Chinese investment in Laos tops US$16 billion

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China continues to be the largest foreign investor in Laos, pumping about US$16.4 billion into 833 projects, according to Planning and Investment Minister Khamjane Vongphosy.

Areas of Chinese investment are diverse, with the country ploughing money into small, medium and large enterprises, state-owned enterprises and private companies.

A large chunk of investment money has funded the Laos-China railway, the Vientiane-Vangvieng expressway, the Saysettha Development Zone, the Boten-Bohan Special Economic Zone, power transmission lines and hydropower plants, which have delivered significant benefits to both Laos and China, Khamjane said.

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Speaking at a meeting of Lao and Chinese government officials and business operators, he said, “On this occasion, I would like to discuss ways to promote and manage private sector investment in Laos and abroad in the future.”

“There is considerable interest in investment in the mining sector, so in the process of project consideration and approval, it is important to focus on the terms and conditions set by investors.”

On energy generation, it was also important to continue to monitor the implementation of Memorandums of Understanding and Project Development Agreements, Khamjane said.
The government plans to expand the electricity market in neighbouring countries to create openings for projects that have potential but lack market opportunities, he added.

Agriculturealso has a great deal of potential and has received a lot of attention from Chinese investors, he said, adding that the government would encourage increased production to take advantage of new market opportunities for fruit and vegetables in China.
Meanwhile, the service sector and infrastructure development were growing rapidly, with the building of new roads, districts and ports, which require large amounts of land.

This meant that both central and local governments must quickly determine the boundaries of concession areas so that investors can design and develop projects in a short space of time, he said.

Friday’s meeting broached China’s business and investment operations in Laos, and aimed to tighten relations between the Lao government and Chinese investors.

At the same time, China is building a platform for broader understanding between the Lao government and investors and creating mechanisms to enable government officials to understand the difficulties faced by Chinese businesses in Laos.

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