Foreign firms eye bigger markets in Laos

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) – Companies from Asia, ASEAN states and Europe are eyeing markets for their products in Laos, which is witnessing strong demand.

Despite being a small market in the ASEAN region with a population of 6.8 million, Laos is an attractive destination for manufacturers from China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Germany and Italy. They are all looking for business opportunities in the country.

The steady growth of the Lao economy is a key factor for industries from these countries considering the expansion of exports to the country.

Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith said during the recent National Assembly meeting that economic growth in Laos has been good when compared to some other countries, although it was slower than in previous years.

Over the past four months, regional growth fell marginally from 5.9 per cent in 2018 to 5.7 in 2019. Growth in developing nations is expected to decrease from 6.4 per cent in 2018 to 6.2 per cent in 2019.

According to a recent update from the World Bank for East Asia and the Pacific, Laos’ Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is projected to grow by 6.6 per cent in 2019 and 6.7 per cent in 2020.

The key factor for the fast-track growth of the Lao economy is large infrastructure projects.

Growth in developing countries of East Asia and the Pacific is projected to soften to 6.0 per cent in 2019 and 2020, down from 6.3 per cent in 2018, largely reflecting global headwinds and a continued gradual policy-guided slowdown in China.