addition, many traders try to avoid paying tax and do not meet their …..

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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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Interest Picks Up In Savannakhet Industrial Zone

Before Thailand experienced its crippling floods in 2011 and the minimum wage hike in 2012, the Savan-Seno Special Economic Zone (SEZ), the first of its kind in Laos, was struggling to attract foreign companies. But now the location is gaining notice as a new choice for businesses looking for a low-cost, low-risk location.
Two of the pioneers at the site in Savannakhet have been Toyota Boshoku Asia, a major supplier of seats and interior parts for Toyota, and Nikon, the Japanese camera maker. Their presence is expected to draw other suppliers in the ….

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Major Tax Revamp Trials Next Month

The government is planning to start using an electronic system for tax collection early next year with a test of the system on motor vehicles to begin next month.
Revenue collection has not reached the planned target because of various violations of the regulations and loopholes in procedures, which has resulted in a further deficit and hike of the government debt.
The new method of taxation will calculate tax based on a vehicle’s engine capacity (both the size and number of cylinders), its brand and model, but not its ……

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Inflation Causing Precarious Economy

A far higher than expected inflation rate means Laos must take precautions or be at risk of a financial crisis, according to the Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment.
“The current situation is between yellow and red light mode as the inflation rate has reached 6.84 percent,” he said. The government aims to keep the kip fluctuating between -5 and +5 percent in value against the US dollar and Thai baht.
However the current kip inflation rate is close to…….

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Laos Facing Large Revenue Shortfall

Laos faces rising debt if, as expected, it fails to achieve its tax-revenue target for the fiscal year 2012-13 which ends this month, according to the Ministry of Finance.
Revenue collection over the past 11 months has fallen considerably short, with only 78.38 per cent of the 19.5-trillion-kip (about Bt77.2 billion) target collected. The ministry attributes the failure to unfavourable global economic conditions coupled with an overly optimistic target, set at 27.15 per cent higher than last year.
The ministry admitted that ….

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No More Casinos In Laos: Lengsavad

Laos will no longer grant new concessions for casinos in special economic zones on its soil. It will also overhaul plans for such areas so they have a clear focus and right direction for economic development, Deputy Prime Minister Somsavat Lengsavad said in an interview recently.
“Casinos in special economic zones such as the one in Boten (in the north) have made no good contribution to development and even affected relations between China and Laos, so we don’t want them anymore,” Somsavat said.
The idea to end casino concessions in special economic zones came with a plan to review….

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Investment In Laos Remains Stable Despite Mining Halt

Growth in the investment sector has remained stable despite the government last year halting new investment proposals for mineral extraction and rubber and eucalyptus plantations. An official told the slowdown has yet to impact on the country’s investment sector.
“Although we have suspended new proposals for mining and rubber and eucalyptus plantations until December 31, 2015, domestic and foreign investment in Laos has remained stable,” he said.
“The hydropower and agriculture sectors are starting to slightly replace the loss in the mining sector,” he said, adding that many more businesses are interested in investing in Laos…..

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Labour Shortage A Major Challenge For Investors

Both local and foreign investors operating businesses in Laos have been encountering problems stemming from the chronic labour shortage. “We are experiencing an annual shortfall of labourers in excess of 31,000 people,” said a senior advisor to the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Mr Onesy said that in the midst of this labour shortage, some 100,000 people are crossing the border to seek work in other countries, and there are no controls in place to stop this exodus. Many areas in the central and southern provinces have no young people to work in the rice fields since most prefer to work in other countries, leaving the job ……

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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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Govt Working To Manage The Country’s Debts

The government is committed to imposing measures and mechanisms to manage the country’s debts while exploring new sources of revenue and reducing loans for unnecessary expenditure.
The Lao Minister of Finance reaffirmed that the government will try to keep the debt levels at less than 40 percent of GDP, while the value of debt payment should not more than 20 percent of the value of exports and domestic revenue…..

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BCEL Customers Victims Of Phishing Scams

J&C has received copies of phising e-mails, which have been sent to BCEL customers in an attempt to gather personal and financial information from the account holder.
The e-mails, with subject: “Your account will be closed – NOTICE” read as following: ” Dear customer, your account has been revoked and temporarily suspended for verfication purpose. You are required to ACTIVATE this account now to …….”
Further a link is provided, where the account holder is requested to provide his personal information. In general, the number and sophistication of phishing scams sent out to consumers is continuing to increase dramatically. Phishing is an e-mail fraud method in which the perpetrator ….

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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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Car Loan Interest Rates Continue To Decline

The interest rates on car loans in Laos have dropped as people are being urged to buy cheaper vehicles in future.
The decision by the commercial banks and financial institutes in Laos to lower car loan interest was taken in the light of the increasing number of leasing firms in the country. At present the major leasing firms are BCEL, Indochina Bank, Lao-Viet Bank and Thanasup.
There are more than 31 commercial banks in Laos, most of which are foreign branches, who have decided to invest in the country after exploring the business opportunities thanks to the strong economic growth of more than eight percent over the past two years.
Observers said that car loan interest rates and the price of vehicles in Laos would continue to drop. At present, some of the car dealers offer customers one year’s free interest as part of efforts to boost their sales.
The price of the Vigo, one of the popular Japanese brand name cars, has dropped from US$40,000 to …..

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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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Minimum Wage Increase Remains Unpaid, Despite New Ruling

Many businesses, notably garment factories, are failing to comply with an increase in the minimum wage paid to workers, which came into effect on January 1.
The government announced that the monthly minimum wage would increase from 348,000 kip to 626,000 kip plus any supporting allowances previously received, such as for lunch, good performance and social welfare benefits.

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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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Laos To Eliminate Asean Import Tariffs By 2018

Laos has begun to reduce import tariffs in line with Asean Free Trade Area (AFTA) policy but has until 2018 to fulfill all of its obligations.
The new Asean member countries are Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam. These countries need time to build their capacity to fulfil all their obligations under the AFTA. The older Asean member countries – Brunei, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines – have been reducing import tariffs to zero since 2010, opening up the regional export market.

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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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Lao Govt To Delay Car Usage Tax

The government will delay the enforcement of an annual car usage tax and a natural resources tax, even though the National Assembly had earlier given the green light to impose the taxes.
The National Assembly approved the revised Tax Law at the end of last year, allowing the government to collect the car usage tax annually instead of as a lump sum after finding that vehicle importers were failing to pay the full amount of excise tax due to the high rates levied.
The tax official also said the government will not impose the approved natural resource tax until it has revised the presidential decree on state service fees. He was unable to say when the revised decree would be promulgated.

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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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Neighbours cash-in as West sits out quiet boom in Laos

The Japanese cars and sport utility vehicles that clog the streets of Laos’s once sleepy capital are testament to the changes quietly under way in a county once seen as a basket case isolated for decades behind Asia’s bamboo curtain.
Nominally communist since the overthrow of a U.S.-backed government in 1975, the former French colony is courting neighbouring China, Vietnam and Thailand to develop resources and infrastructure, and they are piling in, indifferent to the risk aversion that keeps Western firms on the sidelines.

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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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Banque Franco-Lao Unveils Expansion Plans

Banque Franco-Lao is planning further expansion and will open more branches in Vientiane and the provinces. The bank’s Managing Director Mr. Guillaume Perdon said on Friday the bank opened new branches in Sikhay market on September 6 and the new Talatsao Mall on September 20 this year, for the provision of business and private banking services. The bank also plans to open other branches in the provinces, namely Luang Prabang, Savannakhet and Champassak, to provide quality banking services in regional areas.

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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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Foreign Investors Allowed To Own Land in Laos

The Government has decide to allow foreign investors to own residential land rights after spending more than a year defining the details of the law. Foreigners who have invested US$500,000 or more in Laos can now apply to buy land from provincial and capital authorities in accordance with the amended Law on Investment Promotion.

Under the new prime ministerial decree, eligible foreign investors will be allowed to purchase a maximum of 800 square meters of state-owned land for residential purposes or to construct on office building.

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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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