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Tips:Country ProfileChina-Laos RelationshipThe comprehensive strategic partnership between the People's Republic of China and
 Country Profile
China-Laos Relationship
The comprehensive strategic partnership between the People's Republic of China and the Lao People's Democratic Republic continued to make progress in 2010.
The two countries maintained frequent exchange of high-level visits. In June, Vice President Xi Jinping paid an official visit to the Laos and the two sides reached important agreement on further advancing China-Lao comprehensive strategic partnership. In March, Vice Premier Hui Liangyu visited the Laos. In October, Liu Yunshan, Member of the Political Bureau and Secretariat and Head of the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee, visited the Laos and attended the first symposium on party-building theories. In January, NPC Vice Chairman Han Qide paid a visit to the Laos. In March, NPC Vice Chairwoman Yan Junqi visited the Laos. In April, Choummaly Sayasone, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party, and Lao President attended the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2010. Thongloun Sisoulith, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, attended the opening ceremony of the Shanghai World Expo. In July, Lieutenant General Douangchay Phichit, Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister, headed a delegation to China. In October, President of the National Assembly Thongsing Thammavong and Prime Minister Bouasone Bouphavanh attended the activities of the China National Pavilion Day and the Laos National Pavilion Day at the Shanghai World Expo respectively. Deputy Prime Minister Asang Laoly attended the Seventh China-ASEAN Expo. Vice President Bounnhang Vorachith attended the eleventh Western China International Fair. In November, Deputy Prime Minister Somsavat Lengsavad came to China for the High Level Meeting on Cooperation for Child Rights in the Asia Pacific Region and the closing ceremony of the Guangzhou Asian Games. In December, Vice President of the National Assembly Pany Yathotou attended the opening ceremony of the Guangzhou Asian Para Games.
Economic cooperation and trade between China and the Laos developed smoothly. The committee on trade, economic and technological cooperation continued to strengthen planning and guidance for bilateral economic cooperation and trade. In recent years, bilateral trade maintained fast growth and became more balanced. China remained among the top investors of the Laos. The Chinese government continued to provide economic and technological assistance to the Laos.
China-Laos friendship and cooperation in other areas made new progress. The Communist Party of China and the Lao People's Revolutionary Party worked more closely with each other in such areas as officials training and exchanges of theories. The First Joint Inspection of the China-Lao Boundary was carried out smoothly. The two sides continued to strengthen cooperation on combating cross-border drug and human trafficking. The two countries held the sixth round of consultation on consular affairs. Departments of culture, health, science and technology, transportation and sports of the two countries had frequent exchange of visits and continuously deepened practical cooperation. Friendly exchanges between local governments were also enhanced.
 
 
Introduction :
Background:
 
Modern-day Laos has its roots in the ancient Lao kingdom of Lan Xang, established in the 14th Century under King FA NGUM. For 300 years Lan Xang had influence reaching into present-day Cambodia and Thailand, as well as over all of what is now Laos. After centuries of gradual decline, Laos came under the domination of Siam (Thailand) from the late 18th century until the late 19th century when it became part of French Indochina. The Franco-Siamese Treaty of 1907 defined the current Lao border with Thailand. In 1975, the Communist Pathet Lao took control of the government ending a six-century-old monarchy and instituting a strict socialist regime closely aligned to Vietnam. A gradual, limited return to private enterprise and the liberalization of foreign investment laws began in 1988. Laos became a member of ASEAN in 1997.
 
Geography :
Location:
 
Southeastern Asia, northeast of Thailand, west of Vietnam
Geographic coordinates:
 
18 00 N, 105 00 E
Map references:
 
Southeast Asia
Area:
 
total: 236,800 sq km
country comparison to the world: 84
land: 230,800 sq km
water: 6,000 sq km
Area - comparative:
 
slightly larger than Utah
Land boundaries:
 
total: 5,083 km
border countries: Burma 235 km, Cambodia 541 km, China 423 km, Thailand 1,754 km, Vietnam 2,130 km
Coastline:
 
0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims:
 
none (landlocked)
Climate:
 
tropical monsoon; rainy season (May to November); dry season (December to April)
Terrain:
 
mostly rugged mountains; some plains and plateaus
Elevation extremes:
 
lowest point: Mekong River 70 m
highest point: Phu Bia 2,817 m
Natural resources:
 
timber, hydropower, gypsum, tin, gold, gemstones
Land use:
 
arable land: 4.01%
permanent crops: 0.34%
other: 95.65% (2005)
Irrigated land:
 
3,000 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources:
 
333.6 cu km (2003)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
 
total: 3 cu km/yr (4%/6%/90%)
per capita: 507 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards:
 
floods, droughts
Environment - current issues:
 
unexploded ordnance; deforestation; soil erosion; most of the population does not have access to potable water
Environment - international agreements:
 
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
 
landlocked; most of the country is mountainous and thickly forested; the Mekong River forms a large part of the western boundary with Thailand.
 
People and Society :
Nationality:
 
noun: Lao(s) or Laotian(s)
adjective: Lao or Laotian
Ethnic groups:
 
Lao 55%, Khmou 11%, Hmong 8%, other (over 100 minor ethnic groups) 26% (2005 census)
Languages:
 
Lao (official), French, English, various ethnic languages
Religions:
 
Buddhist 67%, Christian 1.5%, other and unspecified 31.5% (2005 census)
Population:
 
6,586,266 (July 2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 102
Urbanization:
 
urban population: 33% of total population (2010)
rate of urbanization: 4.9% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Major cities - population:
 
VIENTIANE (capital) 799,000 (2009)
Life expectancy at birth:
 
total population: 62.77 years
country comparison to the world: 180
male: 60.85 years
female: 64.76 years (2012 est.)
Total fertility rate:
 
3.06 children born/woman (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 60
Health expenditures:
 
6.5% of GDP (2009)
country comparison to the world: 92
Physicians density:
 
0.272 physicians/1,000 population (2005)
Hospital bed density:
 
1.2 beds/1,000 population (2005)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
 
0.2% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 107
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
 
8,500 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 106
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
 
fewer than 200 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 111
Major infectious diseases:
 
degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria
note: highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza has been identified in this country; it poses a negligible risk with extremely rare cases possible among US citizens who have close contact with birds (2009)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate:
 
1.2% (2000)
country comparison to the world: 69
Children under the age of 5 years underweight:
 
31.6% (2006)
country comparison to the world: 16
Education expenditures:
 
2.3% of GDP (2008)
country comparison to the world: 150
Literacy:
 
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 73%
male: 83%
female: 63% (2005 Census)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
 
total: 9 years
male: 10 years
female: 9 years (2008)
 
Government :
Country name:
 
conventional long form: Lao People's Democratic Republic
conventional short form: Laos
local long form: Sathalanalat Paxathipatai Paxaxon Lao
local short form: Pathet Lao (unofficial)
Government type:
 
Communist state
Capital:
 
name: Vientiane (Viangchan)
geographic coordinates: 17 58 N, 102 36 E
time difference: UTC+7 (12 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions:
 
16 provinces (khoueng, singular and plural) and 1 capital city* (nakhon luang, singular and plural); Attapu, Bokeo, Bolikhamxai, Champasak, Houaphan, Khammouan, Louangnamtha, Louangphabang, Oudomxai, Phongsali, Salavan, Savannakhet, Viangchan (Vientiane)*, Viangchan, Xaignabouli, Xekong, Xiangkhouang
Independence:
 
19 July 1949 (from France)
National holiday:
 
Republic Day, 2 December (1975)
Constitution:
 
promulgated 14 August 1991; amended in 2003
Legal system:
 
civil law system similar in form to the French system
International law organization participation:
 
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
Suffrage:
 
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
 
chief of state: President Lt. Gen. CHOUMMALI Saignason (since 8 June 2006); Vice President BOUN-GNANG Volachit (since 8 June 2006)
head of government: Prime Minister THONGSING Thammavong (since 24 December 2010); First Deputy Prime Minister Maj. Gen. ASANG Laoli (since May 2002), Deputy Prime Ministers Maj. Gen. DOUANGCHAI Phichit (since 8 June 2006), SOMSAVAT Lengsavat (since 26 February 1998), and THONGLOUN Sisoulit (since 27 March 2001)
cabinet: Ministers appointed by president, approved by National Assembly
(For more information visit the World Leaders website )
elections: president and vice president elected by National Assembly for five-year terms; election last held on 30 April 2011 (next to be held in 2016); prime minister nominated by the president and elected by the National Assembly for five-year term
election results: CHOUMMALI Saignason elected president; BOUN-GNANG Volachit elected vice president; percent of National Assembly vote - NA; THONGSING Thammavong elected prime minister; percent of National Assembly vote - NA%
Legislative branch:
 
unicameral National Assembly (132 seats; members elected by popular vote from a list of candidates selected by the Lao People's Revolutionary Party to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held on 30 April 2011 (next to be held in 2016)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - LPRP 128, independents 4
Judicial branch:
 
People's Supreme Court, People's Provincial and Municipal Courts, People's District Courts, and Military Courts
note: the president of the People's Supreme Court is elected by the National Assembly on the recommendation of the National Assembly Standing Committee; the vice president of the People's Supreme Court and the judges are appointed by the National Assembly Standing Committee
Political parties and leaders:
 
Lao People's Revolutionary Party or LPRP [CHOUMMALI Saignason]; other parties proscribed
Political pressure groups and leaders:
 
NA
International organization participation:
 
ADB, ARF, ASEAN, CP, EAS, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, Interpol, IOC, IPU, ISO (subscriber), ITU, MIGA, NAM, OIF, OPCW, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)
Flag description:
 
three horizontal bands of red (top), blue (double width), and red with a large white disk centered in the blue band; the red bands recall the blood shed for liberation; the blue band represents the Mekong River and prosperity; the white disk symbolizes the full moon against the Mekong River, but also signifies the unity of the people under the Lao People's Revolutionary Party, as well as the country's bright future
National symbol(s):
 
Elephant
 
Economy :
Economy - overview:
 
The government of Laos, began decentralizing control and encouraging private enterprise in 1986. The results, starting from an extremely low base, were striking - growth averaged 6% per year from 1988-2008 except during the short-lived drop caused by the Asian financial crisis that began in 1997. Lao's growth exceeded 7% per year during 2008-11. Despite this high growth rate, Laos remains a country with an underdeveloped infrastructure, particularly in rural areas. It has a rudimentary, but improving, road system, and limited external and internal land-line telecommunications. Electricity is available in urban areas and in many rural districts. Subsistence agriculture, dominated by rice cultivation in lowland areas, accounts for about 30% of GDP and 75% of total employment. Economic growth has reduced official poverty rates from 46% in 1992 to 26% in 2010. The economy has benefited from high foreign investment in hydropower, mining, and construction. Laos gained Normal Trade Relations status with the US in 2004, and is taking steps required to join the World Trade Organization, such as reforming import licensing. Related trade policy reforms will improve the business environment. On the fiscal side, Laos initiated a VAT tax system in 2010. Simplified investment procedures and expanded bank credits for small farmers and small entrepreneurs will improve Lao's economic prospects. The government appears committed to raising the country's profile among investors, opening the country's first stock exchange in 2011. The World Bank has declared that Laos's goal of graduating from the UN Development Program's list of least-developed countries by 2020 is achievable. According Laotian officials, the 7th Socio-Economic Development Plan for 2011-15 will outline efforts to achieve Millennium Development Goals.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
 
$17.41 billion (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 136
$16.11 billion (2010 est.)
$14.91 billion (2009 est.)
note: data are in 2011 US dollars
GDP (official exchange rate):
 
$8.169 billion (2011 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
 
8% (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 20
8.1% (2010 est.)
7.5% (2009 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
 
$2,800 (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 174
$2,600 (2010 est.)
$2,400 (2009 est.)
note: data are in 2011 US dollars
GDP - composition by sector:
 
agriculture: 27.8%
industry: 34.8%
services: 37.4% (2011 est.)
Labor force:
 
3.69 million (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 94
Labor force - by occupation:
 
agriculture: 75.1%
industry and services: NA (2010 est.)
Unemployment rate:
 
2.5% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 19
2.4% (2005 est.)
Population below poverty line:
 
26% (2010 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
 
lowest 10%: 3.3%
highest 10%: 30.3% (2008)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
 
36.7 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 80
34.6 (2002)
Investment (gross fixed):
 
27.4% of GDP (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 29
Budget:
 
revenues: $1.762 billion
expenditures: $1.91 billion (2011 est.)
Taxes and other revenues:
 
21.6% of GDP (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 148
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-):
 
-1.8% of GDP (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 73
Public debt:
 
49.1% of GDP (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 62
51.6% of GDP (2010 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
 
7.6% (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 162
6% (2010 est.)
Central bank discount rate:
 
4.3% (31 December 2010)
country comparison to the world: 92
4% (31 December 2009)
Commercial bank prime lending rate:
 
21.9% (31 December 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 13
22.61% (31 December 2010 est.)
Stock of narrow money:
 
$967.6 million (31 December 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 147
$787.9 million (31 December 2010 est.)
Stock of broad money:
 
$3.155 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 139
$2.643 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
Stock of domestic credit:
 
$2.477 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 132
$1.95 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
Agriculture - products:
 
sweet potatoes, vegetables, corn, coffee, sugarcane, tobacco, cotton, tea, peanuts, rice; cassava (manioc), water buffalo, pigs, cattle, poultry
Industries:
 
mining (copper, tin, gold, and gypsum); timber, electric power, agricultural processing, rubber, construction, garments, cement, tourism
Industrial production growth rate:
 
17.7% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 4
Current account balance:
 
$90.2 million (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 58
$29.3 million (2010 est.)
Exports:
 
$2.131 billion (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 142
$1.746 billion (2010 est.)
Exports - commodities:
 
wood products, coffee, electricity, tin, copper, gold
Exports - partners:
 
Thailand 33%, China 23.4%, Vietnam 13.4% (2011)
Imports:
 
$2.336 billion (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 155
$2.06 billion (2010 est.)
Imports - commodities:
 
machinery and equipment, vehicles, fuel, consumer goods
Imports - partners:
 
Thailand 65.2%, China 11.1%, Vietnam 6.5% (2011)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
 
$773.5 million (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 144
$713.4 million (2010 est.)
Debt - external:
 
$5.955 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 108
$5.559 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
Exchange rates:
 
kips (LAK) per US dollar -
8,043.7 (2011 est.)
8,258.8 (2010 est.)
8,516.04 (2009)
8,760.69 (2008)
9,658 (2007)
Fiscal year:
 
1 October - 30 September
 
Energy :
Electricity - production:
 
1.553 billion kWh (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 142
Electricity - consumption:
 
2.23 billion kWh (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 136
Electricity - exports:
 
341 million kWh (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 67
Electricity - imports:
 
999 million kWh (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 61
Electricity - installed generating capacity:
 
1.855 million kW (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 104
Electricity - from fossil fuels:
 
2.7% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 201
Electricity - from nuclear fuels:
 
0% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 123
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants:
 
97.3% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 7
Electricity - from other renewable sources:
 
0% of total installed capacity (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 147
Crude oil - production:
 
0 bbl/day (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 153
Crude oil - exports:
 
0 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 140
Crude oil - imports:
 
0 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 205
Crude oil - proved reserves:
 
0 bbl (1 January 2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 152
Refined petroleum products - production:
 
0 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 163
Refined petroleum products - consumption:
 
3,391 bbl/day (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 179
Refined petroleum products - exports:
 
0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 192
Refined petroleum products - imports:
 
1,918 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 180
Natural gas - production:
 
0 cu m (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 151
Natural gas - consumption:
 
0 cu m (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 163
Natural gas - exports:
 
0 cu m (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 101
Natural gas - imports:
 
0 cu m (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 89
Natural gas - proved reserves:
 
0 cu m (1 January 2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 156
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy:
 
1.189 million Mt (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 164
 
Communications :
Telephones - main lines in use:
 
107,600 (2011)
country comparison to the world: 143
Telephones - mobile cellular:
 
5.481 million (2011)
country comparison to the world: 101
Telephone system:
 
general assessment: service to general public is improving; the government relies on a radiotelephone network to communicate with remote areas
domestic: multiple service providers; mobile cellular usage growing very rapidly
international: country code - 856; satellite earth station - 1 Intersputnik (Indian Ocean region) and a second to be developed by China (2008)
Broadcast media:
Newspaper: "People's Daily", "people's army newspaper","Youth Daily"ect..
3 TV stations operating out of Vientiane - 2 government-operated and the other jointly-owned by the government and a Thai company; 22 provincial stations operating with nearly all programming relayed via satellite from the government-operated stations in Vientiane; relays from Hanoi provide access to a Vietnamese TV station; broadcasts available from stations in Thailand and Vietnam in border areas; multi-channel satellite and cable TV systems provide access to a wide range of foreign stations; state-controlled radio with state-operated Lao National Radio (LNR) broadcasting on 5 frequencies - 1 AM, 2 SW, and 2 FM; LNR's AM and FM programs are relayed via satellite constituting a large part of the programming schedules of the provincial radio stations; Thai radio broadcasts available in border areas and transmissions of multiple international broadcasters are also accessible (2011)
Internet country code:
 
.la
Internet hosts:
 
1,532 (2012)
country comparison to the world: 166
Internet users:
 
300,000 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 130
 
Transportation :
Airports:
 
42 (2012)
country comparison to the world: 101
Airports - with paved runways:
 
total: 9
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 3 (2012)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
 
total: 33
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 9
under 914 m: 22 (2012)
Pipelines:
 
refined products 540 km (2010)
Roadways:
 
total: 39,568 km
country comparison to the world: 90
paved: 530 km
unpaved: 39,038 km (2007)
Waterways:
 
4,600 km (primarily on the Mekong River and its tributaries; 2,900 additional km are intermittently navigable by craft drawing less than 0.5 m) (2012)
country comparison to the world: 24
 
Military :
Military branches:
 
Lao People's Armed Forces (LPAF): Lao People's Army (LPA; includes Riverine Force), Air Force (2011)
Military service age and obligation:
 
18 years of age for compulsory military service; minimum 18-month service obligation (2010)
Manpower available for military service:
 
males age 16-49: 1,574,362
females age 16-49: 1,607,856 (2010 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
 
males age 16-49: 1,111,629
females age 16-49: 1,190,035 (2010 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
 
male: 71,400
female: 73,038 (2010 est.)
Military expenditures:
 
0.5% of GDP (2006)
country comparison to the world: 162
 
 


Keyword: Laos Profiles

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