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Thai businessmen keen on Laos !

Thai businessmen say they are ready to invest more in Laos, not only to take advantage of investment opportunities, but also to help promote sustainable growth in the neighbouring country.

At a meeting in Vientiane yesterday, private-sector representatives from both countries agreed that the recent opening of the second Thai-Laos Friendship Bridge will boost trade and investment and also reduce logistics costs.

The second bridge connects Thailand's Mukdahan province with Savannakhet province in Laos.

Yesterday's meeting between Thai businessmen and Lao government and private-sector representatives was held on the sidelines of the first meeting of the Joint Committee on Economic Cooperation in Vientiane.

Later, the Thai businessmen emphasised their willingness to invest in Laos.

Mitr Phol Sugar Corp's executive vice president for marketing and business development, Tat Wanakornkul, said the new bridge will facilitate Mitr Phol's use of Thailand as a gateway to export sugar from Laos to other countries.

Earlier this year, Mitr Phol signed a 40-year contract with the Lao government to assume a land concession of 10,000 hectares at Chumphon in Savannakhet province for cane plantations. The project, which includes the construction of a sugar mill, will cost US$22.5 million (Bt803.62 million).

Mitr Phol is planning to begin construction of the mill next year and, by the end of 2008, it expects to be producing about 200,000 tonnes of sugar in Laos.

Tat said other private sector companies from Thailand will be similarly attracted to the Lao government's support in reducing custom procedures between the two countries as well as providing infrastructure.

Charoen Pokphand Seeds' general manager Chaowalit Tangariyakul said his company will begin operating an animal feed factory for the Lao government next month. The plant was previously operated by a Singapore company, but the operation failed and CP was later contracted to take over.

He said his company foresees wide opportunities in Laos because of its "bonanza of natural resources".

The CP Group has been supporting Lao farmers in the production of animal corn and wheat in Chaiyaburi province for five years. Now, from about 100,000 hectares, the farmers are harvesting about 200,000 tonnes of corn per year.

Chaowalit said the project is supporting

economic growth in Laos while supplying corn and wheat to Thai manufacturers as a raw material.

The second friendship bridge should not only encourage the growth of trade between the two countries, but also promote the growth of tourism.

Additionally, Lao business people welcome joint ventures with Thai investors because this helps them develop their business operations and brings new technology.

A Laotian participant in the meeting, the director of Paksong Development Contract Export-Import State Enterprises, Inpeng Samountee, said Thai investment and cooperation will help Lao enterprises to conduct professional business operations, to reduce their high production costs and increase their income.

Her company imports seeds from Thailand, grows crops in Laos, then exports the harvests in the form of raw materials to Thailand and others countries in Asia. Private companies hold 80 per cent of the venture and the rest is owned by the Lao government.

After three years of operations, the company's income has reached $25 million a year.

Petchanet Pratruangkrai

The Nation



Senior Member

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Sounds good

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