Vietnam to build first exclusive economic zone in Laos

HA NOI - Vietnam real estate developer Long Thanh Golf Investment and Trade Joint Stock Company said it was given a go-ahead from the Lao Government to upgrade its golf course and real estate complex into an exclusive economic zone.

The company said the pact was signed by Lao Minister of Planning and Investment Somdy Douangdy and its CEO Le Van Kiem.

Both sides agreed to build and develop the project in line with Laos's Special Economic Zone development policy, the US$200 million (S$260 million) company, based in the southern province of Dong Nai.

Vietnam's Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and his Lao counterpart Somsavath Lengsavad attended the signing ceremony, which was held in conjunction with the 34th session of the Vietnam-Laos Intergovernmental Committee on socio-economic, scientific and technological co-operation.

Lao Deputy Prime Minister and foreign minister Thoonglun Sisoulith said this exclusive economic zone was expected to become a symbol of investment co-operation between Laos and Vietnam.

Deputy PM Thoonglun also thanked Kiem for the effective investment as well as his donations to charitable activities in Laos, such as building schools, houses for disadvantaged people, a cemetery for fallen soldiers and providing eye surgeries for 3,000 poor blind people, worth over US$4.5 million in total.

Long Thanh Gold Trade and Investment JSC is among a number of Vietnamese businesses operating successfully in Laos such as Hoang Anh Gia Lai Group, the Bank of Development and Investment of Vietnam, and Hoa Phat Group.

To date, Vietnam has implemented 424 investment projects in Laos capitalised at $3.57 billion, ranking second among foreign investors in the country.

Bilateral trade was valued at $636 million between January-November last year, a year-on-year increase of 48 per cent, and it is estimated to hit $700 million for the whole year.

The two countries aim to raise two-way trade to $1 billion in 2012 and $2 billion in 2015.