Laos Emerges as a Growing Player in the Global Tea Trade: Export Trends and Import Dynamics

Laos, a country rich in natural beauty and cultural heritage, has made significant strides in the global tea trade.

Tea Imports Exports

Laos’ Tea Exports

In 2021, Laos ranked as the 63rd largest exporter of tea worldwide, with tea exports valued at $3.44M. Tea stood at the 124th position among Laos’ most exported products during the same year. The primary destinations for Laos’ tea exports were Thailand, accounting for a substantial share of $1.85M, followed by China at $1.25M, Vietnam at $170k, Germany at $139k, and France at $14.6k.

Emerging Export Markets

Laos experienced notable growth in tea exports between 2020 and 2021, signaling the country’s increasing presence in international tea markets. The fastest-growing export markets for Lao tea during this period were Thailand, with a remarkable increase of $1.19M, followed by China at $932k, and Vietnam at $151k. These figures highlight Laos’ success in diversifying its tea export destinations and capitalizing on emerging market opportunities.

Where Does Laos Export Its Tea (2021)

ContinentCountryTrade Value
AsiaUnited Arab Emirates24
AsiaSouth Korea116
AsiaChinese Taipei4,780
EuropeUnited Kingdom5,222

Tea Imports into Laos

In 2021, Laos became the 95th largest tea importer globally, with tea imports amounting to $6.78M. Tea ranked as the 202nd most imported product in Laos during the same year. Laos primarily sourced its tea imports from Thailand, accounting for a significant share of $5.49M. Other notable import sources included China at $1.21M, Vietnam at $52.9k, Hong Kong at $13.9k, and Japan at $3.92k.

Expanding Import Markets

Laos witnessed substantial growth in tea imports between 2020 and 2021, highlighting an increasing demand for diverse tea varieties among its population. The fastest-growing import markets for tea in Laos during this period were China, with an impressive increase of $1.2M, followed by Hong Kong at $13.9k, and Japan at $3.92k. These figures demonstrate Laos’ efforts to diversify its tea suppliers and cater to the evolving preferences of tea enthusiasts within the country.

Tariff Landscape

As of 2018, the average tariff for tea imports into Laos stood at 38.3%. Laos faces higher import tariffs for tea from several countries, including Angola, Burundi, Benin, Burkina Faso, and Botswana, with the tariff rate set at 40% under the Most Favored Nation duty rate treatment. These tariffs impose challenges for tea importers and underscore the importance of trade negotiations and agreements to foster a more favorable tariff environment.

Where Does Laos Import Its Tea (2021)

ContinentCountryTrade Value
AsiaUnited Arab Emirates3,199
AsiaHong Kong13,908
AsiaSouth Korea527
AsiaChinese Taipei839

Vietnam Tea: A Popular and Reliable Choice for Laos’s Imports

Vietnam tea has consistently been a popular and trustworthy choice for Laos, thanks to its premium quality and competitive pricing. In 2021, Laos imported tea from Vietnam with a total value of $52,939, marking a 6% increase compared to the previous year. Vietnam holds a significant position as an important supplier of tea to Laos, catering to its tea requirements effectively.


Laos has emerged as a noteworthy player in the global tea trade, with growing exports and a vibrant market for imports. The country’s successful export partnerships with Thailand, China, and Vietnam, along with its increasing presence in emerging markets, contribute to the rising figures of tea exports. Additionally, Laos’ diverse import sources and expanding import markets reflect its commitment to meeting the demands of tea enthusiasts for a wide range of high-quality teas. Addressing tariff barriers and fostering trade collaborations will be essential for Laos to further enhance its position in the global tea industry, bolster its export potential, and ensure a sustainable tea trade ecosystem. By embracing market dynamics and promoting a conducive trade environment, Laos can continue to make valuable contributions to the global tea market while nurturing its domestic tea industry.

Data: BACI

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