Laos’ exports to the US have grown almost ten-folds since the US Congress approved normal trade relations or NTR with Laos in 2004, according to a report by the Progressive Policy Institute or PPI and the US Census Bureau’s foreign trade statistics. Export values increased from $3 million a year in 2004 to almost $3 million a month for the first half of 2007. The likely $25 to $30 million-total trade for the year should bring Laos close to other small, landlocked countries such as Armenia, Mongolia, Nepal, Paraguay as an American trade partner.
Laos’ exports to the US in the first 6 months of 2007 included 4,883 tons of Paksong coffee, more than 500 pounds of green tea, 140 high-quality silk handbags, 1000 square meters of silk hangings, half a million T-shirts, 320,000 sets of underwears and more than 2400 gallons of Beer Lao.
The total value has increased from $3 millions in 2004, to more than $8 millions in 2006 and $13 millions in the first 6 months of 2007.
Laos imports from the US have also risen since the granting of the NTR status. The largest customers so far have been charity organizations such as PSI International and the Vientiane-based UN’s AIDS office, who have been helping the Lao government’s efforts in its campaign to curb the spread of HIV/AIDS.
Laos’ three biggest trade partners, however, are its neighbors - Thailand, Vietnam and China respectively.
Listen to our report for details in Lao.