Lao People’s Democratic Republic has banned export of timber and wood products to protect its environment, which has put many foreign investors in a fix, including Indians.
“In May, we have banned timber and wood products export to ensure sustainability and protect our power sector which contributes 10 per cent to our GDP,” Lao PDR Director-General, Department of Industry and Handicrafts, Manohack Rasachak said, on the sidelines of an investment roundable at Bharat Chamber of Commerce today.
There are some 50-odd veneer manufacturing units, of which half are owned by overseas investors including those from India due to good quality timber. The entire veneer produced is exported to countries including India.
He said that unless there was adequate forest cover, there would be insufficient rainfall and in turn there would be not enough water to generate hydro-power. Lao PDR exports power to neighbouring Thailand.
“Our power sector is also very important and environment sustainability is important. Wood and articles of wood comprise 29 per cent of total Lao’s export,” Rasachak said.
According to an estimate, about 18,000 MW of hydro power is technically exploitable, with 12,500 MW found in the major Mekong sub-basins and the remainder in minor Mekong or non-Mekong basins.
Rasachak said Lao has prioritised foreign capital in four sectors: agro processing, mining processing, electronics and engineering.