- Total two-way trade: $93 million (2016)
- Trade in goods: $34 million
- Trade in services: $59 million
- Total two-way investment stock: np
- Australian investment in Laos: np
- Lao investment in Australia: np
- Population: 6.6 million
- GDP growth: 6.9% (2016)
- GDP: US$15.5 billion (2016)
- GDP per capita: US$2,394 (2016)
- Ease of doing business: 139 of 190 (2017)
Laos has recently emerged as one of the world's fastest growing economies, with GDP growth averaging seven to eight per cent over the past decade. The Lao Government has an ambitious agenda for the country to graduate from the list of Least Developed Countries by 2020.
Laos remains challenging for Australian businesses due to a less conducive regulatory environment. Australia has a modest trade and investment relationship with Laos, although Australian businesses operate in mining, plantation forestry, banking, tourism, and legal services. The Lao Government is committed to improving the business environment and elevating its trade relationship with Australia.
Resources and mining: There are opportunities to provide high quality consulting services on social and environmental impact, supply mining equipment and technology, engineering services and training services. A quality new mining law (currently under revision) would pave the way for the Lao Government to lift its moratorium on new exploration licences, and open up investment opportunities.
Agribusiness: Australia and Laos have collaborated on technical and agribusiness research to improve food security and farming systems, and develop domestic and export market opportunities for rice, cattle and other agricultural products. Opportunities exist to invest in the agriculture and plantation forestry sectors, particularly agricultural services.
Education: The private education market in Laos is small but growing. Australia is a favoured destination for Lao students studying abroad.