LAO PRIME Minister Thongloun Sisoulith has urged the business and public sectors in Laos and Thailand to open their hearts to investment and cooperation.
He made the comment at the Lao-Thai Business Forum 2017 in Vientiane yesterday, organised by the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry in collaboration with the Thai Embassy to Laos.
The meeting drew nearly 200 participants from the two countries, including businesspeople, officials from the Thai and Lao Chambers of Commerce and Industry, and ministries.
Thongloun told participants that besides opening their hearts to each other, they should break down barriers to enable better investment and cooperation.
Of course, Laos and Thailand have their own investment laws and Laos has just passed the new Investment Promotion Law, which will be implemented in the most effective way, he said.
Business mechanisms must be quick, timely and transparent, he said.
Investment proposals must be passed through only a single window and projects must be open to inspection, he said.
Laos has potential in agriculture, especially livestock farming, fishery, and organic vegetable and rice cultivation, he said. There is now high demand for Lao organic rice in the international market.
There is strong potential for the generation of hydropower and growth of the tourism industry, he said.
The government will continue to improve the investment environment by maintaining political security and continuous and balanced growth of the macroeconomy.
He especially urged the public and private sectors to seek investment.
The business forum would be meaningful by promoting trade and investment cooperation, president of the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry Oudet Souvannavong said.
Laos and Thailand have a long tradition of cooperation in various sectors, and their trade and investment relations have grown continuously over the years.
Thailand is Laos’ main trading partner.
Laos’ main exports to Thailand are electricity, copper, vegetables, tobacco and minerals, while the main imported products are fuel, vehicles, electronic items and machinery.
The forum would be a platform for businesspeople from Laos and Thailand to exchange trade and investment information, Oudet said.
They could also learn about each country’s trade and investment policies and better match their business networks in the future, he said.
Participants will hold discussions in eight sectors, namely logistics, agriculture, border and consumer goods trade, tourism and health, real estate, stock market and financial institutions, energy and raw materials and natural resources, he said.