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Laos Economy

13/04/2019 598 Views
Punctuality is appreciated. Lightweight suits, shirt and tie should be worn. English is not spoken by all officials and knowledge of French is useful. Business cards should have a Laotian translation on the reverse. Best time to visit is during the dry season, from November to April.
Office hours: 
Mon-Fri 0800-1200 and 1300/1400-1600.

Economy: 
Laos is one of the world's poorest countries, and its predominantly agricultural economy is largely at a level of subsistence. The main crops are rice, pulses, fruits, sugar cane, tobacco and coffee. Laotian coffee is highly rated among connoisseurs and is now the country's single largest export commodity. 
Considerable reserves of tin, lead, zinc, iron ore, coal and timber are largely untapped. Industry is mostly concerned with textiles, basic consumer goods and processing raw materials. The tourism industry has developed since the late 1990s. It is now Laos' single largest source of income but development is hampered by chronic shortages of skilled labour and foreign exchange. 
Economic reforms began in the early 1990s but, compounded by the regional financial crisis, the economy was in serious difficulties by the beginning of 1999 with the Lao Kip sinking against the US Dollar, which it has continued to do. Since then, something of a recovery has taken place: in 2011 the economy was growing at around 8.3% annually while inflation had been cut to 7.8%. The economy relies heavily on foreign aid. Laos is currently working towards joining the World Trade Organisation.
GDP: US$7.9 billion (2011). 
Main exports: Clothing, timber products, copper, electricity and coffee.
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