cars and shifting cultivation1.jpg

A blast from the past. In the early 1990 as the upper-Mekong borders started to open there was a flurry of interest in the “Economic Quadrangle” that would link the economies of Laos, Burma, China and Thailand. Early opportunists found that good profits could be made from exporting cars, through Thailand and Laos, into southern China via the backdoor border crossing at Boten-Mohan. Some great profits were made (and one of my friends made good money driving the cars through Laos) but when Chinese customs authorities started to crack down and impose heavy import duties a lot of brand new cars were left languishing in paddocks in northern Laos. I captured this forlorn consignment near Nateey (just south of the border with China) in early 1994. The burnt upland fields in the background show that more conventional economic activities were continuing unabated!

Regionalisation and globalisation has moved on but I am sure there are still many regulatory traps for the unwary!