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Laos Records Trade Deficit Of US$336 Million

Source: Vientiane Times

Despite racking up a trade deficit of US$336 million in the first 11 eleven months of 2021, the government is hopeful that its planned trade targets will be reached by the end of year.

The value of exports was recorded at US$4.9 billion (excluding electricity), while goods worth US$5.24 billion were imported, according to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.

The main products exported were copper and products made of copper, bananas, mixed gold (gold bars), clothes, cassava, coffee beans, sugar, rice, rubber and fruit (watermelons, passion fruit and tamarind), livestock and processed wood. Meanwhile, the main imported products were vehicles (other than motorcycles and tractors), electrical devices and equipment, premium grade and regular fuel, diesel (for uses other than in motor vehicles), steel products, plastic products, chemical equipment and food factory waste.

Laos’ main markets continue to be Thailand, China and Vietnam, with China leading the export market.

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From January to November this year, Laos exported goods worth US$2 billion to Thailand, including earnings from the sale of electricity, while goods worth US$2.54 billion were imported.

In addition, US$2 billion worth of goods were sold to China and US$1.17 billion worth of goods were imported, while goods worth US$1 billion were sold to Vietnam and US$463 million worth of goods were imported.

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the government is making efforts to bolster trade, especially through better transport links.

The government is hopeful that it will achieve the targeted value of exports and imports this year because of the way in which it has closely followed policies and measures to facilitate trade and services during the pandemic.

There is every indication that trade with China will increase now that the Laos-China railway is operational, while the rail link will also serve to bring in more tourists and investment from China.

Last year, Laos’ total trade value reached US$11.2 billion, with a trade deficit of US$1 billion, but this year it is hoped the figure will be US$12,967 million, including earnings from the export of electricity.

The government is working with the private sector to improve the business environment to attract more foreign trading partners and investors through the removal of unnecessary obstacles and the provision of incentives, policies and proper regulations.