ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Lao garment exports decline by 5 per cent
Laos' garment exports reached US$165 million (Bt5.6 billion) in 2016, down 5 per cent from 2015, the Association of Lao Garment Industry (ALGI) reported.
Shortage of workers is still a chronic problem in the sector resulting in a reduction of garment exports, ALGI president Xaybandith Rasphone said at the association's recent general assembly.
In 2016, Laos had 85 garment factories mainly in and around Vientiane with 12 of these solely owned by Lao business people. The Japanese were also large investors in the garment sector, followed by Thai nationals.
Some 57 of these factories produce clothing for exports, 28 factories produce clothes for exporters and the domestic market, and the remaining 31 factories produce parts of clothing.
These factories created 27,000 jobs for local people, with 90 per cent of jobs going to women.
In 2016, Laos exported more than 33 million garments valued at $140 million to the EU, down 10 per cent; more than 1.4 million items valued at $9.6 million to Japan, down 5 per cent; some 1.3 million garments valued at $4.5 million to the US, a 21-per-cent decline; and 166,515 items of clothing worth $410,140 were exported to Canada, a steep fall of 56 per cent.
Laos also exported 436,174 items of clothing worth more than US$9.9 million to other countries, an increase of 64 percent.
However, purchase orders from foreign customers remain stable with the EU being the main clothing export market for Laos, while Japanese investors are interested in moving their clothing production base from China to Laos.
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