VIENTIANE, April 19 (Xinhua) -- Lao exports to China are expected to increase to 1,510 million U.S. dollars in 2019, while imports will decline to 985 million U.S. dollars, according to the latest projections from the Lao Ministry of Industry and Commerce.
In 2018, Laos planned to earn 1,478 million U.S. dollars from exports to China but achieved only 1,406 million U.S. dollars, and expected to spend 945 million U.S. dollars on imports but the final figure was 1,381 million U.S. dollars.
Laos' main exports to the northern neighbor are ore sand, rubber and rubber products, copper and copper products, bananas, maize and fertilizers. In turn, Laos imports electrical appliances, vehicles and spare parts, mechanical and electronic equipment, steel and steel equipment, local daily Vientiane Times on Friday reported.
China is now the biggest foreign investor in Laos and the country's second largest trading partner.
In 2016, Laos exported about 1,133 million U.S. dollars worth of goods to China which rose to 1,233 million U.S. dollars in 2017.
The increasing number of Chinese investors in Laos and cooperation projects by both governments is a major reason for the increase in imports from China.
The China-Laos railway, the launch of Laos' first satellite, hydropower development and other projects funded by China have helped to promote connectivity between the two nations.
The government is optimistic that exports to China will rise this year in view of increasing trade and economic cooperation.
Agriculture is seen as an important sector to bolster Lao exports to China especially bananas, rubber, fertiliser, cassava and corn.
The Lao Ministry of Industry and Commerce has asked China to consider a rice import quota of 50,000 tons along with accepting other industrial goods as part of efforts to bolster trade.