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Laos Market Profile

Why Laos?

Laos has abundant mineral wealth, much of which remains unexploited although many foreign firms are active. The power sector, especially hydropower and coal, is open to foreign investment, with many international firms represented. Agribusiness has also attracted foreign investment.

The Lao economy remains dominated by Thailand, Vietnam, and China, with heavy participation in certain sectors by Korea, France, Japan, India, Malaysia, Singapore and Australia. American companies play almost no role in Laos.

Trade Agreements

Laos became a member of ASEAN in 1997 and has committed to bringing its tariff rates into line with its AFTA commitments. Laos is currently in negotiations to join the World Trade Organization. The following countries have granted Generalized System of Preference (GSP) status to Laos: Japan (for all products); Australia (no import tax); European Union; South Korea; Norway and Switzerland. Laos has also signed trade agreements with 18 countries, including: Vietnam; China; Cambodia; Burma; Thailand; North Korea; Philippines; Mongolia; Indonesia; Malaysia; Bulgaria; Russia; India; Belarus; Argentina; the United States; Kuwait and Turkey

Market Opportunity

The power sector, especially hydropower and coal, is open to foreign investment, with many international firms represented.

Laos has abundant mineral wealth, much of which remains unexploited although many foreign firms are active.

Agribusiness, including plantation agriculture (rubber/coffee/timber/corn), has attracted foreign investment.

The Lao government has targeted tourism, especially ecotourism, as a major area of future growth. Laos was rated the #1 “Place to go” by the New York Times in 2008.

Laos at a Glance

  • Location: Southeast Asia
  • Land Boundaries: Thailand, Vietnam, Burma, China and Cambodia
  • Area Total: 236,800 sq. km. (91,430 sq. mi.); slightly larger than Utah
  • Climate: Tropical monsoon; rainy season (May to November); dry season (November to April).
  • Population:  6.288 million(2011 census)
  • GDP Real Growth Rate: 8.0 percent (2011 census)
  • GDP value: US$8.298 billion (2011 census)
  • GNI – per capita (PPP):  US$1,130 (2011)
  • Inflation: 4.3 percent (2011 census)
  • By2010, GDP by sectors: natural resources 16 percent, services 40 percent, agriculture 30 percent and manufacturing 14 percent.

Country Commercial Guide

For more details on Doing Business in Laos, read the Laos Country Commercial Guide, select the link below:

Upcoming Events

For events information, visit www.export.gov/tradeevent.html

Contact Us

Matthew Younger
Economic and Commercial Officer
Unit 8165, BOX V APO AP 96546
Tel: (856-21) 267156
Fax: (856-21) 267120 or 267190
E-mail: youngermb@state.gov

Sivanphone Thoummabout,
Econ/Commercial Assistant
U.S. Embassy, Vientiane.
Unit 8165, BOX V APO AP 96546
Tel: (856-21) 267000 ext 7198;
Fax: (856-21) 267190 OR 267120
Email: sivanphonetx@state.gov

Michael McGee
Commercial Counselor
U.S. Commercial Service,
U.S. Embassy, Bangkok
GPF Witthayu Tower A, Suite 302,
93/1 Wireless Road Bangkok 10330
Tel: [662]-205-5280
Fax: [662]-255-2915
E-mail: Michael.McGee@trade.gov
Website: www.export.gov/thailand/home

For more information on Intellectual Property Rights Protection in Lao P.D.R, contact:

Peter N. Fowler
Regional IP Attaché
U.S. Patent and Trademark office
U.S. Embassy, Bangkok
GPF Witthayu Tower A, Suite 302,
93/1 Wireless Road Bangkok 10330
Tel: [662]-205-5913
Fax: [662]-255-2915
Email: Peter.Fowler@trade.gov

Useful Links

American Chamber of Commerce, Thailand

Lao National Chamber of Commerce


Market Overview
Guide to doing business
Local Service Provider
Laos Map