Trade in Lao goods set to rise
VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - The government expects some 57.4 trillion kip in goods trade this year after analysing the potentials for domestic production.
The value of Lao goods traded including wholesale and retail sales as well as service costs last year reached almost 51.7 trillion kip, an increase of 15.10 per cent on 2016 and one per cent above expectations outlined in the annual plan according to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.
Major product categories included fabric, clothes, bags, shoes, sportswear, fisheries equipment, construction materials, foodstuffs and beverage products, Minister of Industry and Commerce, Ms Khemmani Pholsena told an annual meeting of the sector in Vientiane recently.
The value of goods traffic increased demonstrated expansion or development of domestic trade services especially increases of vendors, products and shops, Domestic Trade Department Director General, Mr Bounthien Keosipha told Vientiane Times yesterday.
Increases in the value of goods traded also reveal increased purchasing power and issues surrounding demand and supply of goods in domestic markets, he said.
Foodstuffs in Laos were quite expensive compared to some neighbouring countries as domestic production remains relatively small.
A greater outlay is required for inputs with most imported, and the cost of financing capital is also high.
Other factors included a lack of advanced farming methods and equipment and the cost of labour being relatively high.
Such developments are not related to inflation issues and not impacting on livelihoods, Mr Bounthien commended.
In order to achieve development targets, the government will focus on enlarging new markets in remote areas and develop an efficient transport system to bolster trade, production, investment, tourism and services, to make transport safer, more convenient and modern and solidifying links to neighbouring countries.
The government also plans for the nation to welcome some five million foreign tourist arrivals this year, generating total revenue of about US$900 million to the country.
The government will focus on potential goods development and brand product promotion under the One District, One Product (ODOP) policy.
ODOP promotes handicraft potentials for such goods as cotton, fabric, handmade and carved items for supplying to the tourist and export markets, adds value and provides assurance of product safety and cleanliness.
The government will continue to formulate the preservation and tourism development strategic plan and related efforts to improve the quality of guesthouses, hotels and restaurants.
The government will also strive to upgrade the service sector to ensure the continuous, stable and balanced growth of the economy after falling short of the target set last year for the service sector.