Eight months after the Communist Pathet Lao forces declared a republic in Laos, the country's economic future continues to be uncertain.
GV, LV: open market with fruit and vegetables on display (4 shots)
SV, CU: poultry on display (2 shots)
CU: live poultry for sale.
SV, CU meat being sold from private stall (3 shots)
GV EXTERIOR OF: government shop
SV INTERIOR: with women selling from behind counter
CU: tinned milk
CU: box of vacuum flasks made in China.
CU, SV: material for sale and being measured (2 shots)
LV EXTERIOR OF: small government shop
SV, CU INTERIOR: with people selling behind counter and goods on display. (3 shots)
GV EXTERIOR: government-run diplomatic shop.
SV, CU INTERIOR: European diplomats buying goods (3 shots)
LV, SV: men unloading cement from barge and driving lorry away. (2 shots)
Laos was declared a Republic in December, 1975 after the abolition of the monarchy. Ex-King Savang Watthana become an adviser to the new authorities. In foreign policy, the country has become strongly aligned with Vietnam and the two countries have agreed to work on a number of joint construction projects.
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Background: Eight months after the Communist Pathet Lao forces declared a republic in Laos, the country's economic future continues to be uncertain.
SYNOPSIS: A number of goods have completely disappeared from the open markets in the Laotian administrative capital, Vientiane. Many things are now only available on the black market at very high prices. One of the things that used to be very popular was poultry but most of the birds available now weigh only one kilogramme (2.2 pounds) and cost as much as 800 kip (four US dollars). Many people have increased the rice in their diet to make up for the lack of other foodstuffs. It is very unusual to see meat on sale at private market stalls as a ruling restricts the sale of most meat to government-run stalls.
There are also a number of government shops where it is possible to buy the tinned and packaged goods. like dried milk. The Pathet Lao is trying to expand rice production with the help of a United Nations assisted programme to resettle war refugees in their old farming areas. There are also plans to increase meat and other food production. But after a long and bloody war and a period of coalition rule in Laos many of the country's farmers have gone to live in neighbouring Thailand. Soviet and other Communist aid has not made up for the loss of American aid and the flow of food supplies from Thailand has almost halted.
A new currency was introduced in the country in June to try and combat inflation. The new Liberation Kip is worth 20 of the old Vientiane Kips. But if the Laotian economy is to flourish, the country must try and increase the flow of goods across the Mekong River from Thailand.