Laos’ Investment Outlook for 2018

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

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Rule Of Law Key To Strengthening Laos’ Competitiveness

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

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Tourism And Development Threaten Laos’ French Traditions

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

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

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

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Lao Factory Owners Say Proposed Wage Hike Will Shutter Businesses

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

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How To Protect Your Intellectual Property In Laos

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

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Will Costs Continue To Cage Laos’ Regional Connectivity?

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

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Laos Dances To Survive Between China and Vietnam

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

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

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

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

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

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B Grimm Goes Big With Power Projects In Laos

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

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The Lao-Singapore Tax Treaty/DTA is Now Effective

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

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Arbitration in Laos

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

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Laos Cuts Maximum Concession Period To 50 Years

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

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China Top Foreign Investor In 2016

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

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

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

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These Are The Fastest Growing Economies In East Asia In 2017

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

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Lao Province Issues Banana Ban

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

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China’s New Silk Road Is Getting Muddy

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

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Trade Surplus Predicted For 2016

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

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Thai Government To Air Concerns On Lao VAT

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

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

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

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Lao Amended Investment Law Shortens Concession Period

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

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That Luang Marsh Developer To Build Theme Park

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

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Unlawful Financial Institutions Warned of Legal Action

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

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Many Banks In Laos Refuse To Sell Foreign Currencies

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

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

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

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

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

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Real Estate Growth Sustainable But Sluggish, Experts Say

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

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VAT To Be Levied At Border Crossings, Effective Immediately

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

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Tax Rates Set To Increase Next Year: Ministry

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

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

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

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Slowing China Economy Ripples Into Laos

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

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

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

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Import Tariff Reductions Have Little Impact On Vehicle Prices

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

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Luang Prabang Lures Foreign Investors With Tax Incentives

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

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Laos Gives Green Light To Foreign Investors

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

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Direct Flight Between India and Laos soon

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

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Tax Alert: Revised Tax Law Pending

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

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Tax Payments Decline Over Seven Months

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

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Five-Year Budget Approved, Deficit Continues

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

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BOL Teams Up With Police To Combat Money Laundering

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

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Lao Garment Industry Shrinks Amid Labour Shortage

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

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IMF Chief Praises Laos, Warns Of Challenges Ahead

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

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Laos’ Sleepy Capital Awakens To A Construction Boom

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

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Banks To Issue More Loans Despite Lower Rates

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

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Amended Constitution Creates Provincial Assemblies, Gives President Two Terms

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

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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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