Mekong Memo Laos Weekly: Business, politics, finance, trade & legal news.
Get the latest Southeast Asian business news delivered to your inbox every weekday with the Mekong Memo.
Choose to receive our free daily editions covering Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, and Thailand individually or together: account settings.
The Memo is published each weekday for the country of your choice. Paid subscriptions receive full editions while free subscribers get top headlines.
Support us and unlock unlimited access by becoming a paid subscriber today to stay informed on emerging opportunities in Southeast Asia.
The Mekong Memo is proudly presented by:
Horton International offers reliable, effective solutions to recruiting and resourcing challenges for a diverse range of organizations, from small, privately held start-ups to leading Global corporations. With offices and experience throughout Southeast Asia, Horton International is your first choice for executive search in the region.
Click here to learn more.
Here is your Mekong Memo Laos for the week of January 24, 2024. Click on the link of our sponsor above, pay for a subscription, share with a friend or hit that reply button and tell us what you think.
Crackdown on Mining Violations
The government is imposing heavy fines on mining companies violating the rules in the hopes of curbing illicit activities and protecting resources. Starting on April 1, fines up to 2 billion kip ($96,816) will target unlawful operations in excavation, processing, and trade of minerals. The decision to crack down comes on the heels of a comprehensive review of mining operations, revealing detrimental impacts on the industry and environment. The decree comes as civil society becomes more involved in concerns over the economic and environmental effects of these activities.
Vientiane Braces for Fuel Shortage
Vientiane is witnessing a surge in vehicles queuing at petrol stations due to fears of an impending fuel shortage. This has arisen as a result of a temporary halt of production lines in oil refineries in neighboring countries, notably Thailand, a major fuel supplier to Laos. The Lao State Fuel Company has acknowledged the issue, citing increased fuel consumption and potential shortages, especially in diesel. Efforts are underway to normalize the situation by the end of January, with assurances of manageable current supplies but concerns over meeting rising demand.
Read more: Laotian Times
Laos Sets Stage for ASEAN Tourism Growth
Laos is hosting the ASEAN Tourism Forum 2024 and the 59th meeting of ASEAN National Tourism Organizations, focusing on sustainable and responsible tourism to improve the region's future. The forum, themed "Quality and Responsible Tourism – Sustaining ASEAN Future," is intended to ease access to ASEAN tourism products and attract international tourists. Concurrently, Laos has launched the "Visit Laos Year 2024," targeting 2.7 million foreign tourists. The meetings will discuss the ASEAN Tourism Strategic Plan 2016-2025, infrastructure enhancement, tourism product diversification, and service quality improvement to market Laos as a prime tourist destination.
An Inside Look at an Infamous Criminal Hotspot
The Golden Triangle Special Economic Zone in Laos, allegedly overseen by a Chinese crime boss, is a hub for illegal activities including money laundering, human trafficking, and wildlife trafficking. A 2023 visit by Crisis Group revealed a city-scale development built around these criminal enterprises. Despite sanctions and regional crackdowns, activities like online scamming and wildlife trafficking persist. The zone appears to operates with minimal local authority interference, raising questions about its impact on regional peace, security, and law enforcement.
Read more: Crisis Group
The remainder of this post is for paid subscribers only, but remember, you can get a month of The Mekong Memo for FREE by sharing it with only three others: