6 March 2023
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Lao People’s Democratic Republic could lose 7.3%, or $734 million, of exports when graduating from least developed country (LDC) status. The most affected sectors will be natural rubber and latex, paper products and apparel, with losses largely in Chinese and European markets.
To mitigate, the country can leverage trade promotion to unlock up to $1.4 billion in export potential in existing and new markets, now held back by non-tariff frictions – like rubber to Viet Nam and energy to Cambodia. Lao People’s Democratic Republic will also benefit from negotiating better post-graduation access to key markets and, generally, a more diversified trade structure.