Tariffs and regulations
Tariffs and duty rates are constantly revised and are subject to change without notice.
Austrade strongly recommends you reconfirm these prior to selling to Laos.
For further information please see the Laos Customs website.
Tariffs and non-tariff barriers
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 5 per cent, as required under the ASEAN Free Trade
Agreement, 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)
which entered into force on 1 January 2010.
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:
packing, packaging and handling costs
any fees paid to the exporters for royalties, licences, etc.
storage charges in the country of export that are paid by the importer
all escalations charged after the goods are ordered
all selling costs such as commissions that are charged to the importer
- where goods or services supplied by the importer to the exporter free or at a reduced cost that were used in the production of the goods.
Costs which may be deducted from the customs value are:
- discounts for volume purchases, payment for the goods in advance or within an agreed period (such discount must be shown on the invoice and granted before importation)
- if goods were sold by the exporter on a duty and tax paid basis, deduct the amount paid for duties and taxes
- amount paid to the exporter for work that will be performed in Laos, such as construction, erection, assembly, maintenance or technical assistance related to the imported goods (such costs must be shown separately on the invoice or in a contract).
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:
- Transaction value of identical goods
- Transaction value of similar goods
- Deductive value
- Computed value
- Flexible value
Other general tariff information:
Amount of duties and taxes payable depends on the item declared per
category of duty, tax and excise. Duty rate is calculated on the
customs value. The tax is calculated on the customs value plus the duty
payable. The excise tax is calculated on the customs value plus duty
payable plus tax payable.
The importer of commercial goods into Laos is responsible for the
self-assessment of the duty and tax liabilities on all goods imported.
This means that 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 re-determination 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 license and must operate according to certain state directives.
Goods prohibited for import include:
hazardous chemical substances
other dangerous industrial products
Product certification, labelling and packaging
Food product labels are required to indicate the following:
- name of product
- registration number for food products
- name and location of producers or company that packed products for distribution
- country that produced the product
- quantity of product (expressed in metric units)
- if available, advice on storage, preparation methods, and use of preservatives and colourings
Goods should be carefully packed to protect against adverse weather conditions, particularly heat and humidity. There is no cold storage in Laos.
Methods of quoting and payment
Quotes are usually on a cost, insurance and freight basis in US dollars. Initial transactions should be by a confirmed, irrevocable letter of credit.
A pro-forma invoice is required for the establishment of a letter of
The following documentation is required to enable goods to be cleared
through Laos Customs:
airway bill or bill of lading (two copies)
commercial invoice indicating the buyer and seller of the goods and
price paid (two copies)
cargo control document (three copies)
import permit issued by a relevant Ministry or Department (two copies)
certificate of origin (two copies)
declaration form (three sets)
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.