Laos Briefing

Discover our latest insights into Laos including business news, regulatory updates and extensive data on Laos free trade, double tax agreements and foreign direct investment laws.

Officially known as the Lao People's Democratic Republic, Laos is a landlocked country in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by Myanmar and China to the northwest, Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the south, and Thailand to the west. Laos became a member of ASEAN in 1997.

The government of Laos, a one-party communist state, began decentralizing control and encouraging private enterprise in 1986. This has leead to an annual growth of 6 percent per year from 1988-2008, exceeding 7% per year during 2008-11. However, Laos remains a country with an underdeveloped infrastructure.

Subsistence agriculture, dominated by rice cultivation in lowland areas, accounts for about 30 percent of GDP and 75 percent of total employment. Laos' economic growth has reduced poverty rates from a high of 46% in 1992 to 26% in 2010. The economy has recently benefited from high foreign investment in hydropower, mining, and construction.

Laos' imports include machinery and equipment, vehicles, fuel and consumer goods. It's exports include wood products, coffee, electricity, tin, copper and gold.

Major import partners of Laos include Thailand (65.2 percent), China (11.1 percent) and Vietnam (6.5 percent). Major export partners include Thailand (33 percent), China (23.4 percent) and Vietnam (13.4 percent).

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