Trade deficit hits US$137 million despite exports exceeding target

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - Laos recorded a trade deficit of US$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 US$5,516 million but achieved US$5,603 million, while imports were planned to reach US$5,775 million, with only US$5,740 million 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 United States, 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 United States.

Electricity continues to be Laos’ major revenue-generating export totalling more than US$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 US$13,037 million in 2020, with a deficit of US$193 million.

Exports this year are expected to reach US$6,422 million and imports US$6,615 million, according to a report by the planning and investment sector, which held a meeting in Vientiane on Monday.