Chinese buyers are paying less for Lao agricultural products amid sluggish trading activities in the wake of the new coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
Border trading in January and February between Laos and China, especially Oudomxay and Luang Namtha with provinces bordering China, was “quieter” as a result of Beijing’s decision to ban its people from traveling outside the country, Vientiane Times reported.
Since many markets in such areas were closed during this period, all dry season agricultural products exported from Laos to China had to be stored in a warehouse at the border awaiting Chinese buyers.
Chinese markets have now reopened and are back to normal, but buyers are paying less for Lao products, although trade in other products between Laos and China continues to flow as normal, according to the paper.
Bilateral trade value between Laos and China continues to increase every year, and China has become the second-largest trading partner and the biggest foreign investor in Laos.
The value of bilateral trade rose from USD 1.9 billion in 2016 to USD 3.22 billion in 2019.
Vientiane Times cited the increasing number of Chinese investors in Laos and cooperation projects by both governments as a major reason for increased trade in recent years.