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China dominates Laos investment landscape

VIENTIANE (ANN/VIENTIANE TIMES) – Chinese companies have become the foremost investors in Laos, currently engaged in over 900 development projects with a total investment exceeding USD13 billion.

These statistics were disclosed during a meeting in Vientiane, chaired by Lao Minister of Planning and Investment, Khamjane Vongphosy and the Charge d’Affaires of the Chinese Embassy in Laos, Wang Chang.

The gathering facilitated discussions on the challenges and recommendations from Chinese businesses in Laos, fostering a platform for both sides to exchange views and explore avenues for enhancing the business environment.

“The government is working to improve the investment climate so that business operations can be carried out more easily, transparently and quickly, in order to create maximum benefits for Laos and investors, especially Chinese investors,” said Khamjane

“This meeting is an important milestone in efforts to improve the investment environment so that trade, investment and services provided by Chinese business operators in Laos are successful and meet the set objectives in terms of quality as well as providing more jobs for Lao people,” he added.

Chinese companies are engaged in railways, finance, electricity, agriculture and forestry, mining, improvement of policy and legislation, and other spheres.

Proposals for improvements in these fields were made for the relevant bodies to consider and identify solutions to problems encountered, so that all operations are carried out in line with the regulations.

“I would like to further emphasise that the government of Laos has done a great deal to improve the investment environment to make business start-up and operations easier, for the benefit of investors and the governments and peoples of both countries,” the minister added.

China is now Laos’ top export market as well as having the highest investment value in Laos.

Despite the economic downturn caused by the pandemic, the value of trade between Laos and China continues to increase, and last year swelled by 31 per cent.

In 2022, 30 Chinese companies owned or held concessions in operations worth USD 339 million.

These comprised 18 projects in the mining sector, one energy project, three consultancy projects, six projects in the industry and handicrafts sector, one public health project, and two projects in other sectors.

Lao Minister of Planning and Investment Khamjane Vongphosy (right)​ and Charge d’Affaires of the Chinese Embassy in Laos, Wang Chang. PHOTO: ANN/VIENTIANE TIMES