Lao People's Democratic Republic is well known as Laos. This is a small landlocked country in the heart of the Indochinese peninsula of Mainland Southeast Asia. The Historic and cultural identity of the country began many centuries ago. Laos was known as Lan Xang Hom Khao (Kingdom of a Million Elephants Under the White Parasol), which existed for four centuries as one of the largest kingdoms in Southeast Asia. Due to its extraordinary geographic location, the country became one of the trade centers, becoming wealthy economically as well as culturally.
After the teritory was broken into ceveral kingdoms in 1893, the country gained its independence with the possibility to establish its proper international trade connections and economical system.
The economy of the country is dominated by an productive agricultural sector operating largely outside the ountry, motivatng local manufacturers and sellers. Agricultural products, exported abroad, include sweet potatoes, vegetables, corn, coffee and tea, sugarcane, tobacco and tobacco substitutes, cotton, peanuts, rice, water buffalo, pigs, cattle, poultry.
Regarding the industry sector, this includes primarily gypsum mining, tin, electric power, timber, processing of agricultural products, garments, and construction. In such a way, the country exports on the international market refined copper, copper ore, broadcasting accessories, various types of construction materials and engineering, using the 1992 revision of the HS (Harmonized System) classification.
Laos main export partners are China, Thailand, Vietnam, Japan and Germany.
Laos is considered to be the developing country. The main aim of the local government is to build up some strong trade relationships with developed countries and gain an important place on the international market.
Currently, the infrastructure in Laos is lacking and the country does not posses essential construction materials and machinery forces for building roads and bridges of international value. In such a way, the country imports low-voltage protection equipment, delivery trucks, cars, buses and integrated circuits. In order to construct bridges, the country imports iron and seal. In addition to this, Laos imports oil, telecommunication equipment, beverages and cement.
The location of Laos places it near beautiful rivers, which provides a valuable means of transportation but also needed water for the agricultural industry. In such a way, the country imports small boats, such as canoes and kayaks, rigid inflatable boats, water towers and water mills.
The top import origins are Thailand, China, Vietnam, South Korea and Japan.
Laos Customs Contacts
Laos is a landlocked country in Southeast Asia, bordered by Myanmar (Burma), China, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. It is a member of the Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA), WTO, Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), East Asia Summit, La Francophonie.
Export and Import Requirements in Laos
- Cargo Control Document
- Declaration Form
- Certificate of Origin
You will be able to obtain release of your goods upon presentation of a fully completed declaration package consisting of the following:
1. 3 copies of the cargo control document
2. 2 copies of the invoice
3. 2 carrier advice notes
4. 2 copies of any permit issued by a relevant Ministry or Department
5. 2 certificates of origin showing origin of goods
6. 3 sets of the declaration form
Cargo Control Document
A cargo control document in the form of an airway bill for goods arriving by air or a manifest for goods arriving by highway or river will be sent to you together with an advice note issued by the carrier to inform you that a shipment has arrived and is awaiting customs clearance.
You will need the cargo control number from the airway bill or manifest to complete the appropriate field on the declaration form.
Three copies of the cargo control document and two copies of the advice note must accompany the declaration form.
For all shipments entering or leaving Lao PDR, a commercial invoice which indicates the buyer and seller of the goods, the price paid or price payable, and an adequate description of the goods including quantity of the goods contained in the shipment, should be produced to support the declaration. The invoice must be prepared by the exporter. Locally produced invoices are not acceptable.
Laos is a member of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). The country is on track to reduce its tariffs on imports from other ASEAN nations to less than five per cent, as required under the Asean Free Trade Area and tariffs on most product groups for trade with non-ASEAN countries are less than 20 per cent. However, the regime lacks transparency and in practice trade and investment are more heavily regulated, including through import and export licensing.
Australia and Laos are parties to the ASEAN, Australia, New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA). The AANZFTA tariff finder provides an easy reference for Australian exporters who want to know what the applicable tariff rate is for their products under the AANZFTA.
Laos uses the transaction value system for valuing imported goods for taxation purposes. This means that whenever possible, the customs value is based on the price paid by the importer to the exporter for the imported goods. The following costs must be included in the customs value:
Costs which may be deducted from the customs value are:
In cases where the transaction value method cannot be used (e.g. where there is a relationship between the importer and exporter that might influence the value), one of the following methods of valuation will be used, in order:
The amount of duties and taxes payable depends on the item declared per category of duty, tax and excise:
The importer of commercial goods into Lao is responsible for the self-assessment of the duty and tax liabilities on all goods imported. The importer or his authorised agent must prepare all necessary documents for presentation to customs.
An importer has the right to request customs to reconsider any reassessment of value and any redetermination of tariff classification. Further, the importer has the right to appeal the customs reassessment notice to higher authorities.
All imports and exports are subject to a strict system of licensing. All importers must have a valid licence and must operate according to certain state directives. Goods prohibited for import are:
Certificates, labels, packaging
Food product labels are required to indicate the following:
Goods should be carefully packed to protect against adverse weather conditions, particularly heat and humidity. There is no cold storage in Laos.
A pro-forma invoice is required for the establishment of a letter of credit. The following documentation is required to enable goods to be cleared through customs:
Public health requirements
For public health reasons, the import of certain agricultural products, livestock, fish, drugs and food is subject to procedures requiring certain documents to be presented and approved by the agency responsible for enforcing the relevant regulations and certain obligations to be observed.