Laos Investment: 3 Big Reasons Why Foreign Investment In Laos Is Taking Off

Interested in the state of play in foreign investment in Laos? Well, I am pleased to say that I visited the country last month, and was taken back by its beauty and the kindness of its people. Never before have I been to such an “untapped” country with so much potential. Read on to find out why now is the time to invest in Laos:

Laos investment 1 – The Laotian government is now stable and is welcoming foreign investment.

One of the top priorities for the government of Laos now is to attract foreign investment. Recently, the government passed a new bill, which levels the playing field for all investors, be they local or foreign. This means that foreigners now have equal access to land, whilst content-related investment requirements are no more, and also it means that a number of tax incentives have been put in place for foreigners. The country suffers from an inadequate infrastructure, and there are ongoing issues concerning transparency in the government. Despite this, with this new bill, investors have been reassured that the government genuinely wants foreign investment, and that the communist ideologies of the political system are a thing of the past. The country is now, in fact, working towards accession into the World Trade Organization, and is well and truly open for business.

Laos investment 2 – There is an embarrassing abundance of opportunities in Laos at the moment, most notably in mining, tourism and hydropower.

Laos is extremely rich in mineral deposits. It has a large number of discovered but not yet exploited gold, silver zinc and sapphire deposits. Only about 30 percent of the country has been explored, and with 170 projects currently being implemented around the country, another 650 metal ore locations have been identified.

Laos has extensive water resources, and it has been termed as the future “battery” of the populous Thailand-Vietnam region. Investment is projected to top $5.2 billion in the next 5 years.

Laos has extensive wild and untouched landscapes, numerous ethnic communities and two UNESCO world heritage sites. The government is now implementing a policy of sustainable tourism, and the year on year rise of tourists continues to grow fast. In 2008 it was named as the number one vacation destination by the NY Times. This is country that already has the tourists, but is very far from realizing the financial potential that they bring. Eco-tourism ventures have boomed in Thailand and Vietnam in recent years, and are now set to do so in Laos.

Laos investment 3 – Laos is connected to the fastest growing Asian markets by land.

Laos is part of the GMS – including China, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar (not including China, this represents a fast growing market of over 200 million people right on Laos’ doorstep). The GMS brings investors the benefit of the cross border transport facilitation program. This has made it significantly faster and easier to export and import goods through these borders, with a single-stop customs inspection and common transit traffic regimes.

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