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Lao Gov’t Aims to Boost Locally Produced Goods and Minimize Imports

Source: Lao News Agency

The Lao government is keen to promote domestic production and reduce the import of products that can be produced domestically, especially agricultural produce, aiming to boost the economy and tackle inflation.

Laos recorded an inflation rate of 25.69 percent in September, a slight decrease from 25.88 percent in August, according to the Lao Statistics Bureau.

Depreciation of the Lao currency kip is one of the main factors driving inflation, as one-third of the goods as the basis for calculating price rises are imported.

Consumption of domestic products is still not strong, Nunta Sanouvong, deputy director of the Vientiane Industry and Commerce Department under the Lao Ministry of Industry and Commerce, said at a meeting held devoted to seeking solutions to economic and financial difficulties in the Southeast Asian country.

Local producers are facing various problems, resulting in an increase in the cost of production, and their products cannot compete with imported goods from neighboring countries whose prices are at the same or lower levels.

Local products are also affected by high prices, unattractive packaging, and the lack of market research, he added.

To promote the sales of domestic products and to guarantee their quality and quantity, Lao authorities will focus efforts partly on marketing promotion campaigns and monitoring imports.

The Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LNCCI) on Oct. 5 signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Petroleum Trading Lao Public Company (PetroTrade) for raising Lao products to international standards to boost domestic supply and export.

The partnership was considered part of the government’s efforts to make locally-made goods to be better accepted by Lao consumers and foreign markets.

“As we are aware, there are many different types of Lao products and some are unique to the province where they are made, but they need to be improved and much more widely advertised,” said Chanthachone Vongxay, vice president of the LNCCI, at the signing ceremony.

Greater domestic output will help reduce imports, create job opportunities, and strengthen social and economic development in the country, she added.

The LNCCI, under the guidance of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, organizes various activities to promote Lao products and popularize Lao brands in the region and beyond.

The Lao Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has advised to minimize importing certain vegetables and other agricultural produce, to help boost the cultivation of these crops in Laos and tackle inflation.

Meanwhile, the Lao government is encouraging farmers and producers to supply more goods to the domestic market and to produce more for export, as this will bring in much-needed foreign currency and help reduce high foreign exchange rates.