Implications for Laos' development of its increasing regional integration and Chinese influence


  • Kenta Goto

    1. Faculty of Economics, Kansai University
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    • Kenta Goto, Associate Professor, Faculty of Economics, Kansai University. I am indebted to Syvongxay Thavisack of the Ministry of Planning and Investment, Lao PDR, for granting access to foreign direct investment data. I am also grateful for the helpful comments and suggestions from an anonymous referee on an earlier version of this paper. Financial support from The Institute of Economic and Political Studies at Kansai University, The Center for Southeast Asian Studies at Kyoto University, and The Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (Grant Number 21530281) is acknowledged. Needless to say, all remaining errors are mine.


This paper addresses the effects of regional integration in Laos, with a focus on China. Laos has recorded impressive growth over the past decade but remains one of the poorest countries in Southeast Asia. The paper examines Laos' position within the region and traces changes in its situation, particularly its evolving relationship with China, by analysing its changing trade and investment relationships with China and the two other important neighbours, Thailand and Vietnam. The paper draws implications about what these changes will mean for Laos' development trajectory.