Laos recorded a trade deficit of $137 million last year even though the value of exports exceeded the yearly plan, according to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.
Exports were targeted to hit $5.516 billion but achieved $5.603 billion, while imports were planned to reach $5.775 billion, with only $5.740 billion recorded.
The country’s leading exports include electricity, copper ore, copper and accessories made of copper, wood pulp, camera parts, beverages, rubber, livestock, cassava, mixed gold and gold bars, clothing, bananas, electrical machinery and equipment, fruit and nuts.
The main destinations for exports are Thailand, China, Vietnam, India, Japan, Germany, the US, Sweden, Switzerland, Italy, Belgium and the UK.
The chief imports are fuel, vehicles other than tractors and motorcycles, iron and steel products, mechanical appliances, insulated wire, cable, electrical machinery and equipment, plastics, bars and steel rods and formed structural steel sections, vehicle parts, and communications equipment.
The main countries supplying these goods are Thailand, China, Vietnam, Japan, South Korea and the US.
Electricity continues to be Laos’ major revenue-generating export totalling more than $1 billion.
Laos currently exports electricity to Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, with Thailand being the largest importer of energy.
The government has set a combined trade target of $13.037 billion this year, with a deficit of $193 million.
Exports this year are expected to reach $6.422 billion and imports $6.615 billion, according to a report by the planning and investment sector, which held a meeting in Vientiane on Monday.
VIENTIANE TIMES/ASIA NEWS NETWORK