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Laos vs. Burma

Introduction

LaosBurma
BackgroundModern-day Laos has its roots in the ancient Lao kingdom of Lan Xang, established in the 14th century under King FA NGUM. For 300 years Lan Xang had influence reaching into present-day Cambodia and Thailand, as well as over all of what is now Laos. After centuries of gradual decline, Laos came under the domination of Siam (Thailand) from the late 18th century until the late 19th century, when it became part of French Indochina. The Franco-Siamese Treaty of 1907 defined the current Lao border with Thailand. In 1975, the communist Pathet Lao took control of the government, ending a six-century-old monarchy and instituting a strict socialist regime closely aligned to Vietnam. A gradual, limited return to private enterprise and the liberalization of foreign investment laws began in 1988. Laos became a member of ASEAN in 1997 and the WTO in 2013.
Various ethnic Burmese and ethnic minority city-states or kingdoms occupied the present borders through the 19th century. Over a period of 62 years (1824-1886), Britain conquered Burma and incorporated the country into its Indian Empire. Burma was administered as a province of India until 1937 when it became a separate, self-governing colony; in 1948, Burma attained independence from the British Commonwealth. Gen. NE WIN dominated the government from 1962 to 1988, first as military ruler, then as self-appointed president, and later as political kingpin. In response to widespread civil unrest, NE WIN resigned in 1988, but within months the military crushed student-led protests and took power.
Multiparty legislative elections in 1990 resulted in the main opposition party - the National League for Democracy (NLD) - winning a landslide victory. Instead of handing over power, the junta placed NLD leader (and 1991 Nobel Peace Prize recipient) AUNG SAN SUU KYI under house arrest from 1989 to 1995, 2000 to 2002, and from May 2003 to November 2010. In late September 2007, the ruling junta brutally suppressed protests over increased fuel prices led by prodemocracy activists and Buddhist monks, killing an unknown number of people and arresting thousands for participating in the demonstrations. In early May 2008, Burma was struck by Cyclone Nargis, which left over 138,000 dead and tens of thousands injured and homeless. Despite this tragedy, the junta proceeded with its May constitutional referendum, the first vote in Burma since 1990. Legislative elections held in November 2010, which the NLD boycotted and were considered flawed by many in the international community, saw the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party garner over 75% of the contested seats.
The national legislature convened in January 2011 and selected former Prime Minister THEIN SEIN as president. Although the vast majority of national-level appointees named by THEIN SEIN were former or current military officers, the government initiated a series of political and economic reforms leading to a substantial opening of the long-isolated country. These reforms included releasing hundreds of political prisoners, signing a nationwide cease-fire with several of the country's ethnic armed groups, pursuing legal reform, and gradually reducing restrictions on freedom of the press, association, and civil society. At least due in part to these reforms, AUNG SAN SUU KYI was elected to the national legislature in April 2012 and became chair of the Committee for Rule of Law and Tranquility. Burma served as chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) for 2014. In a flawed but largely credible national legislative election in November 2015 featuring more than 90 political parties, the NLD again won a landslide victory. Using its overwhelming majority in both houses of parliament, the NLD elected HTIN KYAW, AUNG SAN SUU KYI’s confidant and long-time NLD supporter, as president. Burma's first credibly elected civilian government after more than five decades of military dictatorship was sworn into office on 30 March 2016.

Geography

LaosBurma
LocationSoutheastern Asia, northeast of Thailand, west of Vietnam
Southeastern Asia, bordering the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal, between Bangladesh and Thailand
Geographic coordinates18 00 N, 105 00 E
22 00 N, 98 00 E
Map referencesSoutheast Asia
Southeast Asia
Areatotal: 236,800 sq km
land: 230,800 sq km
water: 6,000 sq km
total: 676,578 sq km
land: 653,508 sq km
water: 23,070 sq km
Area - comparativeabout twice the size of Pennsylvania; slightly larger than Utah
slightly smaller than Texas
Land boundariestotal: 5,274 km
border countries (5): Burma 238 km, Cambodia 555 km, China 475 km, Thailand 1,845 km, Vietnam 2,161 km
total: 6,522 km
border countries (5): Bangladesh 271 km, China 2,129 km, India 1,468 km, Laos 238 km, Thailand 2,416 km
Coastline0 km (landlocked)
1,930 km
Maritime claimsnone (landlocked)
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
Climatetropical monsoon; rainy season (May to November); dry season (December to April)
tropical monsoon; cloudy, rainy, hot, humid summers (southwest monsoon, June to September); less cloudy, scant rainfall, mild temperatures, lower humidity during winter (northeast monsoon, December to April)
Terrainmostly rugged mountains; some plains and plateaus
central lowlands ringed by steep, rugged highlands
Elevation extremesmean elevation: 710 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Mekong River 70 m
highest point: Phu Bia 2,817 m
mean elevation: 702 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Andaman Sea/Bay of Bengal 0 m
highest point: Gamlang Razi 5,870 m
Natural resourcestimber, hydropower, gypsum, tin, gold, gemstones
petroleum, timber, tin, antimony, zinc, copper, tungsten, lead, coal, marble, limestone, precious stones, natural gas, hydropower, arable land
Land useagricultural land: 10.6%
arable land 6.2%; permanent crops 0.7%; permanent pasture 3.7%
forest: 67.9%
other: 21.5% (2011 est.)
agricultural land: 19.2%
arable land 16.5%; permanent crops 2.2%; permanent pasture 0.5%
forest: 48.2%
other: 32.6% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land3,100 sq km (2012)
22,950 sq km (2012)
Natural hazardsfloods, droughts
destructive earthquakes and cyclones; flooding and landslides common during rainy season (June to September); periodic droughts
Environment - current issuesunexploded ordnance; deforestation; soil erosion; most of the population does not have access to potable water
deforestation; industrial pollution of air, soil, and water; inadequate sanitation and water treatment contribute to disease
Environment - international agreementsparty to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - notelandlocked; most of the country is mountainous and thickly forested; the Mekong River forms a large part of the western boundary with Thailand
strategic location near major Indian Ocean shipping lanes; the north-south flowing Irrawaddy River is the country's largest and most important commercial waterway
Population distributionmost densely populated area is in and around the capital city of Vientiane; large communities are primarily found along the Mekong River along the southwestern border; overall density is considered one of the lowest in Southeast Asia
population concentrated along coastal areas and in general proximity to the shores of the Irrawaddy River; the extreme north is relatively underpopulated

Demographics

LaosBurma
Population7,126,706 (July 2017 est.)
55,123,814
note: estimates for this country take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2017 est.)
Age structure0-14 years: 32.76% (male 1,180,227/female 1,154,550)
15-24 years: 21.17% (male 749,312/female 759,677)
25-54 years: 36.7% (male 1,290,768/female 1,324,390)
55-64 years: 5.48% (male 190,627/female 199,673)
65 years and over: 3.89% (male 125,682/female 151,800) (2017 est.)
0-14 years: 26.85% (male 7,567,976/female 7,233,577)
15-24 years: 17.75% (male 4,917,290/female 4,865,264)
25-54 years: 42.36% (male 11,426,913/female 11,922,728)
55-64 years: 7.52% (male 1,930,253/female 2,213,263)
65 years and over: 5.53% (male 1,327,811/female 1,718,739) (2017 est.)
Median agetotal: 23 years
male: 22.7 years
female: 23.3 years (2017 est.)
total: 28.2 years
male: 27.4 years
female: 29 years (2017 est.)
Population growth rate1.51% (2017 est.)
0.91% (2017 est.)
Birth rate23.6 births/1,000 population (2017 est.)
18.1 births/1,000 population (2017 est.)
Death rate7.4 deaths/1,000 population (2017 est.)
7.4 deaths/1,000 population (2017 est.)
Net migration rate-1.1 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2017 est.)
-1.5 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2017 est.)
Sex ratioat birth: 1.04 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.83 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.89 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.77 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 49.9 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 55.2 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 44.4 deaths/1,000 live births (2017 est.)
total: 35.8 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 38.8 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 32.6 deaths/1,000 live births (2017 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 64.6 years
male: 62.6 years
female: 66.7 years (2017 est.)
total population: 68.2 years
male: 66.6 years
female: 69.9 years (2017 est.)
Total fertility rate2.7 children born/woman (2017 est.)
2.17 children born/woman (2017 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate0.3% (2016 est.)
0.8% (2016 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Lao(s) or Laotian(s)
adjective: Lao or Laotian
noun: Burmese (singular and plural)
adjective: Burmese
Ethnic groupsLao 53.2%, Khmou 11%, Hmong 9.2%, Phouthay 3.4%, Tai 3.1%, Makong 2.5%, Katong 2.2%, Lue 2%, Akha 1.8%, other 11.6%
note: the Laos Government officially recognizes 49 ethnic groups, but the total number of ethnic groups is estimated to be well over 200 (2015 est.)
Burman (Bamar) 68%, Shan 9%, Karen 7%, Rakhine 4%, Chinese 3%, Indian 2%, Mon 2%, other 5%
note: government recognizes 135 indigenous ethnic groups
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS11,000 (2016 est.)
230,000 (2016 est.)
ReligionsBuddhist 64.7%, Christian 1.7%, none 31.4%, other/not stated 2.1% (2015 est.)
Buddhist 87.9%, Christian 6.2%, Muslim 4.3%, Animist 0.8%, Hindu 0.5%, other 0.2%, none 0.1%
note: religion estimate is based on the 2014 national census, including an estimate for the non-enumerated population of Rakhine State, which is assumed to mainly affiliate with the Islamic faith (2014 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths<500 (2016 est.)
7,800 (2016 est.)
LanguagesLao (official), French, English, various ethnic languages
Burmese (official)
note: minority ethnic groups have their own languages
Literacydefinition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 79.9%
male: 87.1%
female: 72.8% (2015 est.)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 75.6%
male: 80%
female: 71.8% (2016 est.)
Major infectious diseasesdegree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria (2016)
degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever, malaria, and Japanese encephalitis
water contact disease: leptospirosis
animal contact disease: rabies (2016)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)total: 11 years
male: 11 years
female: 11 years (2015)
total: 8 years
male: NA
female: NA (2007)
Urbanizationurban population: 40.7% of total population (2017)
rate of urbanization: 4.13% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
urban population: 35.2% of total population (2017)
rate of urbanization: 2.29% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
Drinking water sourceimproved:
urban: 85.6% of population
rural: 69.4% of population
total: 75.7% of population
unimproved:
urban: 14.4% of population
rural: 30.6% of population
total: 24.3% of population (2015 est.)
improved:
urban: 92.7% of population
rural: 74.4% of population
total: 80.6% of population
unimproved:
urban: 7.3% of population
rural: 25.6% of population
total: 19.4% of population (2015 est.)
Sanitation facility accessimproved:
urban: 94.5% of population
rural: 56% of population
total: 70.9% of population
unimproved:
urban: 5.5% of population
rural: 44% of population
total: 29.1% of population (2015 est.)
improved:
urban: 84.3% of population
rural: 73.9% of population
total: 77.4% of population
unimproved:
urban: 15.7% of population
rural: 26.1% of population
total: 22.6% of population (2012 est.)
Major cities - populationVIENTIANE (capital) 997,000 (2015)
RANGOON (Yangon) (capital) 4.802 million; Mandalay 1.167 million; Nay Pyi Taw 1.03 million (2015)
Maternal mortality rate197 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
178 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight26.5% (2011)
18.9% (2016)
Health expenditures1.9% of GDP (2014)
2.3% of GDP (2014)
Physicians density0.18 physicians/1,000 population (2012)
0.57 physicians/1,000 population (2012)
Hospital bed density1.5 beds/1,000 population (2012)
0.6 beds/1,000 population (2006)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate5.3% (2016)
5.8% (2016)
Contraceptive prevalence rate49.8% (2011/12)
52.2% (2015/16)
Dependency ratiostotal dependency ratio: 60.2
youth dependency ratio: 54
elderly dependency ratio: 6.2
potential support ratio: 16.1 (2015 est.)
total dependency ratio: 49.7
youth dependency ratio: 41.7
elderly dependency ratio: 8
potential support ratio: 12.6 (2015 est.)

Government

LaosBurma
Country name"conventional long form: Lao People's Democratic Republic
conventional short form: Laos
local long form: Sathalanalat Paxathipatai Paxaxon Lao
local short form: Mueang Lao (unofficial)
etymology: name means ""Land of the Lao [people]""
"
"conventional long form: Union of Burma
conventional short form: Burma
local long form: Pyidaungzu Thammada Myanma Naingngandaw (translated as the Republic of the Union of Myanmar)
local short form: Myanma Naingngandaw
former: Socialist Republic of the Union of Burma, Union of Myanmar
note: since 1989 the military authorities in Burma and the current parliamentary government have promoted the name Myanmar as a conventional name for their state; the US Government has not adopted the name
etymology: both ""Burma"" and ""Myanmar"" derive from the name of the majority Burmese Bamar ethnic group
"
Government typecommunist state
parliamentary republic
Capitalname: Vientiane (Viangchan)
geographic coordinates: 17 58 N, 102 36 E
time difference: UTC+7 (12 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
name: Rangoon (Yangon); note - Nay Pyi Taw is the administrative capital
geographic coordinates: 16 48 N, 96 09 E
time difference: UTC+6.5 (11.5 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions17 provinces (khoueng, singular and plural) and 1 capital city* (nakhon luang, singular and plural); Attapu, Bokeo, Bolikhamxai, Champasak, Houaphan, Khammouan, Louangnamtha, Louangphabang, Oudomxai, Phongsali, Salavan, Savannakhet, Viangchan (Vientiane)*, Viangchan, Xaignabouli, Xaisomboun, Xekong, Xiangkhouang
7 regions (taing-myar, singular - taing), 7 states (pyi ne-myar, singular - pyi ne), 1 union territory
regions: Ayeyawady (Irrawaddy), Bago, Magway, Mandalay, Sagaing, Taninthayi, Yangon (Rangoon)
states: Chin, Kachin, Kayah, Kayin, Mon, Rakhine, Shan
union territory: Nay Pyi Taw
Independence19 July 1949 (from France)
4 January 1948 (from the UK)
National holidayRepublic Day (National Day), 2 December (1975)
Independence Day, 4 January (1948); Union Day, 12 February (1947)
Constitutionprevious 1947 (preindependence); latest promulgated 13-15 August 1991; amended 2003, 2015 (2016)
history: previous 1947, 1974 (suspended until 2008); latest drafted 9 April 2008, approved by referendum 29 May 2008; amended 2015
amendments: proposals require at least 20% approval by the Assembly of the Union membership; passage of amendments to sections of the constitution on basic principles, government structure, branches of government, state emergencies, and amendment procedures requires 75% approval by the Assembly and approval in a referendum by absolute majority of registered voters; passage of amendments to other sections requires only 75% Assembly approval (2017)
Legal systemcivil law system similar in form to the French system
mixed legal system of English common law (as introduced in codifications designed for colonial India) and customary law
Suffrage18 years of age; universal
18 years of age; universal
Executive branchchief of state: President BOUNNYANG Vorachit (since 20 April 2016); Vice President PHANKHAM Viphavan (since 20 April 2016)
head of government: Prime Minister THONGLOUN Sisoulit (since 20 April 2016); Deputy Prime Ministers BOUNTHONG Chitmani, SONXAI Siphandon, SOMDI Douangdi (since 20 April 2016)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president, approved by the National Assembly
elections/appointments: president and vice president indirectly elected by the National Assembly for a 5-year term (no term limits); election last held on 20 April 2016 (next to be held in 2021); prime minister nominated by the president, elected by the National Assembly for 5-year term
election results: BOUNNYANG Vorachit (LPRP) elected president; PHANKHAM Viphavan (LPRP) elected vice president; percent of National Assembly vote - NA; THONGLOUN Sisoulit (LPRP) elected prime minister; percent of National Assembly vote - NA
"chief of state: President HTIN KYAW (since 30 March 2016); Vice Presidents MYINT SWE (since 30 March 2016) and HENRY VAN THIO (since 30 March 2016); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government
head of government: President HTIN KYAW (since 30 March 2016); Vice Presidents MYINT SWE (since 30 March 2016) and HENRY VAN THIO (since 30 March 2016)
note: a parliamentary bill creating the position of ""state counsellor"" was signed into law by President HTIN KYAW on 6 April 2016; a state counsellor serves the equivalent term of the president and is similar to a prime minister in that the holder acts as a link between the parliament and the executive branch
state counsellor: State Counselor AUNG SAN SUU KYI (since 6 April 2016); she concurrently serves as minister of foreign affairs and minister for the office of the president
cabinet: Cabinet appointments shared by the president and the commander-in-chief
elections/appointments: president indirectly elected by simple majority vote by the full Assembly of the Union from among 3 vice-presidential candidates nominated by the Presidential Electoral College (consists of members of the lower and upper houses and military members); the other 2 candidates become vice-presidents (president elected for a 5-year term); election last held on 15 March 2016 (next to be held in 2021)
election results: HTIN KYAW elected president; Assembly of the Union vote - HTIN KYAW (NLD) 360, MYINT SWE (USDP) 213, HENRY VAN THIO (NLD) 79 (652 votes cast)
"
Legislative branchdescription: unicameral National Assembly or Sapha Heng Xat (149 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by simple majority vote from candidate lists provided by the Lao People's Revolutionary Party; members serve 5-year terms)
elections: last held on 20 March 2016 (next to be held in 2021)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - LPRP 144, independent 5
description: bicameral Assembly of the Union or Pyidaungsu consists of an upper house - the House of Nationalities or Amyotha Hluttaw, (224 seats; 168 members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by absolute majority vote with a second round if needed and 56 appointed by the military; members serve 5-year terms) and a lower house - the House of Representatives or Pyithu Hluttaw, (440 seats; 330 members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote and 110 appointed by the military; members serve 5-year terms)
elections: last held on 8 November 2015 (next to be held in 2020)
election results: Upper House - percent of vote by party - NLD 60.3%, USDP 4.9%, ANP 4.5%, SNLD 1.3%, military 25%, other 4%, ; seats by party - NLD 135, USDP 11, ANP 10, SNLD 3, ZCD 2, TNP 2, independent 2, other 3, military appointees 56; Lower House - percent of vote by party - NLD 58%, USDP 6.8%, ANP 2.7%, SNLD 2.7%, military 25%, other 4.8%; seats by party - NLD 255, USDP 30, ANP 12, SNLD 12, PNO 3, TNP 3, ZCD 2, LNDP 2, independent 1, other 3, canceled due to insurgence 7, military appointees 110
Judicial branchhighest court(s): People's Supreme Court (consists of the court president and organized into criminal, civil, administrative, commercial, family, and juvenile chambers, each with a vice president and several judges)
judge selection and term of office: president of People's Supreme Court appointed by National Assembly on recommendation of the president of the republic for a 5-year term; vice presidents of People's Supreme Court appointed by the president of the republic on recommendation of the National Assembly; appointment of chamber judges NA; tenure of court vice presidents and chamber judges NA
subordinate courts: appellate courts; provincial, municipal, district, and military courts
highest court(s): Supreme Court of the Union (consists of the chief justice and 7-11 judges)
judge selection and term of office: chief justice and judges nominated by the president, with approval of the Lower House, and appointed by the president; judges normally serve until mandatory retirement at age 70
subordinate courts: High Courts of the Region; High Courts of the State; Court of the Self-Administered Division; Court of the Self-Administered Zone; district and township courts; special courts (for juvenile, municipal, and traffic offenses); courts martial
Political parties and leadersLao People's Revolutionary Party or LPRP [BOUNNYANG Vorachit]
note: other parties proscribed
All Mon Region Democracy Party or AMRDP (vacant)
Arakan National Party or ANP (vacant) (formed from the 2013 merger of the Rakhine Nationalities Development Party and the Arakan League for Democracy)
National Democratic Force or NDF [KHIN MAUNG SWE]
National League for Democracy or NLD [AUNG SAN SUU KYI]
National Unity Party or NUP [THAN TIN]
Pa-O National Organization or PNO [AUNG KHAM HTI]
Shan Nationalities Democratic Party or SNDP [SAI AIK PAUNG]
Shan Nationalities League for Democracy or SNLD [KHUN HTUN OO]
Ta'ang National Party or TNP [AIK MONE]
Union Solidarity and Development Party or USDP [THAN HTAY]
Zomi Congress for Democracy or ZCD [PU CIN SIAN THANG]
numerous smaller parties
Political pressure groups and leadersInternational Labor Organization
Thai border: Ethnic Nationalities Council or ENC
Federation of Trade Unions-Burma or FTUB (exiled trade union and labor advocates)
United Nationalities Federal Council or UNFC [NAI HONG SAR]
inside Burma: Kachin Independence Organization or KIO [Gen. LANYAW ZAWNG HRA]
Karen National Union or KNU [Gen. SAW MUTU SAY POE]
Karenni National People's Party or KNPP [KHUN ABEL TWEED]
United Wa State Army or UWSA [BAO YOU-XIANG]
88 Generation Students Group [collective leadership] (pro-democracy movement)
several other Chin, Karen, Mon, and Shan factions
note: many restrictions on freedom of expression have been relaxed by the government; a limited number of political groups, other than parties, are approved by the government
International organization participationADB, ARF, ASEAN, CP, EAS, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, Interpol, IOC, IPU, ISO (subscriber), ITU, MIGA, NAM, OIF, OPCW, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
ADB, ARF, ASEAN, BIMSTEC, CP, EAS, EITI (candidate country), FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITU, ITUC (NGOs), NAM, OPCW (signatory), SAARC (observer), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the USchief of mission: Ambassador MAI Xaignavong (since 3 August 2015)
chancery: 2222 S Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 332-6416
FAX: [1] (202) 332-4923
consulate(s): New York
chief of mission: Ambassador AUNG LYNN (since 16 September 2016)
chancery: 2300 S Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 332-3344
FAX: [1] (202) 332-4351
consulate(s) general: Los Angeles, New York
Diplomatic representation from the USchief of mission: Ambassador Rena BITTER (since 2 November 2016)
embassy: Thadeua Road, Kilometer 9, Ban Somvang Tai, Hatsayfong District, Vientiane
mailing address: American Embassy Vientiane, Unit 46222, APO AP 96546-6222
telephone: [856] 21-48-7000
FAX: [856] 21-48-7190
chief of mission: Ambassador Scot MARCIEL (since 27 April 2016)
embassy: 110 University Avenue, Kamayut Township, Rangoon
mailing address: Box B, APO AP 96546
telephone: [95] (1) 536-509, 535-756, 538-038
FAX: [95] (1) 511-069
Flag descriptionthree horizontal bands of red (top), blue (double width), and red with a large white disk centered in the blue band; the red bands recall the blood shed for liberation; the blue band represents the Mekong River and prosperity; the white disk symbolizes the full moon against the Mekong River, but also signifies the unity of the people under the Lao People's Revolutionary Party, as well as the country's bright future
design consists of three equal horizontal stripes of yellow (top), green, and red; centered on the green band is a large white five-pointed star that partially overlaps onto the adjacent colored stripes; the design revives the triband colors used by Burma from 1943-45, during the Japanese occupation
National anthem"name: ""Pheng Xat Lao"" (Hymn of the Lao People)
lyrics/music: SISANA Sisane/THONGDY Sounthonevichit
note: music adopted 1945, lyrics adopted 1975; the anthem's lyrics were changed following the 1975 Communist revolution that overthrew the monarchy
"
"name: ""Kaba Ma Kyei"" (Till the End of the World, Myanmar)
lyrics/music: SAYA TIN
note: adopted 1948; Burma is among a handful of non-European nations that have anthems rooted in indigenous traditions; the beginning portion of the anthem is a traditional Burmese anthem before transitioning into a Western-style orchestrated work
"
International law organization participationhas not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
National symbol(s)elephant; national colors: red, white, blue
chinthe (mythical lion); national colors: yellow, green, red, white
Citizenshipcitizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Laos
dual citizenship recognized: no
residency requirement for naturalization: 10 years
citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: both parents must be citizens of Burma
dual citizenship recognized: no
residency requirement for naturalization: none
note: an applicant for naturalization must be the child or spouse of a citizen

Economy

LaosBurma
Economy - overviewThe government of Laos, one of the few remaining one-party communist states, began decentralizing control and encouraging private enterprise in 1986. Economic growth averaged more than 6% per year in the period 1988-2008, and Laos' growth has more recently been amongst the fastest in Asia, averaging more than 7% per year for most of the last decade.

Nevertheless, Laos remains a country with an underdeveloped infrastructure, particularly in rural areas. It has a basic, but improving, road system, and limited external and internal land-line telecommunications. Electricity is available to 83% of the population. Agriculture, dominated by rice cultivation in lowland areas, accounts for about 20% of GDP and 73% of total employment. Recently, the country has faced a persistent current account deficit, falling foreign currency reserves, and growing public debt, as slow recovery of the global economy, especially that of China, has driven down the prices of its mineral exports.

Laos' economy is heavily dependent on capital-intensive natural resource exports. The economy has benefited from high-profile foreign direct investment in hydropower dams along the Mekong River, copper and gold mining, logging, and construction, although some projects in these industries have drawn criticism for their environmental impacts.

Laos gained Normal Trade Relations status with the US in 2004 and applied for Generalized System of Preferences trade benefits in 2013 after being admitted to the World Trade Organization earlier in the year. Laos held the chairmanship of ASEAN in 2016. Laos is in the process of implementing a value-added tax system. The government appears committed to raising the country's profile among foreign investors and has developed special economic zones replete with generous tax incentives, but a limited labor pool, a small domestic market, and corruption remain impediments to investment. Laos also has ongoing problems with the business environment, including onerous registration requirements, a gap between legislation and implementation, and unclear or conflicting regulations.
Since the transition to a civilian government in 2011, Burma has begun an economic overhaul aimed at attracting foreign investment and reintegrating into the global economy. Economic reforms have included establishing a managed float of the Burmese kyat in 2012, granting the Central Bank operational independence in July 2013, enacting a new anti-corruption law in September 2013, and granting licenses to nine foreign banks in 2014 and four more foreign banks in 2016. State Counselor AUNG SAN SUU KYI and the ruling National League for Democracy, who took power in March 2016, are seeking to improve Burma’s investment climate, following the US sanctions lift in October 2016 and reinstatement of Generalized System of Preferences trade benefits in November 2016. In October 2016, Burma passed a revised foreign investment law that consolidates investment regulations and eases the investment approval process. Parliament is also expected to pass amendments to the Companies Law and Gemstone Law later this year.

The government reforms since 2011 and the subsequent easing of most Western sanctions led to accelerated growth, from under 6% in 2011 to roughly 7% in 2013 through 2017. Burma’s abundant natural resources and young labor force are attracting foreign investment in the energy, garment, information technology, and food and beverage sectors.

Despite these improvements, living standards have not improved for the majority of the people residing in rural areas. Burma remains one of the poorest countries in Asia – approximately 26% of the country’s 51 million people live in poverty. The isolationist policies and economic mismanagement of previous governments have left Burma with poor infrastructure, endemic corruption, underdeveloped human resources, and inadequate access to capital, which will require a major commitment to reverse. The Burmese government has been slow to address impediments to economic development such as insecure land rights, a restrictive trade licensing system, an opaque revenue collection system, and an antiquated banking system. AUNG SAN SUU KYI’s government is focusing on accelerating agricultural productivity and land reforms, modernizing and opening the financial sector, and developing transportation and electricity infrastructure.
GDP (purchasing power parity)$49.21 billion (2017 est.)
$46.03 billion (2016 est.)
$43.01 billion (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars
$330.9 billion (2017 est.)
$308.6 billion (2016 est.)
$290.8 billion (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars
GDP - real growth rate6.9% (2017 est.)
7% (2016 est.)
7.3% (2015 est.)
7.2% (2017 est.)
6.1% (2016 est.)
7% (2015 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$7,400 (2017 est.)
$7,000 (2016 est.)
$6,600 (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars
$6,300 (2017 est.)
$5,900 (2016 est.)
$5,600 (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars
GDP - composition by sectoragriculture: 20.9%
industry: 33.2%
services: 39.1% (2017 est.)
agriculture: 24.8%
industry: 35.4%
services: 39.9% (2017 est.)
Population below poverty line22% (2013 est.)
25.6% (2016 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: 3.3%
highest 10%: 30.3% (2008)
lowest 10%: 2.8%
highest 10%: 32.4% (1998)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)2.3% (2017 est.)
2% (2016 est.)
6.5% (2017 est.)
6.8% (2016 est.)
Labor force3.582 million (2017 est.)
22.3 million (2017 est.)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: 73.1%
industry: 6.1%
services: 20.6% (2012 est.)
agriculture: 70%
industry: 7%
services: 23% (2001 est.)
Unemployment rate1.5% (2016 est.)
1.5% (2016 est.)
4% (2017 est.)
4% (2016 est.)
Budgetrevenues: $3.144 billion
expenditures: $4.098 billion (2017 est.)
revenues: $9.211 billion
expenditures: $11.45 billion (2017 est.)
Industriesmining (copper, tin, gold, gypsum); timber, electric power, agricultural processing, rubber, construction, garments, cement, tourism
agricultural processing; wood and wood products; copper, tin, tungsten, iron; cement, construction materials; pharmaceuticals; fertilizer; oil and natural gas; garments; jade and gems
Industrial production growth rate8% (2017 est.)
9.6% (2017 est.)
Agriculture - productssweet potatoes, vegetables, corn, coffee, sugarcane, tobacco, cotton, tea, peanuts, rice; cassava (manioc, tapioca), water buffalo, pigs, cattle, poultry
rice, pulses, beans, sesame, groundnuts; sugarcane; fish and fish products; hardwood
Exports$2.881 billion (2017 est.)
$2.705 billion (2016 est.)
$10.07 billion (2017 est.)
$9.085 billion (2016 est.)
note: official export figures are grossly underestimated due to the value of timber, gems, narcotics, rice, and other products smuggled to Thailand, China, and Bangladesh
Exports - commoditieswood products, coffee, electricity, tin, copper, gold, cassava
natural gas; wood products; pulses and beans; fish; rice; clothing; minerals, including jade and gems
Exports - partnersThailand 40.1%, China 28.5%, Vietnam 13.7% (2016)
China 40.6%, Thailand 19.1%, India 8.8%, Singapore 7.6%, Japan 5.7% (2016)
Imports$5.852 billion (2017 est.)
$5.547 billion (2016 est.)
$15.33 billion (2017 est.)
$12.8 billion (2016 est.)
note: import figures are grossly underestimated due to the value of consumer goods, diesel fuel, and other products smuggled in from Thailand, China, Malaysia, and India
Imports - commoditiesmachinery and equipment, vehicles, fuel, consumer goods
fabric; petroleum products; fertilizer; plastics; machinery; transport equipment; cement, construction materials; food products? edible oil
Imports - partnersThailand 64.6%, China 16.5%, Vietnam 9.4% (2016)
China 33.9%, Singapore 14.3%, Thailand 12.5%, Japan 7.9%, India 6.9%, Malaysia 4.3% (2016)
Debt - external$13.64 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$12.9 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$9.713 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$8.2 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Exchange rateskips (LAK) per US dollar -
8,231.1 (2017 est.)
8,129.1 (2016 est.)
8,129.1 (2015 est.)
8,147.9 (2014 est.)
8,049 (2013 est.)
kyats (MMK) per US dollar -
1,361.9 (2017 est.)
1,234.87 (2016 est.)
1,234.87 (2015 est.)
1,162.62 (2014 est.)
984.35 (2013 est.)
Fiscal year1 October - 30 September
1 April - 31 March
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$989.8 million (31 December 2017 est.)
$940.1 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$5.032 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$4.63 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Current Account Balance-$1.653 billion (2017 est.)
-$1.678 billion (2016 est.)
-$4.393 billion (2017 est.)
-$3.789 billion (2016 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate)$17.15 billion (2016 est.)
$66.97 billion (2016 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares$1.012 billion (2012 est.)
$576.8 million (2011 est.)
$NA
Central bank discount rate4.3% (31 December 2010)
4% (31 December 2009)
9.95% (31 December 2010)
12% (31 December 2009)
Commercial bank prime lending rate18.5% (31 December 2017 est.)
18% (31 December 2016 est.)
14% (31 December 2017 est.)
13% (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of domestic credit$9.52 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$8.381 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$28.48 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$23.08 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of narrow money$1.303 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$1.243 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$18.53 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$15.84 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Taxes and other revenues18.3% of GDP (2017 est.)
13.8% of GDP (2017 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-5.6% of GDP (2017 est.)
-3.3% of GDP (2017 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 62.6%
government consumption: 13.4%
investment in fixed capital: 36%
investment in inventories: 3.1%
exports of goods and services: 35.7%
imports of goods and services: -50.8% (2017 est.)
household consumption: 50.6%
government consumption: 15.2%
investment in fixed capital: 37.9%
investment in inventories: 2.6%
exports of goods and services: 20.6%
imports of goods and services: -26.9% (2017 est.)
Gross national saving18% of GDP (2017 est.)
14.8% of GDP (2016 est.)
14.5% of GDP (2015 est.)
16.2% of GDP (2017 est.)
16.5% of GDP (2016 est.)
19.3% of GDP (2015 est.)

Energy

LaosBurma
Electricity - production11.46 billion kWh (2015 est.)
15.48 billion kWh (2015 est.)
Electricity - consumption4.239 billion kWh (2015 est.)
12.91 billion kWh (2015 est.)
Electricity - exports8.469 billion kWh (2015 est.)
0 kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - imports2.05 billion kWh (2015 est.)
0 kWh (2016 est.)
Oil - production0 bbl/day (2016 est.)
15,000 bbl/day (2016 est.)
Oil - imports0 bbl/day (2014 est.)
28.5 bbl/day (2014 est.)
Oil - exports0 bbl/day (2014 est.)
2,814 bbl/day (2014 est.)
Oil - proved reserves0 bbl (1 January 2017 es)
139 million bbl (1 January 2017 es)
Natural gas - proved reserves0 cu m (1 January 2014 es)
637.1 billion cu m (1 January 2017 es)
Natural gas - production0 cu m (2013 est.)
17.5 billion cu m (2015 est.)
Natural gas - consumption0 cu m (2013 est.)
4.766 billion cu m (2015 est.)
Natural gas - exports0 cu m (2013 est.)
13.91 billion cu m (2015 est.)
Natural gas - imports0 cu m (2013 est.)
0 cu m (2013 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity4.541 million kW (2015 est.)
4.783 million kW (2015 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels1.1% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
33.9% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants98.2% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
65.9% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels0% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
0% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources0.7% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
0.3% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
Refined petroleum products - production0 bbl/day (2014 est.)
15,870 bbl/day (2014 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption3,500 bbl/day (2015 est.)
91,000 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports0 bbl/day (2014 est.)
0 bbl/day (2014 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports3,480 bbl/day (2014 est.)
73,260 bbl/day (2014 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy500,000 Mt (2013 est.)
15 million Mt (2013 est.)
Electricity accesspopulation without electricity: 900,000
electrification - total population: 87%
electrification - urban areas: 97%
electrification - rural areas: 82% (2013)
population without electricity: 36,300,000
electrification - total population: 52%
electrification - urban areas: 95%
electrification - rural areas: 31% (2013)

Telecommunications

LaosBurma
Telephones - main lines in usetotal subscriptions: 1,266,605
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 18 (July 2016 est.)
total subscriptions: 514,385
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 1 (July 2016 est.)
Telephones - mobile cellulartotal: 3.727 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 54 (July 2016 est.)
total: 48,728,399
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 86 (July 2016 est.)
Telephone systemgeneral assessment: service to public is generally improving; the government relies on a radiotelephone network to communicate with remote areas
domestic: mobile cellular network coverage including 3G is relatively widespread, although usage has slowed as the regulator imposed a strict policy on pricing and competition is effectively discouraged; network performance has suffered because of insufficient maintenance and upgrades
international: country code - 856; satellite earth station - 1 Intersputnik (Indian Ocean region) and a second to be developed by China (2017)
general assessment: meets minimum requirements for local and intercity service for business and government
domestic: the government eased its monopoly on communications in 2013 and granted telecom licenses to three new operators, which has resulted in a dramatic expansion of the wireless network
international: country code - 95; landing point for the SEA-ME-WE-3 optical telecommunications submarine cable that provides links to Asia, the Middle East, and Europe; satellite earth stations - 2, Intelsat (Indian Ocean) and ShinSat (2016)
Internet country code.la
.mm
Internet userstotal: 1.258 million
percent of population: 18.2% (July 2016 est.)
total: 14,264,308
percent of population: 25.1% (July 2016 est.)
Broadcast media6 TV stations operating out of Vientiane - 3 government-operated and the others commercial; 17 provincial stations operating with nearly all programming relayed via satellite from the government-operated stations in Vientiane; Chinese and Vietnamese programming relayed via satellite from Lao National TV; broadcasts available from stations in Thailand and Vietnam in border areas; multi-channel satellite and cable TV systems provide access to a wide range of foreign stations; state-controlled radio with state-operated Lao National Radio (LNR) broadcasting on 5 frequencies - 1 AM, 1 SW, and 3 FM; LNR's AM and FM programs are relayed via satellite constituting a large part of the programming schedules of the provincial radio stations; Thai radio broadcasts available in border areas and transmissions of multiple international broadcasters are also accessible (2012)
government controls all domestic broadcast media; 2 state-controlled TV stations with 1 of the stations controlled by the armed forces; 2 pay-TV stations are joint state-private ventures; access to satellite TV is limited; 1 state-controlled domestic radio station and 9 FM stations that are joint state-private ventures; transmissions of several international broadcasters are available in parts of Burma; the Voice of America (VOA), Radio Free Asia (RFA), BBC Burmese service, the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), and Radio Australia use shortwave to broadcast in Burma; VOA, RFA, and DVB produce daily TV news programs that are transmitted by satellite to audiences in Burma; in March 2017, the government granted licenses to 5 private broadcasters, allowing them digital free-to-air TV channels to be operated in partnership with government-owned Myanmar Radio and Television (MRTV) and will rely upon MRTV’s transmission infrastructure; the new channels are expected to begin airing programming early in 2018 (2017)

Transportation

LaosBurma
Roadwaystotal: 39,586 km
paved: 5,415 km
unpaved: 34,171 km (2009)
total: 34,377 km (includes 358 km of expressways) (2010)
Waterways4,600 km (primarily on the Mekong River and its tributaries; 2,900 additional km are intermittently navigable by craft drawing less than 0.5 m) (2012)
12,800 km (2011)
Pipelinesrefined products 540 km (2013)
gas 3,739 km; oil 1,321 km (2017)
Merchant marinetotal: 1
by type: general cargo 1 (2017)
total: 97
by type: bulk carrier 1, general cargo 43, Oil tanker 5, other 48 (2017)
Airports41 (2013)
64 (2013)
Airports - with paved runwaystotal: 8
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2017)
total: 36
over 3,047 m: 12
2,438 to 3,047 m: 11
1,524 to 2,437 m: 12
under 914 m: 1 (2017)
Airports - with unpaved runwaystotal: 33
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 9
under 914 m: 22 (2013)
total: 28
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 10
under 914 m: 13 (2013)
National air transport systemnumber of registered air carriers: 1
inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 11
annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 1,181,187
annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 1,356,497 mt-km (2015)
number of registered air carriers: 11
inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 45
annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 2,029,139
annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 3,365,967 mt-km (2015)
Civil aircraft registration country code prefixRDPL (2016)
XY (2016)

Military

LaosBurma
Military branchesLao People's Armed Forces (LPAF): Lao People's Army (LPA, includes Riverine Force), Air Force (2011)
Burmese Defense Service (Tatmadaw): Army (Tatmadaw Kyi), Navy (Tatmadaw Yay), Air Force (Tatmadaw Lay) (2013)
Military service age and obligation18 years of age for compulsory or voluntary military service; conscript service obligation - minimum 18-months (2012)
18-35 years of age (men) and 18-27 years of age (women) for voluntary military service; no conscription (a 2010 law reintroducing conscription has not yet entered into force); 2-year service obligation; male (ages 18-45) and female (ages 18-35) professionals (including doctors, engineers, mechanics) serve up to 3 years; service terms may be stretched to 5 years in an officially declared emergency; Burma signed the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) on 15 August 1991; on 27 June 2012, the regime signed a Joint Action Plan on prevention of child recruitment; in February 2013, the military formed a new task force to address forced child conscription; approximately 600 children have been released from military service since the signing of the joint action plan (2015)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP0.2% of GDP (2013)
0.22% of GDP (2012)
0.23% of GDP (2011)
4.08% of GDP (2015)
3.58% of GDP (2014)
3.81% of GDP (2013)
3.71% of GDP (2012)

Transnational Issues

LaosBurma
Disputes - internationalsoutheast Asian states have enhanced border surveillance to check the spread of avian flu; talks continue on completion of demarcation with Thailand but disputes remain over islands in the Mekong River; Cambodia and Laos have a longstanding border demarcation dispute; concern among Mekong River Commission members that China's construction of eight dams on the Upper Mekong River and construction of more dams on its tributaries will affect water levels, sediment flows, and fisheries; Cambodia and Vietnam are concerned about Laos' extensive plans for upstream dam construction for the same reasons
over half of Burma's population consists of diverse ethnic groups who have substantial numbers of kin in neighboring countries; the Naf River on the border with Bangladesh serves as a smuggling and illegal transit route; Bangladesh struggles to accommodate 29,000 Rohingya, Burmese Muslim minority from Arakan State, living as refugees in Cox's Bazar; Burmese border authorities are constructing a 200 km (124 mi) wire fence designed to deter illegal cross-border transit and tensions from the military build-up along border with Bangladesh in 2010; Bangladesh referred its maritime boundary claims with Burma and India to the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea; Burmese forces attempting to dig in to the largely autonomous Shan State to rout local militias tied to the drug trade, prompts local residents to periodically flee into neighboring Yunnan Province in China; fencing along the India-Burma international border at Manipur's Moreh town is in progress to check illegal drug trafficking and movement of militants; over 100,000 mostly Karen refugees and asylum seekers fleeing civil strife, political upheaval, and economic stagnation in Burma were living in remote camps in Thailand near the border as of May 2017
Illicit drugsestimated opium poppy cultivation in 2015 was estimated to be 5,700 hectares, compared with 6,200 hectares in 2014; estimated potential production of between 84 and 176 mt of raw opium; unsubstantiated reports of domestic methamphetamine production; growing domestic methamphetamine problem
world's second largest producer of illicit opium with an estimated poppy cultivation totaling 55,500 hectares in 2015 and an estimated potential production of 647 mt of raw opium; Shan state is the source of 91% of Burma's poppy cultivation; lack of government will to take on major narcotrafficking groups and lack of serious commitment against money laundering continues to hinder the overall antidrug effort; major source of methamphetamine and heroin for regional consumption
Trafficking in personscurrent situation: Laos is a source and, to a lesser extent, transit and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking; Lao economic migrants may encounter conditions of forced labor or sexual exploitation in destination countries, most often Thailand; Lao women and girls are exploited in Thailand’s commercial sex trade, domestic service, factories, and agriculture; a small, possibly growing, number of Lao women and girls are sold as brides in China and South Korea and subsequently sex trafficked; Lao men and boys are victims of forced labor in the Thai fishing, construction, and agriculture industries; some Lao children, as well as Vietnamese and Chinese women and girls, are subjected to sex trafficking in Laos; other Vietnamese and Chinese, and possibly Burmese, adults and girls transit Laos for sexual and labor exploitation in neighboring countries, particularly Thailand
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List – Laos does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so; authorities sustained moderate efforts to investigate, prosecute, and convict trafficking offenders; the government failed to make progress in proactively identifying victims exploited within the country or among those deported from abroad; the government continues to rely almost entirely on local and international organizations to provide and fund services to trafficking victims; although Lao men and boys are trafficked, most protective services are only available to women and girls, and long-term support is lacking; modest prevention efforts include the promotion of anti-trafficking awareness on state-controlled media (2015)
current situation: Burma is a source country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purpose of forced labor and for women and children subjected to sex trafficking; Burmese adult and child labor migrants travel to East Asia, the Middle East, South Asia, and the US, where men are forced to work in the fishing, manufacturing, forestry, and construction industries and women and girls are forced into prostitution, domestic servitude, or forced labor in the garment sector; some Burmese economic migrants and Rohingya asylum seekers have become forced laborers on Thai fishing boats; some military personnel and armed ethnic groups unlawfully conscript child soldiers or coerce adults and children into forced labor; domestically, adults and children from ethnic areas are vulnerable to forced labor on plantations and in mines, while children may also be subject to forced prostitution, domestic service, and begging
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List – Burma does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, but it is making significant efforts to do so; the government has a written plan that, if implemented, would constitute making a significant effort toward meeting the minimum standard for eliminating human trafficking; in 2014, law enforcement continued to investigate and prosecute cross-border trafficking offenses but did little to address domestic trafficking; no civilians or government officials were prosecuted or convicted for the recruitment of child soldiers, a serious problem that is hampered by corruption and the influence of the military; victim referral and protection services remained inadequate, especially for men, and left victims vulnerable to being re-trafficked; the government coordinated anti-trafficking programs as part of its five-year national action plan (2015)

Source: CIA Factbook