Lao, Chinese companies sign deals

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - Lao and Chinese companies on Friday signed bilateral trade agreements worth US$260 million during meetings that took place in Vientiane.

The agreements covered trade in copper, rubber, bananas and cassava as well as wood and charcoal products.

The two nations have long been strategic trade and investment partners. A 23.5 per cent increase in trade volume during the first six months of this year put Laos top of the list among China’s Asean trading partners.

According to trade officials, China is Laos’ second largest trading partner, with exports of agricultural products from Laos to China seeing a significant increase in recent years.

To further boost the trade partnership between Laos and China, 17 Chinese companies representing the sectors of agriculture, mining and textiles, and other light industry sectors, came to Vientiane last week to meet with Lao trade partners.

The Chinese delegation was led by the Foreign Trade Department under China’s Ministry of Commerce, Deputy Director General Zhi Luxun, and welcomed by Executive Vice President of the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr Daovone Phachanthavong.

In his welcome remarks, Daovone said Laos and China were neighbours and regular exchange visits by their governments’ high-ranking officials served to boost cooperation.

“Personally, I hope that more Chinese businesses will invest in Laos when construction of the Laos-China railway project is completed in 2021,” he said.

He went on to say that Laos benefited from its geographical location and was a hub enabling other Asean countries to connect to China.

Also addressing the gathering, Zhi said the signing of documents on trade agreements by Chinese and Lao businesses would help to further promote bilateral trade cooperation between Laos and China.

“The bilateral trade value of China and Laos was recorded at US$2.1 billion in the first nine months of this year. The value of imports from Laos totalled US$1.1 billion while Chinese exports to Laos were worth US$1 billion,” he said.

China is ranked as the top investor in Laos. In the first six months of this year, Chinese investments in Laos were valued at US$640 million, an increase of 84.6 per cent compared to the same period last year.

Director General of the Planning and Cooperation Department under the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Silisamphan Vorachit, and other senior officials from both sides attending the signing ceremony.

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