Country Listing

Laos Table of Contents


Foreign Trade

Foreign trade figures for Laos do not reflect the large volume of illegal trade in opium and other products, mostly with Thailand; some estimates put smuggling at half of all trade, legal and illegal. Although Laos continued to run a trade deficit throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, the volume of trade increased substantially during the latter half of that period, as a result of increased production of exportable goods, the shift in trade patterns from the Soviet bloc to the convertible currency bloc, especially Thailand, and the removal of many regulations on trade, as the government continues to implement the orders of the New Economic Mechanism. Despite these improvements, however, by 1990 exports still financed only about 40 percent of imports (see table 9, Appendix).

Data as of July 1994