Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry strengthens ties with China-Asean Business Council
VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - Laos is seeking more quality investors from China, a close neighbour that has already invested in many projects in the country.
Last week, the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LNCCI) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the China-Asean Business Council (CABC) during a Lao and Chinese business operators’ meeting in Beijing.
The MOU aims to strengthen cooperation between the two parties.
Through the agreement, the Lao side will share information about the qualifications of Chinese companies that are interested in investing in Laos with the council because it has a special selection system, Executive Vice President of the chamber Mr Thanongsinh Kanlagna told Vientiane Times yesterday.
Chinese investors are focusing on the Asean region, including Laos. China is a large contributor to foreign direct investment in Laos.
Sectors that Chinese companies are considering include the construction of expressways, hospitals, supply of industrial products, tourism, trading, real estate, economic zones, skill development, duty free zones, and agriculture.
Mr Thanongsinh said Chinese investors are very keen to operate businesses in Laos. When the Lao-Chinese business operators’ meeting was held in Beijing last week, it attracted a lot of participants.
More than 300 companies in China asked to attend the event but the venue could accommodate only about 120 firms to exchange investment information with Laos and other Asean members.
The Laos-China railway, the trade conflict between China and the United States, being a transit route to other Asean members and transaction cooperation between Lao and Chinese banks are significant reasons to attract Chinese companies to Laos, the chamber’s Executive Vice President explained.
Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith spoke at the meeting which took place during his official visit to China from January 5 to 9.
Mr Thongloun said Laos welcomes Chinese firms’ investment in Laos to contribute to social and economic development, and promised that Laos would continue to improve the business climate to attract more foreign direct investment.
Chinese companies have invested in and are operating in many fields in Laos such as the Saysetha Economic Zone, Thatluang special economic zone, shopping centres, and hydropower.
Mr Thanongsinh, who addressed the meeting, said that under the Belt and Road Initiative of Chinese President Xi Jinping, Laos has strong potential for trade and investment operations.
In addition to closer relations between the two countries that provide facilities for trade operations and cooperation, Laos also has a strategic location to connect China with countries in the Mekong sub-region and Asean members. To benefit from these opportunities, Laos is developing infrastructure such as the Laos-China railway.
Sectors that draw a lot of foreign direct investment are hydropower, agriculture, construction, tourism and logistics. Investment does not just enter Lao markets, but also the Asean market, which has more than 600 million people.