Laos lowers target for trade value with South Korea

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - Laos has reduced its trade value target including for both imports and exports with South Korea this year compared to the figure for last year after a drop in the annual trade value by both countries.

Last year, the trade target for both sides was US$94.1 million, of which US$11.2 million was exports and US$82.9 million was imports. But the total achieved was only US$69.6 million, including US$4.5 million worth of exports and US$65.1 million in imports, according to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.

This year, Laos has set a target of US$85.9 million, of which US$4.9 million is exports and US$81 million is imports.

However, compared to the trade value between the two countries in 2017, this figure is higher.

According to statistics from the Korean Embassy, following the re-establishment of diplomatic relations in 1995, the two countries have continued to deepen their cooperation in a range of areas.

In the field of economics, Korea and Laos have witnessed a significant increase in bilateral trade.

Starting from just US$10 million in 1996, trade volume surged in subsequent years. In terms of foreign direct investment, Korea invested as much as US$751 million in total from 1989 to 2015.

Regarding people-to-people exchanges, in 2007 only 13,000 Korean nationals visited Laos. But thanks to the Lao government’s 15-day visa exemption introduced in 2008 and the launch of a direct flight in 2011, more and more Koreans have been visiting Laos, setting a new record each year (over 170,000 people in 2017).

However, the number of Koreans visiting Laos plummeted by 32 percent in the first three months of this year compared to the same period in 2018 according to the Tourism Development Department of the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism.

With regard to political cooperation, immediately after the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1995, the two countries opened embassies in Vientiane and Seoul, respectively, in 1996 and 2001.

Since 2004, all three of the previous South Korean presidents have visited Laos, which is a demonstration of the deep interest in further strengthening bilateral ties.

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