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Trade Deficit Spikes In March

Source: Vientiane Times

Laos recorded a trade deficit of US$118 million in March, which was higher than the figures for January and February.

In January, the country recorded a trade deficit of US$70 million and the figure dropped to US$13 million in February, according to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.

The imports and exports of Laos in March totalled US$ 804 million, including exports worth US$ 343 million and imports worth approximately US$ 461 million.

The figures for March do not include earnings from the export of electricity and will be updated when they are available.

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The country’s main exports included copper ore and products, bananas, wood pulp and paper, beverages (water, juices and energy drinks), cassava, clothing, sugar, fruits (watermelons, tamarind and mangoes) and cows and buffaloes.

The five main countries to which Laos exported goods are Thailand, China, Vietnam, Japan and Germany.

The main imports included land vehicles (excluding motorcycles and tractors), diesel, mechanical equipment (excluding motor vehicles), steel and steel products, beverages (water, condensed water and energised drinks), spare parts, gasoline and special gasoline, electricity, plastic products and livestock .

The five main countries from which Laos imported goods were Thailand, China, Vietnam, Japan and Korea.

Total trade in January was worth US$ 890 million, with exports valued at US$ 410 million and imports at US$ 480 million, while exports during February totalled US$391 million and imports US$378 million.

A large numbers of importers and exporters have been hit by the Covid-19 crisis, due to which the government suspended activities at all traditional and local border checkpoints across the country.

The transportation of goods through international checkpoints is continuing after the governments of Laos and neighbouring countries temporarily closed them to travellers to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

To help domestic and foreign entrepreneurs in Laos, the relevant sectors, especially the Department of Import and Export of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, recently proposed the government should consider allowing trade in essential goods by issuing a special policy for trade facilitation.

As the transportation of goods currently requires more time and expenses, developers and investors with projects located close to local and traditional border checkpoints have called on authorities to resolve this issue.

However, relevant authorities should strictly follow the directives of the National Taskforce Committee for Covid-19 Prevention and Control to prevent the spread of the virus, officials said.