Development and investment opportunities in Laos and the region along with the nation’s exciting potential have been showcased at the Boao Forum held in Vientiane from September 28-29.
The synergies between the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the Southeast Asian region’s development strategy, especially significant development in Laos as a link between Asean and China, were tabled as important topics for discussion among participants.
In his opening ceremony address at the forum, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Somdy Duangdy said the BRI is a path of peace, prosperity and civilisation, which would create favourable conditions to promote more effective trade, investment and visits between Laos, China and Asean.
“The initiative complements the development strategy of Laos in becoming more connected, or transformed from a landlocked to a land-linked country,” Mr Somdy said.
Domestic political stability, stable economic growth averaging 7 percent per year, the government’s efforts in improving legal issues to facilitate the investment environment, and infrastructure, especially the Laos-China Rail project, were covered by DPM Somdy.
He noted that investment in Laos not only meant expanding into the nation’s market but also accessing the Asean market which has more than 600 million people.
Secretary General of Boao Forum for Asia, Li Baodong conveyed his confidence in the future of economic and trade cooperation with Laos and the government’s encouragement and welcome for investors.
He highlighted Laos’ political stability, social safety, its amity to neighbours and the abundance of natural resources such as minerals, hydropower potential, and forests.
Mr Li noted that while Laos was categorised as a least developed country it possessed abundant development potential drawing much investment interest and is an attractive destination for tourists.
Former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, Prof. Dr Surakiart Sathirathai agreed the Belt and Road initiative complemented Laos’ strategy to transform the country from a landlocked to a land-linked nation, noting the country as a central and significant location for both the BRI and Asean connectivity scheme.
Mentioning Laos’s great potential in producing hydroelectricity, Dr Surakiart said it not only served development needs in the region but would also help propel the belt and road development projects in Southeast Asia.
Dr Surakiart, who is Chairman of Asian Peace and Reconciliation Council (APRC), raised the importance of multilateralism, global mutual benefit, and existence between globalism and patriotism, noting the cooperation mechanisms in the region could further complement each other in building a strong framework for trade, development, and connectivity.
He said the BRI and sub-regional cooperation could serve as an important mechanism and framework to enhance benefits for people in all areas such as agriculture, fisheries, industrial, tourism, and small and medium enterprises.
By Times Reporters
(Latest Update October 01, 2018)