Laos registered a record low trade deficit of $24 million last month, breaking previous records of the year, with the two-way trade value slightly rising to $880 million.
The $880 million trade figure excludes earnings from the export of electricity. In July, the total two-way trade value was recorded at $847 million, with a trade deficit of $99 million.
However, the value of exports last month was recorded at $428 million and imports at $452 million, according to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce’s monthly update on the Lao Trade Portal.
The main products exported in August were copper and products made of copper, bananas, mixed gold (gold bars), clothes, coffee beans, sugar, rubber, and fruit (watermelons, passion fruit and tamarind).
Meanwhile, the main imported products were vehicles (other than motorcycles and tractors), electrical devices and equipment, premium grade and regular fuel, diesel (for uses other than motor vehicles), steel, steel products, plastic products, chemical equipment and food factory waste.
Among Laos’ five top trade partners, China leads the export market, followed by Vietnam, Thailand, Germany and the US.
At the same time, Laos imported goods from Thailand worth a record $249 million, a total of $100 million from China, $46 million worth of goods from Vietnam, about $5 million from Japan, and goods worth $22 million from the US last month.
Laos anticipates closer links with neighbouring countries in ASEAN, China and European countries, and hopes that the opening of the Laos-China railway will bring a wide range of trade and investment opportunities in the years to come.
The government is also working with the private sector to improve the business environment to attract more foreign trading partners and investors through the removal of unnecessary barriers and the provision of incentives, policies and proper regulations.
Meanwhile, Laos recorded a trade surplus of $635 million with China during the first eight months of this year despite bilateral trade being affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Imports from January to August were worth $873 million, while exports reached $1.508 billion, according to the ministry. These figures did not include earnings from the export of electricity.
The main exports from Laos to China were copper ore and agricultural products, especially rice, banana, rubber, sweetcorn, cassava and livestock, while imports included steel, steel products, magnetic steel, mechanical equipment (other than motor vehicles), electrical parts and equipment.
China remains the largest foreign investor in Laos, and is also the country’s second-largest trading partner. The East Asian country remained the top export destination for Laos, followed by Vietnam and Thailand.
The main countries for imports were Thailand, China, and Vietnam. Laos recorded a trade surplus of $339 million with China last year, with exports valued at $1.467 billion and imports worth $1.128 billion.
These figures show that the bilateral trade between Laos and China has further increased.
VIENTIANE TIMES/ASIA NEWS NETWORK