The Ministry of Industry and Commerce has reported that the value of imports and exports climbed to more than 33.82 trillion kip (US$4.22 billion) in the first six months of this year, 11.8 percent more than in the same period last year.
The ministry’s Import and Export Department reported on Tuesday that the US$4.22 billion figure included exports worth over 14.35 trillion kip (US$1.79 billion), or 43.1 percent of the annual plan – a decrease of 0.3 percent from the same period last year.
The export value rose due to larger exports of minerals, electricity, garments and agricultural and wooden products. Thailand was Laos’ main export market followed by Vietnam, China, Germany, Japan and the Netherlands.
In the imports category, the value exceeded 19.46 trillion kip (US$2.43 billion) in the first six months, or 51.8 percent of the annual plan, which was 22.9 percent higher than the same period last year.
The value of imports surged due to economic growth, which drove up the need for imports across all sectors.
Imports consisted mainly of fuel, vehicles, construction equipment, raw materials for industrial production, machinery, food and other goods.
Imports mainly came from neighbouring countries, including Thailand, China and Vietnam, in addition to the Republic of Korea, Germany and Japan.
The report said that based on the government’s five-year National Socio-economic Development Plan (2010-2015), exports should grow by an average of 18 percent per year and imports by 12 percent each year.
In January this year, the Mekong countries agreed to boost economic and tourism cooperation.
Authorities in Laos, China, Myanmar and Thailand also agreed to cooperate more in facilitating trade, investment and tourism, as well as human resource development.
Trade between Laos and Thailand has been established over time and is continuing to grow.
The latest plan issued by the two countries’ ministries is targeting bilateral trade value of 46.16 trillion kip (US$5.77 billion) by 2015.
Trade between Laos and Thailand rose to around 20 trillion kip (US$2.5 billion) in the first six months of last fiscal year (2013-14), according to a draft report on national social and economic development from the Ministry of Planning and Investment.
The trade value between Vietnam and Laos reached US$995 million in the first nine months of 2014, with bilateral trade expected to reach US$1. 4 billion for the entire year.
Total trade value between the two countries is expected to reach US$2 billion in 2015, according to a recent report in the Thoi Bao Kinh Te Vietnam (Vietnam Economic Times) newspaper.
Source: Vientiane Times