Market profile

Laos is a Buddhist country and understanding and observation of the religion’s importance in day to day life as well how it influences the work culture of Lao people is a significant advantage. Although English is widely spoken, a basic to intermediate understanding of the Lao language will make communication easier and be viewed as a sign of respect. Prior to shaking a person’s hand to start an introduction, it is customary to place your palms together in front of your body and bowing, which is called a 'nop', and to say ‘Sabaidee’ (hello). At the end of a meeting, the same gesture is repeated and accompanied with ‘Kop jai’ (thank you). It is acceptable for foreigners to shake hands with Lao of both sexes.

More information on doing business in Laos

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  • Imports from Laos A$36.7 million
  • Exports to Laos A$67.3 million
  • Capital Vientiane
  • Official Language Lao
  • Area 237,000 sq km
  • Population 7 million

Country information provided by DFAT

Country brief

A comprehensive overview of political, economic and bilateral and regional trade agreements.

» read more at DFAT

Trade and economic fact sheet

Containing general information, recent economic indicators, Australia’s trade and investment relationship with Laos and their global merchandise trade relationship that is updated twice a year.

» read more at DFAT


The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Smartraveller site provides advice for business travellers and tourists going to Laos. This is regularly updated and should be checked before planning travel.

» read more at DFAT

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