Trade Dividend Elusive In Laos

The inclusive growth that policymakers in Laos are striving for is not likely to happen in the early stages of trade liberalisation because income distribution remains so unequal between urban and rural areas, says an academic.
The country is expected to take at least a decade to experience concrete benefits from trade liberalisation and World Trade Organization (WTO) membership as it gradually becomes more attractive for foreign direct investment (FDI).
So far, trade liberalisation appeared to be having more negative than positive impacts. Urban areas, notably the capital Vientiane, are benefiting the most, while the majority pursuing agricultural livelihoods in the rural hinterland face potential threats.
Laos became ……

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