From the Document: "The Lao People's Democratic Republic (LPDR or Laos) has a population of 7.2 million in a land-locked area around the size of Utah. Laos has been ruled by a single party, the Lao People's Revolutionary Party, for more than four decades. The National Assembly, 73% of which consists of new members elected in 2016, reportedly has become more outspoken in recent years, particularly on the issue of official corruption. Laos is a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the primary multilateral grouping in Southeast Asia. The LPDR depends heavily on foreign investment, much of it from the People's Republic of China (PRC), for its infrastructure development. Since a 1986 economic opening, Laos has gradually implemented market-based economic reforms, and in 2013 became a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The economy has been growing steadily during the past decade, but Laos remains one of Asia's poorest nations."
CRS In Focus, IF10236
Congressional Research Service: https://crsreports.congress.gov/