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Laos

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Background

The government of Laos, one of the few remaining one-party Communist states, began decentralizing control and encouraging private enterprise in 1986. The results, starting from an extremely low base, were striking - growth averaged 6% per year from 1988-2008 except during the short-lived drop caused by the Asian financial crisis that began in 1997. Despite this high growth rate, Laos remains a country with an underdeveloped infrastructure, particularly in rural areas. It has a rudimentary, but improving, road system, and limited external and internal telecommunications. Electricity is available in urban areas and in many rural districts. Subsistence agriculture, dominated by rice cultivation in lowland areas, accounts for about 30% of GDP and 75% of total employment.

The government in FY09/10 received $586 million from international donors. Economic growth has reduced official poverty rates from 46% in 1992 to 26% in 2010. The economy has benefited from high foreign investment in hydropower, mining, and construction. Laos gained Normal Trade Relations status with the US in 2004, and is taking steps required to join the World Trade Organization, such as reforming import licensing. Related trade policy reforms will improve the business environment. On the fiscal side, Laos initiated a VAT tax system in 2010. Simplified investment procedures and expanded bank credits for small farmers and small entrepreneurs will improve Lao's economic prospects. The World Bank has declared that Laos's goal of graduating from the UN Development Program's list of least-developed countries by 2020 is achievable. According Laotian officials, the 7th Socio-Economic Development Plan for 2011-15 will outline efforts to achieve Millennium Development Goals.

Holidays

Jan 1 - New Year's Day
Jan 6 - Pathet Lao Day
Jan 20 - Army Day
Feb 1* - Chinese New Year
Mar 8 - International Women's Day
Mar 22 - Day of the People's Party
Apr 13-15 - Laotian New Year (Boun Pi Mai)
Apr 21* - Birth of Buddha
May 1 - Labour Day
Jun 1 - Children's Day
Jun 21* - Khao Pansa (Buddhist Fast begins)
Aug 13 - Lao Issara (Day of the Free Laos)
Sep 23* - Bouk ok Pansa (Buddhist Fast ends)
Oct 12 - Day of Liberation from the French
Dec 2 - National(Independence) Day

Ps: These religious festivals' date(*)given above are approximations which are subject to change every new year.

Phone Codes

Country Code: 856
Outgoing International Code: 00

Resources

Market Research

CIA - The World Factbook - Laos
This website indicates a wide range of detail information about Laos by introducing under 8 different fields as its geography, people, government, economy, communications, transportation, military, transnational issues.

About Laos
There is available to find out Laos general outlook on the issues of its social and business profile, passport/visa, money, accommodation, government, duty free, health and so forth.

Laos business
A guide to doing business in Laos with detailed information about import-export procedures, and many other useful links.

Laos Commercial Guide
Guide to economic trends, political environment, trade regulations, investment climate in Laos

Laos Business FAQs
Basic investment and export rules for doing business in Laos such as import restrictions, import duties, trade policy, exchange control, incentives for foreign investment and regulatory agency.

Visit Laos
Official website for tourism in Laos provides information on a short introduction to Lao history, geography and climate, transportation, hotels, travel agents, tourism spots, food, drinks and entertainment.

 
 
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