The value of Laos’ combined exports and imports in the first quarter of this year amounted to 1.53 per cent less than during the same period last year, excluding the value of electricity imports and exports.
Total trade value in the first three months of this year touched $2.317 billion, with imports valued at $1.229 billion while exports were worth $1.086 billion. This resulted in a trade deficit of $143 million, according to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.
The total value of trade in the first quarter of last year was $2.353 billion, of which the value of exports was $989 million, while imports reached $1.363 million. This led to a trade deficit of $374 million.
The figures show the trade deficit for the first quarter of the year was due to the large influx of imported materials for infrastructure and hydropower projects, as well as for domestic production.
The country’s main exports are copper ore, copper and copper products, wood pulp and other fibrous cellulosic material, cassava, beverages, amalgam gold and gold bars, clothing, bananas, electrical machinery and equipment, fruit, and nuts.
The main countries for exports were China, Thailand, Vietnam, India, Japan, Germany, the US, Sweden and Switzerland.
The main imports were fuel, vehicles other than tractors and motorcycles, iron, iron and steel products, mechanical appliances, insulated wire, cable, electrical machinery and equipment, plastics, bars and steel rods and formed structural steel sections, vehicle spare parts, and communication equipment.
The main countries supplying these goods were Thailand, China, Vietnam, Japan, Republic of Korea, Indonesia, Germany, India and the US.
The government will strive to achieve imports and exports worth $11.292 billion this year, including exports worth $5.516 billion and imports worth $5.775 billion.
The total value of imports and exports last year was $11.258 billion, an increase of 16 per cent compared to 2017.
The value of imports last year reached $5.410 billion, an increase of 21 per cent compared to 2017, and the value of exports amounted to $5.848 billion, an increase of 10.9 per cent.
Laos experienced a trade deficit because it imported more goods than it exported, especially construction materials, fuel and vehicles. This resulted in a trade deficit of $437 million last year.
In 2017, Laos enjoyed a trade surplus of $83.3 million after exports soared to $4.879 billion and imports were worth $4.796 billion. VIENTIANE TIMES/ANN