May 30, 2018

Korean companies expect to double investment in Laos this year

By:  Ounkham Pimmata, Vientiane Times, April 20, 2018

VIENTIANE - The Republic of Korea’s investment in Laos is expected to double in 2018 with more companies registering to do business through the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) Vientiane.

Deputy Director of KOTRA Vientiane, Ms Kim Goeun, said on Friday during the 2018 Korea Trade Mission at the Lao Plaza Hotel that more than 100 firms want to do business here this year compared to 60 last year.

KOTRA was established in Laos in 2011 and serves to assist bilateral trade and investment between Laos and the Republic of Korea.

Ms Goeun said the first Korea Trade Mission saw 10 companies specialising in consumer products, medical equipment and cosmetics taking part in search of Lao business partners.

Korean firms’ interest in the Lao market is based on sustained economic growth and consumers’ increasing interest in Korean products.

Ms Goeun added that KOTRA would arrange more meetings this year to open up opportunities for Korean businesspeople seeking Lao partners.

The promotions were aimed at introducing Korean products to Lao businesspeople who wanted to be distributors as well as possibly expanding the market to supply the demands of both local and Korean customers in Laos.

According to KOTRA Vientiane, last year more than 100 Korean companies expressed interest in overseas expansion but only 30 companies invested in Laos as Korea’s economy recorded somewhat sluggish growth alongside concerns over Laos’ small market.

Korea’s economy has recently experienced better economic growth, which would spur Korean investment in Laos this year.

According to the Korean Economic Statistic System, Korean exports to Laos in 2015 were valued at US$170 million, an increase of 9.2 percent compared to 2014.

The main exports included passenger vehicles, freight vehicles, engines, automobile parts, and construction equipment.

Lao exports to Korea in 2015 were valued at US$22.9 million, an increase of 52.5 percent compared to 2014.

The main exports included potassium fertiliser, wood, coffee, lead bullion and scrap, fabric, and vegetable ingredients for traditional medicine.

The Republic of Korea is the sixth largest investor in Laos with 257 projects that have a combined investment value of US$800 million. The trade volume between the two countries reached US$199 million last year, according to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.

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