Caffeine high as Laos tops South-East Asia's coffee producer rankings
Laos is riding high as largest coffee exporter in Asean followed by Vietnam in second place and Thailand third according to figures compiled by the Lao Ministry of Industry and Commerce .
Coffee is among Laos top export income earners in terms of agricultural commodities, earning producers in Laos about US$60 million from processed beans in 2012 with a total of 18,300 tonnes of coffee exported.
In 2013 Laos exported 30,000 tons of coffee products valued at $72 million.
In 2014 total value of coffee exports dropped to 26,000 tons priced at $60 million.
Meanwhile, the value of coffee exports from Laos to Vietnam grew from US$17.9 million in 2013 to more than US$32.8 million last year.
Thailand saw its exports of processed coffee beans grow value from US$681,172 to about US$12.2 million during the same period.
Most of the caffeinated Lao crop is exported to Taiwan, Italy, Japan, Spain, Poland, Germany, the US, France, Belgium, Sweden.
Firms from several countries are currently investing in coffee plantations and processors in Laos, including those from Vietnam, Thailand, the Republic of Korea, the Chinese province of Taiwan, Singapore and India.
Meanwhile, Vietnam is also the largest purchaser of livestock from Laos, particularly from the Lao province of Xieng Khuang.
Xieng Khuang exports more than 10,000 head of cattle and buffaloes to Vietnam each year, while other provinces sell about 40 percent of their livestock herds to Vietnam.
Meanwhile, the key imports to Laos from other Asean member countries include vehicles, petroleum fuels, steel and electrical equipment.
The value of imports from Asean countries to Laos remains larger than its exports, leading to ongoing trade deficits.
In 2015, the value of imports from Asean to Laos reached around US$2.98 billion before expanding to US$3.27 billion last year.
Thailand remains the number one trading partner for Laos in Asean, with the value of exported goods from Laos to Thailand last year reaching US$2 billion.
Imports to Laos from Thailand were valued at over US$2.59 billion during the same period.
In 2015, the value of goods from Laos exported to Vietnam reached around US$557.3million and increased to US$568.64 million last year.
Meanwhile, the value of imports from Vietnam to Laos was about US$591.3 million in 2015 and decreased to some US$432.2 million last year.
Lao authorities believe that cross-border trade will increase further in the future, and are actively seeking to help Lao exporters tap into the opportunities to strengthen production capacity in the country to realise greater value from its strategic location and related strengths.
By Times Reporters
(Latest Update April 19, 2017)