Thursday, September 25, 2014

A Brief Look at Lao-German Relations - Lao Deutsch Beziehungen Lao-German Relations image
When I travel I often make mental notes of the people I meet, including other travelers.  Sometimes it's quite subconscious until I actually sit down to think or write about.  Ten years ago when I visited Laos, many visitors I ran into were from Australia, England, and America.  Now, many are German and French.

For me the stand out point during my December 2013 visit to Laos were the number of Germans I kept running into or overhearing as we passed each other.  So it got me thinking about Laos' relationship with Germany and how it's changed and grown over time. 

Here are some interesting facts:

  • When did bilateral relations began?  1958
  • How much trade between the 2 countries? Depending on which source you look up there seems to be varying amounts.  In this case, the follow figures have been taken directly from the source as noted below.  Germany imported 72,645,000 euros worth of goods from Laos (2013) and exported 35,691,000 euros (2013).
    * Source: German Federal Statistics Office
  • Laos' trade cost with Germany are one of the lowest.  By comparison, it costs 10% more for Laos to trade with America (2012)
    *  Source:  Ministry of Industry and Commerce

  • How much development aid does Germany give to Laos?  29.4M euros (2013)
    * Source:  German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development
  • Are there German NGOs operating in Laos?  Examples?  Yes.
  • Do Germans need a Lao visa to enter?  Cost?  Yes.  It costs 40 euros.
    *  Source:  Lao Embassy in Berlin
  • How many Germans visited Laos?  29,250 (2013).  A 25% increase from the previous year. 
    * Source:  Lao Tourism Authority's 2013 Report
  • How does this compare to other European tourists?  Germany ranks #3 for most European tourists to Laos.  It's preceded by France 52,411 and the UK 41,741.
    * Source:  Lao Tourism Authority's 2013 Report
  • Does Laos have an embassy in Germany?  Address?  Yes and it's located at:
    Botschaft der Demokratischen Volksrepublik Laos in Berlin
    Bismarckallee 2A
    14193 Berlin
    Phone: +49 (030) 890 606 47
    Fax: +49 (030) 890 606 48
  • Does Germany have an embassy in Laos?  Address?  Yes and it's located at:
    Deutsche Botschaft Vientiane
    Sokpalouang 26
    P.O. Box 314
    Vientiane, Laos
    Phone: +856 21 312110
    Fax: +856 21 351152
  • When were the most recent high level visits?
    In 2012, H.E. Mr. Dirk Niebel, German Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, visited Laos and met with H.E. Dr. Thongloun Sisoulith, Lao Foreign Minister.
  • Recent political sticking points?
    Germany, like the rest of the EU, posed many questions and attempted to apply some pressure to the Lao government to provide answers and concrete actions in the search for the widely popular and beloved missing Lao civil activist Sombath Somphone (who is still unaccounted for).

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