Laos plans to regulate imports of consumer goods, in a move to promote domestic production while curbing rising exchange rates.
Lao products are struggling to compete in terms of price and production amid increasing goods imported from neighboring countries, both legally and illegally, Vientiane Times reported.
The trend is also driving up the exchange rate of foreign currencies against the Lao kip, especially Thai baht, said Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce, Mr. Somchith Inthamith.
To tackle the issue, the Lao government has set up a task force led by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Mr. Somdy Duangdy.
The task force will work with Vientiane authorities to strictly inspect imported products according to Lao regulations, using technology and license certification when checking at border crossings.
This is because trucks that bring in consumer goods from Thailand to Laos do not always have import licenses, according to Mr. Somchith.
He stressed that the government’s move is not designed to ban imports altogether but is aimed at determining what kind of products should be limited and those whose import is essential.
When it comes to promoting domestic production, the task force will focus on the organic and clean agriculture sector, which has little competition.
In addition, the government will use funding intended to support food security and commercial production, as well as push for collaborative projects both in Laos and overseas.
The government plans to launch the initiative in Vientiane first and will introduce it in other areas if it is successful.