Korean Wave in Laos: Trade and Investment
SME Development Specialist
Mekong Institute, Khon Kaen, Thailand
LAOS, the Land of Ample Opportunities and Success, is abundant in natural resources, including coal, hardwood timber, hydropower, gypsum, tin, gold and gemstones. It is the fifth lowest labour cost country in Asia with a daily minimum wage of 3USD$. These all play significant roles in inducing foreign investment into the country. This study uses information drawn from secondary sources aiming to review the situation and prospects for Korean trade and investment in Laos, and cooperation areas for trade and investment promotion between the two countries. Korea ranked fourth most important investment partner for Laos in 2010 after Thailand, Vietnam and China (The Ministry of Planning and Investment of Laos, 2010). From 1989-2012, Korea’s FDI inflow to Laos included 287 projects with a value of US$748 million. The Government of Laos (GoL) sees that the prosperity and welfare of Lao people can be enhanced through prosper trade facilitation and promotion policies to attract foreign businesses to boost the domestic market and increase exports. Korea has been targeted as a source of investments in Laos. The GoL has made efforts to enhance bilateral economic ties with Korea and extend larger cooperation with Korean institutions to increase Korean investment in the country. By July 2012, more than 18 Korean firms have opened in the capital Vientiane capital to seek business opportunities and expand their business operations. The Korean automobile industry is one of the success stories and it has 37% of the market share in Laos. Laos seeks the support of advanced technology and wishes to learn more the experience of Korea’s development to maximize an exploitation of resources and jointly conduct various trade promotion activities and industrial cooperation projects for sustainable economic growth.
This is the abstract for another of the papers to be delivered at the forthcoming International Workshop on Korean Trade and Investment in the Mekong Region to be held at SIU on November 1st and 2nd, 2013.