Vietnamese Businesses Encouraged to Invest in Laos

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Vientiene photo by flcker user Chenines under the creative commons licenseSept. 1 – Vietnamese companies are encouraged to invest in Laos to boost its socio-economic development, said President Nguyen Minh Triet during an investment promotion conference on Laos in Ho Chi Minh City yesterday.

The Laotian government and HCMC People’s Committee are offering investment incentives and bank loans to further attract Vietnamese investment into its neighboring country.

“Cooperation with Laos is the obligation, responsibility and the right of Vietnam,” Triet was quoted by Vietnam News as saying. “When we invest in Laos we invest in our own country.”

Also in the event was Laotian Deputy Prime Minister Somsavat Lengsavat who said that he welcomed Vietnamese investment in his country. “Vietnam is the biggest foreign investor in Laos,” Somsavat was quoted as saying by Vietnam News. “The support given by Vietnamese investors and the Government has greatly contributed to the socio-economic development of Laos and the living conditions of Lao people.”

The Laotian government is prepared to offer incentives for the industries of processed industry and mineral exploitation, traffic infrastructure, schools, hospitals, restaurants, hotels and tourism services. Laos enjoys the advantage of having low labor costs, rich natural resources and agricultural land although investment is hampered by vague regulations, poor infrastructure and lower skilled workforce.

Both countries have set a goal to target US$1 billion worth of bilateral trade by 2010 and US$2 billion by 2015. “So far, 179 Vietnamese projects have received operating licenses in Laos worth a total registered capital of US$1.9 billion,” Le Hoang Quan, chairman of the HCMC People’s Committee, told Vietnam News.