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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How Laos’ Black Market Undermines China’s Ivory Ban

As tour buses pull up in front of San Jiang Market, not far from Wattay International Airport, a guide beckons to a group of Chinese tourists. They soon disappear into the jungle of shops bearing signs in Chinese characters, many of which sell “local specialties,” or any illicit wildlife product imaginable.

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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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Team BUG5 Becomes The First Laotian Team To Compete At Imagine Cup Regional

Team BUG5, a group of three young innovators from Laos has earned the nomination to represent Laos in the South East Asia Regional Final Round of 15th Microsoft Imagine Cup 2017, Microsoft’s global accelerator program to empower the next generation of computer science students. They will make history as the very first Laotian team to get qualified for Imagine Cup regional finals.

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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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Govt Warned To Manage Growing Debt

Economists have warned the government needs a long-term strategy for managing its burgeoning debt against obligations while it works on securing more efficient and additional revenue sources.
At the moment, Laos requires 1,559 billion kip to meet its budget expenditure following revenue shortfall in the first quarter of this year.

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Buying That Luang Condos Will Not Grant Lao Citizenship

The That Luang Swamp Special Economic Zone Committee has disclaimed international news reports that foreigners who purchase a condominium in the new That Luang Swamp Special Economic Zone will automatically be granted Lao citizenship.
“A foreigner (who) buys a condominium in the That Luang Swamp Special Economic Zone will be eligible to stay in the country for 10 years without ….

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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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Laos-Cambodia Border Closed Over Tensions

In the latest flare up in tensions between the two countries, Lao authorities temporarily shut a border crossing with Cambodia and dispatched more troops to an undemarcated area on the northern border after Cambodian authorities began renovating an old French border outpost.
According to local officials, Laos shut the Voen Kham border crossing in Stung Treng province’s O’Svay commune on Sunday and ….

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Improved VAT Procedures To Enhance Laos’ Business Climate

The Ministry of Finance is seeking consultations with business sector operators and government agencies on the new implementing instructions for the revised value-added tax (VAT) Law, aiming to make tax collection procedures more transparent.
The revised VAT Law, which was approved in January, is expected to make paying taxes easier for local businesses as well as helping to improve the business climate in ….

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More Than 36 Trillion Kip Invested in Vientiane Capital Last Year

The last year’s investment in Vientiane Capital fetched over 36.9 trillion kip (USD 4.48 billion) mostly in commercial production and systematic food security projects.
The gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 10.90% with an average per capita of US$4,700,Vientiane Mayor Sinlavong Khoutphaythoun briefed. There were three economic-driven sectors in ….

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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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Hilton Enters Laos

The US hotel giant has penned a deal with TPD Company to manage the 160-room DoubleTree by Hilton Vientiane, which is scheduled to open in the Lao capital in early 2020.
Located in the centre of the city, on the intersection of Rue Setthathilath and Rue Manthatourath, about 5km from the Vientiane’s Wattay International Airport, the upscale hotel will be close to the ….

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High-Speed Rail On Track To Connect Vientiane To The Region

On the outskirts of the Lao capital, a blue passenger train rattles from its station and across a dry landscape.
Reverberating sirens ring out as boom gates block a nearby road, a handful of motorcyclists almost bemused by the misfortune of being made to wait.
This is the only operating railway in the entire country. The connector with Thailand spans just 3.5km of Laos itself before ……

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Thai Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Urges CLMVT Master Plan

Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand, the new drivers for Asean and Asian economic growth, should come up with a joint master plan for connectivity and key infrastructure development to strengthen the region’s competitiveness, says Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak.
“Given a combined population of 230 million people and average economic growth of 6-8%, the five countries are …

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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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Almost 9,000 Newly Registered Vehicles in Only Two Months

There have been almost 9,000 newly registered vehicles in the first two months of this year thanks to ongoing socio-economic growth.
The Vientiane Public Works and Transport Department disclosed this week that in only two months from January to February, there were 8,972 newly registered vehicles bringing the total number of newly registered vehicles in Vientiane Capital to ….

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Lao Outbound Travellers Hit 3 Million For 2016

Lao outbound travellers made more than 3.05 million trips in 2016 and more people are suggested to have made longer-distance trips in foreign countries, the latest statistics showed.
Though 2016’s figure slightly decreased from more than 3.06 million trips and the 3.3 million trips recorded in 2015 and 2014 respectively, the number of Lao nationals travelling by planes increased to the ….

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GDP Expected To Grow At 6.8 Percent: IMF

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has predicted that Laos’ Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will grow at 6.8 percent this year, less than the government’s projected rate of 7 percent.
The IMF Executive Board concluded the Article IV consultation [1] with Laos recently, describing Laos’ challenges in dealing with the current account deficit, falling foreign currency reserves, and growing ….

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Govt Gives Green Light To Vientiane Expressway

The government has agreed in principle to a plan to build a 14-km expressway linking Vientiane city centre to the outskirts in Xaythany district, in a bid to ease congestion.
The project was agreed to at the government’s monthly meeting for February held last week at the Prime Minister’s Office when the concept of the multimillion US dollar project was presented and discussed ….

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PM Stresses Land As Focus For Transport Development

Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith has stressed for land to be the main focus of transportation development in the country, calling for careful decisions on every water and air transportation project.
He praised the sector for their achievements made over the past forty years or more, which he says has seen huge differences in infrastructure development in comparison to the time ….

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Property Investors To Draw Law On Foreign Acquisition

Property investors are currently drawing up a law that will call on the National Assembly (NA) to consider foreigners to be able to purchase apartments, according to officials in the sector.
Under the Investment Promotion Law that was put into effect in 2014, foreigners with a registered investment of US$500,000 can own a plot of residential land but officials from the Ministry of Planning and Investment say they have found it difficult to enforce the ….

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Laos Faces Economic Challenges In 2017: Business Leader

Despite Laos officially performing well overall economically in 2016, some large firms still face major hurdles in doing business, according to a leading corporate executive.
General Manager External Affairs, PanAust Ltd./Managing Director PBM Ltd., Mr Richard Taylor, made the comment recently in an article posted on the professional social media site LinkedIn.
His article detailed three key issues that would shape 2017 for both Laos and Myanmar, which have ….

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Lao Postal Service Issues New List Of Prohibited Items

The Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications in cooperation with four other ministries and the Bank of the Lao PDR recently approved a decision on postal service prohibitions.
The decision specifies regulations and measures concerning the prohibition of certain items, to prevent the sending and receiving of illegal goods by mail and ensure that postal operations are ….

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First Pilots Graduate From Lao Civil Aviation Flight Training Centre

Director of the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) Mr Vanpheng Chanthaphone and Vice President of the Swiss NGO PACTEC International Mr Gerald Bourgeois last month gave the first professional pilots trained in Laos their wings.
The six students – including one young woman – started their training at the Civil Aviation Flight Training Centre (CAFTC) in Vientiane in ….

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Lao Garment Industry Fails To Attract New Investors

The construction of garment factories in Laos has continued only gradually this year as the industry is still struggling to source workers to supply its factories, according to an official related to the sector.
Vice President of the Association of the Lao Garment Industry, Dr Xaybandith Rasphone explained that the construction of garment factories is expected to proceed slowly again this year as it ….

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Australian Woman Builds Citrus Industry In Laos From Scratch

A Queensland citrus grower has taken on the extraordinary challenge of helping develop a brand new citrus industry in Laos, South-East Asia.
Ironbark Lao general manager Sue Jenkins and her husband Allan have a well-established orchard in Mundubbera in the North Burnett. Ms Jenkins said she was looking for a new career challenge and a way to give …..

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Lao Leaders Return Their Luxury Cars

Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith on Tuesday handed in his BMW 7 Series, following up on a promise made by the country’s leaders that they will no longer drive expensive luxury vehicles in an attempt to exercise frugality.
President Bounnhang Vorachit, who is Secretary General of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party, was also expected to give back his BMW 7 Series yesterday, an official at the ….

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Minister Vows Stable Electricity Supply

The electricity supply in various special and specific economic zones has been stable, enabling factories to operate smoothly, a minister has said.
Minister of Energy and Mines Dr. Khammany Inthilath outlined the situation to local media recently. He admitted that foreign investors, notably Japanese and Korean companies who were considering shifting their production bases to Laos, had inquired about ….

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Numerous Officials Cited For Corruption By Inspection Authority

Numerous officials at the central and local levels have been found to have been involved in corrupt conduct which has resulted in a huge loss of financial resources.
The activities were revealed by the State Inspection Authority (SIA) when reporting on the results of their inspections over the past year. Some officials from the agriculture sector in Saravan province were involved in document forgery, defrauding the state of …..

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Asia’s Smallest Economies Are Among Its Fastest Growing

Asia’s smallest economies are growing faster than giants like China, according to the World Bank.
Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar will post the most rapid expansions in Asia after India from 2017 to 2019, sustaining growth rates of close to 7 percent, according to forecasts released this week. Among the least developed countries, the combined size of the three economies is less than $100 billion, about a third of …..

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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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Debt To Be Reduced In Next Five Years, PM Says

Public debt that has been accumulating for years to the present high level will be considerably lowered in five years’ time, Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith has said.
“Debt has been heavily accumulated over the past years. It will take us at least five years to allocate [funds for repayment] and overcome the debt,” he told a recent meeting in Vientiane, which gave instructions on ….

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Salary Delays Slow Government Work in Laos

As Laos struggles to ensure prompt payment of state workers’ salaries, government employees in some areas are forced to spend half their working hours at private work, threatening the efficient functioning of their departments, sources say.
Speaking to RFA’s Lao Service on condition of anonymity, a community development expert based in the capital Vientiane said that government officials in ….

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Tight Grip & Diversification Needed for Laos Economy in Uncertain Times

With a gross domestic product (GDP) averaging 7 per cent since 2000, the Laos economy is among the fastest growing in Asean. Despite this, in recent years the Laos economy has trended downwards. Amid global economic uncertainty, it remains to be seen how Laos will manage its macroeconomic policies and export diversification strategy.
The Laos economy is estimated to grow by 6.8 per cent in 2016, partly due to the …..

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Lao Politburo Forces Officials To Give Up Their Luxury Cars

Top Lao officials will have to give up the keys to their government-purchased BMW and Mercedes Benz automobiles as the politburo has decided that they can drive cheaper Toyotas instead.
The move comes as Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith attempts to reign in corruption in the impoverished nation where high-raking officials have used the …..

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Lao Prime Minister Moves To Stop Land-for-Capital Deals

Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith says he wants to end the Lao government’s policy of bartering land for development, in a reversal of a long-term practice that has seen large swaths of the country go to foreign-backed investors.
“The business sector should not convince the governmental sector to create debts for the nation,” Thongloun told the Lao version of the chamber of commerce earlier this month. “In recent years, many big development projects, including ….

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Expats In Laos Limited To Two Entries Per Year Without Visa: Thailand

From December 31st immigration checkpoints at land border crossings into Thailand will only allow visitors to enter the Kingdom on a visa exemption stamp twice in a calendar year, bringing an end to the much used loophole of staying in the country by doing back to back border hops.
Citizens of certain countries, including ….

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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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Workforce Fails To Meet Needs Of Job Market

Balancing the available workforce with the reality of the job market, which includes hiring workers for new jobs and reshuffling officials into new positions, has fallen far short of the annual target, the government told the National Assembly recently.
Only 48,236 people were placed in new jobs over the first 10 months of the 2015-16 fiscal year, representing just 33.68 percent of the ….

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Poverty Reduction Slows

Poverty reduction has slowed a little but the government will strive to reduce the number of poor families from 6.56 percent in 2016 down to 6.09 percent by 2017, the government has told the National Assembly.
There are four main reasons for the slower rate of poverty reduction, Minister of Planning and Investment Dr Souphanh Keomixay told the ongoing ordinary session of parliament when he presented a …..

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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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Revised Govt Plan To See Bigger Budget Deficit

The government’s proposal to revise the next four-year budget plan (2017-2020) will see the budget deficit increase to 4.39 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), up by 0.32 percent compared to the four-year plan approved earlier by the National Assembly (NA).
Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Somdy Duangdy presented the proposed plan to the ….

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Revenue Shortfall Drives Budget Deficit Abnormally High

Revenue collection for this fiscal year reached only 95 percent of the annual plan, driving the budget deficit to 6.9 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), higher than the maximum of five percent usually adopted by the government.
Economists have warned that such high deficits will increase public debt, with the country having already accumulated considerable debt that will ….

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Education In Laos Feels The Financial Squeeze As Premier Wants Booze Out Of The Mix

Some students in Lao universities and teachers in central Laos are feeling a financial squeeze as scholarship students are facing increased fees while some high school teachers are still waiting for paychecks, RFA’s Lao Service has learned.
Students in pedagogical college and the Souphanouvong University in Luang Prabang province are questioning why they are being required to pay the fees while they are on ….

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VAT Collection To Start Next Month

The Customs Department of the Ministry of Finance will begin collecting Valued Added Tax (VAT) payments next month with the department readying equipment and human resources.
“At the beginning we will be collecting VAT at the first Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge between Nong Khai province and Vientiane followed by the other international border …..

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Seat Quotas Increased For Bangkok-Vientiane Route

Thai airlines will soon be allowed to operate more flights to Vientiane, Laos, according to the Thai-Lao accord approved by the Cabinet on Tuesday.
The quota is raised from 2,100 seats to 14,500 for the flights from Bangkok to Vientiane. Meanwhile, from Vientiane to Bangkok, the quota is …..

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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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Laos Records Low Inflation In Line With Region

Laos recorded its highest inflation rates this year in July and August, but economists say overall regional inflation remains low linked to lower commodity prices.
According to the Bank of the Lao PDR, the Consumer Price Index in July this year stood at 102.04 with the inflation rate at 1.97 percent before declining to 1.85 percent in August.
Generally speaking, the inflation rate in Laos has been lower than …

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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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Laos-China Railway Construction To Begin in December

Construction of a historic railway linking Vientiane to the Chinese border over a distance of 427 km is expected to begin in December this year, an official in charge has said.
Agreements with six Chinese construction companies and six consultancy firms will be finalised next month which will pave the way for the start of construction at the end of…..

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Can Laos Create A Startup Economy ?

Last week, the usually sleepy capital of Vientiane was awoken amidst the commotion and hustle bustle of the 29th ASEAN Summit. Within four days, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic had hosted a flurry of official meetings, negotiations, and historic agreements, such as President Barack Obama’s pledge of $90 million to remove unexploded ordnance.
It was a historic week for Laos, a landlocked country often dwarfed by its more dynamic …..

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Obama Regrets ‘Biggest Bombing In History’

The bombs, as one Laotian described it, “fell like rain”, US President Barack Obama said Tuesday on a visit to Laos, a first for any sitting US president.
“Given our history here, I believe that the United States has a moral obligation to help Laos heal,” he said.
He referred to America’s secret and devastating bombing of Laos during the Vietnam War in the 1960s and 70s.
Some $90m (£68m) will be spent over ….

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PM Thongloun: ASEAN To Become World’s No. 4 Economy By 2030

A new economic order will emerge by 2030, with Southeast Asia taking on a central role, Laotian Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith told business leaders in his nation’s capital on Monday.
“Studies have shown that the ASEAN economy is expected to grow at 7% per annum, with a GDP reaching $4.7 trillion in 2020, and the possibility of becoming the fourth-largest economy in the world by 2030,” Thongloun said in his …..

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Typhoon Hit Roads Thwart Travellers

Many sections of main roads in central and northern provinces have been blocked or collapsed following landslides caused by the effects of Typhoon Dianmu on the weekend.
Roads falling away or being blocked have hindered buses and other vehicles making their way along major northern routes causing lengthy delays.
In response, local public works and transport sectors are …..

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National Revenue Shortfall Escalates Budgetary Tensions

Revenue collected over the past 10 months of the 2015-16 fiscal year has accomplished only 74.52 percent of the set annual plan approved by the National Assembly, according to financial officials.
The revenue shortfall has further escalated budgetary tensions, creating greater concerns for the government to seek more funding to meet expenditure needs.
Economists worried that the failure to collect the ….

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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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Govt To Accept Only 5,000 New Employees In 2017

The government has announced that it will recruit only 5,000 new employees in 2017 in line with the country’s development needs.
The new quota of civil servants has been allocated based on the financial capacity of the government to pay officials’ salaries.
The new quota was designed mainly to offset the number of officials who ….

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Celebrating The Sales Of 100,000 Improved Cook Stoves In Laos

In June 2016, the SWITCH-Asia project Improved Cookstoves (ICS) celebrated the production and sale of 100,000 ICS since the project began in 2013.
The ICS project has contributed to poverty alleviation in Lao PDR through the development of a sustainable consumption and production chain of fuel efficient ICS, which reduces the use of wood and charcoal and lowers …..

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President Demands Harsh Penalties For Lack Of Discipline

Party Chief and President Bounnhang Vorachit has instructed the top anti-corruption body to appropriately punish those officials found violating the regulations in a bid to stamp out malpractice and lax discipline.
The president also endorsed the creation of measures that would enable members of the public to participate in inspection work …..

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Laos In Need Of Massive Capital Injection To Drive Economic Growth

Economists warn that Laos will need to take a proactive approach to attract foreign direct investment if the country is to sustain economic growth of 7.5 percent annually over the next five years.
According to a recent government report, Laos will need about 223 trillion kip (US$27 billion), equal to 30 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), over the period ….

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ASEAN Split On How to Deal With China In South China Sea Row

Southeast Asia’s main grouping opened a meeting of their foreign ministers Sunday, deeply divided on how to deal with China’s territorial expansion in the South China Sea that has impacted some of its members and whipped up an increasing diplomatic quagmire.
Laos is hosting the gathering of the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which traditionally ends with a joint statement. But the sticking point is whether to include a reference to the ….

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Seven Injured In UXO-Related Accidents This Year

Seven people have been injured in UXO-related accidents so far this year, according to a report from the National Regulatory Authority (NRA) for UXO/Mine Action in the Lao PDR.
NRA Deputy Director Mr Bounpheng Sisawath said that from January 1 to July 19 there had been three UXO-related accidents in which seven people sustained injuries but no ….

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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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Thai-Lao Relations Caught In Limbo Despite Common Interests And Goals

The relationship between Thailand and Laos was supposed to develop further than it has since the two countries passed a turbulent period when the last people of Hmong ethnicity left the Kingdom in 2010. Despite international criticism over the forced repatriation, the two countries have managed to build a form of “trust” since then. Vientiane cannot blame Thailand any more for….

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New Report Reveals Poorest Areas Of Laos

Xepon district in Savannakhet province and Toumlan district in Xekong province are the poorest districts in Laos with people living in extreme poverty, while pockets of poverty also exist in urban centres, according to a new report.
The Lao Statistics Bureau released the report yesterday, titled: Where Are the Poor? Its findings make up the …..

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Govt Mulls Revising Electricity Fee

The government is mulling a revision of electricity tariffs after Electricite du Laos (EDL) submitted a draft revision that proposes reducing power fees to the government for consideration and approval.
If approved, EDL will subsidise up to six billion kip per month in power costs as per the proposed revision set to …..

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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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Thai NBTC To Register Lao Mobile Phone Users

The NBTC and Laos’s Ministry of Post and Telecommunications (MPT) signed an agreement in February to cooperate on telecoms cooperation issues.
The NBTC will invest Bt7 million for the system, which will allow mobile phone users to use their fingerprint and ID to register via applications for mobile phones, tablets and …

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On Southwestern Fringe, China’s Silk Road Ambitions Face Obstacles

For the southwestern city of Kunming, China’s plan to extend a high-speed rail link 3,000 km (1,875 miles) south to Singapore is already a boon: pristine expressways, a gleaming station and something of a real estate boom, as young buyers crowd property showrooms.
In Laos, work has yet to start on what should be the first overseas leg of a rail line stretching throughout Southeast Asia. The country, one of the region’s poorest, could struggle to finance even part of the …

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High Service Costs Challenge Tourism Businesses

The high cost of tour services in Laos is a major challenge for Lao tourism businesses when it comes to competing within the Asean region.
Median expenditure level for a traveller in Laos is about US$65 a day, while in neighbouring Asean countries average visitors paid only US$45, President of the Lao Association of Travel Agents told yesterday.
“Until now we cannot decide what the reasons behind the …..

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Luang Prabang Sees Unexpected Dip In Tourism Growth

Although more tourists visited Luang Prabang province this year than ever before, the rate of growth has not been as high as anticipated, a senior tourism official has noted.
Much more needs to be done in terms of marketing and creating confidence among international tourists, to encourage them to visit the World Heritage town.
“The number of tourist arrivals in the province reached …..

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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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Myanmar Leader Suu Kyi Makes First Official Trip, To Laos

Myanmar and Laotian state media reported that Suu Kyi accompanied Myanmar President Htin Kyaw on the visit, which came at the invitation of the president of Laos, Bounnhang Vorachit.
Htin Kyaw was the first head of state to be hosted by Bounnhang, who officially assumed his post just three weeks ago.
The purpose of the visit was to strengthen relations and cooperation between …..

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Mining Slump, Improper Planning Blamed For Budget Tensions

The enormous drop in revenue generated from mining coupled with improper budget planning has been the main cause of the budget tensions Laos has faced over the past few years, Deputy Prime Minister Somdy Douangdy told parliament recently.
Mr Somdy, who is also Minister of Finance, addressed the National Assembly (NA)’s inaugural session recently, highlighting the main causes of the financial …..

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Laos To Boost Coffee Value With GI Certification

Laos is preparing to certify its homegrown coffee as a Geographical Indicator (GI) and as a member of the International Coffee Organisation (ICO).
The move will help to maintain the value of Lao coffee, after progressive price decreases over the past two years.
The Lao Coffee Association is consulting with government and private entities about the duties and …..

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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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Bounnhang Vorachit New President Of The Lao PDR

Members of the National Assembly’s 8th Legislature elected Mr Bounnhang Vorachit as the new President of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic at the Assembly’s inaugural session this morning.
They also elected Mr Phankham Viphavanh as …..

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Mekong Damns Leave Vietnam and Cambodia High and Dry

As Vietnam suffers its worst drought in nearly a century and Cambodia faces a water shortage that could jeopardise the livelihoods of 1.5 million people, debates have been reignited over the mega dams built along the Mekong.
Once referred to as ‘one of the world’s last great stretches of undammed river‘, the Mekong could well become one of the most dammed rivers in Asia. By 2030, 70 dams will …..

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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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Laos Suspends Pork Imports To Protect Local Farmers

The Livestock and Fisheries Department of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has suspended the import of piglets and pork as Lao farmers are currently able to produce sufficient supply to meet domestic demand.
In its announcement, issued last month, the department said the domestic production of pork and piglets was sufficient for local consumption and there was even a surplus in …..

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Oscar Winner Lord Puttnam Tackles Lao Tourism Challenges

Oscar-winning producer Lord Puttnam was recently walking along Luang Prabang’s streets. He notices a fine-looking four-storey hotel topped with a terrace. He hikes up the stairs and takes in the view. He then asks the staff if he can order a drink. The smiling worker replies, “Yes sir, on the first floor.”
Lord Puttnam’s anecdote kicked off his keynote address at the 18th Lanith Symposium on the challenges and barriers in …..

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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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Ensuring Satellite Benefits A Challenge For Laos

The Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications has noted that the biggest challenge for Laos’ first satellite is to ensure it can gain as much benefit from the space asset as it can after LaoSAT1 was handed over to the government.
The minister stressed the importance of gaining the maximum benefits for the country from the satellite. “In particular, in the economic sense, how can we make profits in order to pay off the ……

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Community Radio in Laos

It has been a long day for Community Radio Volunteer Ms. Mouddala Keonheun. By the time she arrives at the Lakonepheng Community Radio Station, the sun is already starting to set on the small, square building, rising solidly out of a sparse cow and goat paddock in the south of Laos.
Mouddala is a teacher at the local school. Every day after class she loads her ….

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Thai AirAsia To Fly Luang Prabang

Thai AirAsia will inaugurate a daily flight from Bangkok (Don Mueang Airport) to Luang Prabang in Lao PDR effective 24 March.
In the past, authorities rejected applications by low-cost airlines to fly to Luang Prabang. The country also opted out of the ASEAN Open Skies agreement, apparently to protect its national airline, at the expense of its fledging ….

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Lao Hydro: Wind To Ease Asean Energy Shortage

Laos, often called the “Battery of Asean”, will live up to its name by supplying Asean power at a critical time, when energy demand in the region’s fast growing economies threatens shortages amid several infrastructure and urbanisation projects.
Thailand, which depends on natural gas for 70 per cent of its electricity needs, has been struggling due to the depletion local reserves while suppliers like Myanmar are cutting back supplies ….

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Amended Constitution Creates Provincial Assemblies, Gives President Two Terms

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

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Laos pins economic hopes on extra electricity

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

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Laos Sees Dramatic Increase In Retailers Selling Improved Cook Stoves

The roadsides leading out of the main cities in Lao PDR are lined with numerous small retail shops, which are mostly owned by women, offering a variety of locally-made products, among them a selection of ceramic cook stoves. A vast majority of households in Laos cook on these portable stoves, using wood or charcoal.
Most of these small family businesses along the roadsides sell about ….

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Obama Plans To Visit Laos, A First For A US President

President Barack Obama plans to visit Laos next year to attend a regional economic summit, making him the first US president to visit that country, an advisor said Wednesday.
Obama will make history when he attends an ASEAN conference in the poor but economically growing country, which was massively bombed by the United States during the …..

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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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Lao Satellite To Go Into Orbit This Month

Laos’ first telecommunications satellite (Lao Sat-1) will be launched into orbit on November 21 to spur many facets of development and industry.
The satellite, which is owned by the Lao Sat-1 Joint Venture Company, will be part of a network of satellites in Laos and overseas that provide various communication services.
It will enhance communication links for government work, television …..

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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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Laos-China Rail Expected To Begin Construction In November

The groundbreaking ceremony to begin construction of the Laos-China rail project to link Laos with China and other Asean member counties is expected to begin in November if things go as planned, a minister said on Friday.
Construction of the project, which was initially estimated to cost US$6.8 billion, will take about five years to complete. The two governments agreed that …..

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