The Lao government will introduce strict measures to regulate the import of consumer goods and bolster domestic production, in an attempt to reduce imports and cut the capital flow to other countries.
A surge in both legally and illegally imported goods from neighboring countries means Lao producers are struggling to compete in terms of price and production, Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce Somchith Inthamith told media during an interview last week.
The increase in imports is also driving up the exchange rate of foreign currencies against the kip, especially the Thai baht, he said.
In response, the government has set up a task force committee to regulate the import of consumer goods and promote the production and purchase of Lao-made products.
This task force is headed by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Somdy Duangdy with Somchith as the deputy head. Its members comprise representatives from relevant government bodies.
In an attempt to regulate imports, the committee will coordinate with Vientiane authorities to strictly inspect imported products according to Lao regulations, using technology and license certification when making checks at border crossings.
Every day numerous trucks bring in consumer goods from Thailand to Laos, mostly into Vientiane via the Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge, but these trucks do not always have import licenses, Somchith said.
“We need to determine what kind of products we should limit and those whose import is essential. We can’t ban imports altogether, but we can use the regulations we have to bring the situation under control,” he said.