VIENTIANE: The Ministry of Industry and Commerce has reported that the value of imports and exports climbed to more than 35.3 trillion kip (US$4.52 billion) in the first six months of this year, 5.36 per cent more than in the same period last year when the figure was about US$4.29 billion.
The ministry's Import and Export Department reported this week that the US$4.52 billion figure included exports worth over US$1.53 billion a 4.14 per cent increase over the same period last year.
The export value rose due to larger exports of minerals, electricity and wooden products. Thailand was Laos' main export market followed by China, Vietnam, Japan and India.
The report noted that exports to Thailand were worth about US$619.29 million and accounted for 40.95 per cent of total exports, while goods worth about US$416.28 million were exported to China, accounting for 27.53 per cent of the total.
Exports to Vietnam were worth over US$261.18 million and accounted for 17.27 per cent, while goods worth US$60.6 million were exported to Japan, comprising 4.01 per cent. Exports to India were valued at US$40.3 million and accounted for 2.66 per cent of total exports.
Mineral exports comprised 47.86 per cent of the total and rose 8.15 per cent over last year, while electricity exports rose by 3.36 per cent and accounted for 16.41 per cent of the total.
Other industrial products, including garments, accounted for 7.17 per cent, with wooden products taking a 23.26 per cent share, while agricultural exports represented only 5.3 per cent.
In the imports category, the total value exceeded US$2.98 billion in the first six months, about six per cent higher than the same period last year, the report noted.
The value of imports surged due to economic growth, which drove up the need for imports across all sectors.
Goods imported consisted mainly of fuel, vehicles, construction equipment, raw materials for industrial production, food, and other supplies.
Imports of fuel and gas accounted for 19.74 per cent of the total, and increased by 1.66 per cent on last year, while imports of vehicles and spare parts accounted for 18.7 per cent and increased by 15.35 per cent.
Materials imported for industrial use accounted for 14.82 per cent, with construction equipment representing 13.91 per cent, food 6.43 per cent, and electronic goods 5.39 per cent of total imports.
Imports mainly came from neighbouring countries, including Thailand, China and Vietnam, in addition to the Republic of Korea and Japan.
The value of imports from Thailand climbed to over US$1.92 billion and accounted for 67.22 per cent of the total. Imports from China were worth US$534.34 million and accounted for 18.67 per cent, while goods imported from Vietnam were worth US$243.09 million and accounted for 8.49 per cent of the total.
Imports from the Republic of Korea and Japan were valued at US$96.09 million and US$64.66 million respectively, accounting for 3.36 per cent and 2.26 per cent of the total.
The report said that based on the government's five-year national socio-economic development plan (2010 to 2015), exports should grow by an average of 18 per cent per year and imports by 12 per cent each year.
– By arrangement with the ANN/Vientiane Times –