Southeast Asia: Laos

About Laos

In 1975 the communist Pathet Lao took control of the government, ending a six-century-old monarchy. Initial closer ties to Vietnam and socialization were replaced with a gradual return to private enterprise, an easing of foreign investment laws, and the admission into ASEAN in 1997.

Vital Statistics
Capitol City: Vientiane
Population: 5,635,967 (July 2001 est.)
Percent below poverty: 46.1% (1993 est.)
Language: Lao (official), French, English, and various ethnic languages
Date of independence: 19 July 1949 (from France)
Form of government: Communist state
Title of Leader: President, Prime Minister
Natural Resources: timber, hydropower, gypsum, tin, gold, gemstones
Environmental Issues: unexploded ordnance; deforestation; soil erosion; a majority of the population does not have access to potable water
Agricultural Products: sweet potatoes, vegetables, corn, coffee, sugarcane, tobacco, cotton; tea, peanuts, rice; water buffalo, pigs, cattle, poultry
Imports: machinery and equipment, vehicles, fuel
Exports: wood products, garments, electricity, coffee, tin
Trading Partners: IMPORTS: Thailand, Japan, Vietnam, China, Singapore, Hong Kong
EXPORTS: Vietnam, Thailand, Germany, France, Belgium


Laos Headlines

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