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Asean & Global Updates
POSTED | 8:57 AM | 04-01-2015

China No.1 investor in Laos, with over $5.2 billion

There are now 52 countries with investment in Laos valued at more than US$17 billion.

China is the top ranked foreign investor with investments over US$5.2 billion, followed by Thailand with over US$4.4 billion, Vietnam with over US$3.3 billion, the Republic of Korea with over US$751 million and France with more than US$490 million, according to the Vientiane Times.

Laos and China have confirmed they will continue with the Lao-Chinese railway project while the two countries search for a method of cooperation that serves their mutual interest.

Lao Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong and Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang made the confirmation at a Lao-Chinese high-level bilateral meeting held in the Chinese city of Sanya, Hainan province.

The Lao and Chinese governments plan to build the 421km railway to link Vientiane to the Lao-China border.

Under the original plan, China was to fund 70 percent of the project, which was to kick off in 2011 and be finished by 2015. However, the project was delayed after a Chinese construction company reportedly pulled out.

The two prime ministers pledged to renew negotiations on the project. Prime Minister Li conveyed the importance of the railway project in terms of bilateral cooperation on major projects, saying China will seek an early signing of the deal.

Meanwhile, the president of the Association of Vietnamese Investors in Laos, Mr Tran Bac Ha, told the Times that the Hoang Anh Gia Lai Group had become the top Vietnamese firm investing in Laos, injecting more than US$1.2 billion into agribusiness.

The company has 40,000 hectares of corn, sugarcane, rubber and palm oil plantations, mostly in the southern province of Attapeu. The group is growing the crops as raw material for its processing industries, such as its sugarcane plant.

Hoang Anh Gia Lai Group also plans to import 100,000 Australian cattle to breed in Laos. As of the end of 2013, Vietnamese enterprises had invested in 440 projects in Laos, worth about U$$4.9 billion.

The association projects that Vietnamese investment in Laos will rise to US$6.3 billion in 2016.

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