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Laos vows to facilitate Vietnam's investors

The Government of Laos pledged to amend the law to facilitate the investment of Vietnamese companies that have poured more than US$5.34 billion in the neighboring country so far.

The Government of Laos will come up with comprehensive, up-to-date regulations on foreign investment to draw investors into the country, including Vietnamese companies. 

Vietnam's Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh (left) and his Lao counterpart Sonexay Siphandone attended the Vietnam-Laos Investment Conference on January 12. Photo: VGP

Laos’ Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone told the Vietnam-Laos Investment Conference on January 12, co-chairing the event with Vietnam's Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, who is on his visit to the neighboring country. 

The Lao PM said that the Ministry of Planning and Investment would make amendments to existing policies that aim to facilitate foreign investors, including Vietnamese ones, to enjoy a fair and competitive market.

Laos is always ready to support foreign companies to execute their projects efficiently, and local authorities are willing to resolve obstacles in the business environment, he said.

Meanwhile, Laos welcomes recommendations and solutions to help Vietnamese investors remove difficulties, improve their business operations, and record better results, he affirmed.

To support the investors, Lao agencies will continue to facilitate Vietnamese investors to partake in the industries Laos prioritizes, such as clean and high-tech agriculture, renewable energy, services, tourism, and logistics, he noticed.

According to Lao Minister of Planning and Investment Khamche Vongphosy, enterprises of both nations have managed to conduct projects due to delayed budget disbursement. In addition, Vietnamese enterprises struggle with Laos’ regulations as the legal framework has not met the new conditions, he said. “Our Government will revise the rules to offer a better business environment for Vietnamese companies,” Khamche said.

Addressing the conference, Vietnam’s Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh said that the business communities are the key to the prosperity of the two nations. Despite a close relationship, bilateral economic ties between Vietnam and Laos have not met their full potential, he said. 

He noted that both governments must complete our regulatory systems to keep businesses secure, strengthen our political stability and national sovereignty to create an attractive investment environment, and deliver incentives to attract companies into prioritized sectors. “We need to cooperate and support each other to develop independent, globally-integrated economies, which focus on the development of mass infrastructures and cultures to strengthen the two-nation relationship,” Chinh emphasized.

Xekaman 3 hydropower plant in Laos' Dak Chung District, a Vietnam-invested project in Laos. Photo: EVN

On this occasion, Chinh urged Vietnamese companies to observe and honor Lao regulations, stay fair and competitive, and assist in developing the Vietnam-Laos relationship to achieve significant results in the future.

At the event, Vietnamese Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung noticed that existing obstacles between Vietnam and Laos require the governments and enterprises on both sides to have groundbreaking solutions for future improvements.

Both countries should further penetrate international trade blocs, such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and the World Trade Organization (WTO), and explore opportunities from international free trade agreements, he said.

He believed that Vietnamese and Lao companies could approach and explore new markets, increase their exports, and draw attention from the high-quality overseas capital flow. At the same time, Vietnam will increase investment in the sectors that the Lao Government prioritizes, such as energy, mining, high-tech agriculture, and tourism, particularly in the borderline areas, Dung said.

The two sides will also study trilateral investment projects and invite investors from developed economies to join high-tech projects on the development of infrastructures, he added.

Vietnam’s enterprises have invested a total of US$5.34 billion in Laos-based projects, ranking among the three largest investing nations in Laos.

Remarkably, a number of Vietnam-funded projects in Laos have proved efficient and contributed greatly to Laos’ socio-economic development. Major projects include the Xekaman 3 hydropower plant, the exploration and processing of Aluminum carried out by Viet Phuong Group, and the agricultural project run by the Truong Hai Group.

Vietnamese enterprises have paid an average of $200 million in taxes and financial obligations to the Lao budget each year in the last five years. They have spent a total of $100 million on social activities to benefit the Lao people.

In return, Lao enterprises have 10 investment projects in Vietnam with total registered capital of $71 million. During this time, their operations have received incentives and support from the Vietnamese Government.