Laos Eyes USD 1.55 Billion Trade Surplus for 2022

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A mining operation in Laos (Investment Promotion Department)
A mining operation in Laos (Photo: Investlaos.gov.la)

The Lao government is hoping for a trade surplus of at least USD 1.55 billion in 2022, despite the economic challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to a recent report from the Prime Minister’s Office, exports are expected to reach 7.6 billion US dollars, while imports will total 6.05 billion US dollars, Vientiane Times reports.

To achieve this, the government has committed to increasing agricultural production and processing of items for export, particularly to China, whose markets can now be accessed more readily via the China-Laos railway.

Xinhua reports that the sectors involved have been tasked with assisting enterprises in obtaining financing, applying research and technology to production, and assisting manufacturers in sourcing appropriate markets.

The government has been attempting to build up foreign currency reserves by boosting exports and reducing its reliance on imports.

Laos reported a surprising USD 1 billion trade surplus in 2021, with exports valued at USD 7 billion and imports worth USD 6 billion.

Major exports included gold ore and gold bars, paper and paper products, wood pulp and waste paper, rubber, cassava, iron ore, bananas, garments, electrical appliances and equipment, fertilizers, camera parts, and footwear.

Meanwhile, the country’s┬áprimary imports include fuels, automobiles, mechanical equipment, spare parts, steel products, pharmaceuticals, plastic products, electrical appliances, food products, and photographic equipment.