Thai-Lao to expand trade, investment in hopes of doubled growth


BANGKOK, Feb 23 – Thailand and Lao PDR have agreed to collaborate on trade and investment for further trade between both countries to rise from currently US$4 billion to US$8 billion in 2015.

The agreement came after a meeting chaired jointly by Thai Deputy Finance Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom and Lao Minister of Industry and Commerce Nam Viyaketh. The meeting took place during Feb 22-23 and was held for the fourth time in the Thai capital.

Both nations aim to ease barriers to trade and investment, particularly at border checkpoints and immigration. The collaboration will also include a one-stop point for customs processing, local product exhibitions, and academic cooperation.

Thailand for the past year ranked third for investment in Laos, following Vietnam and China, while Thai-Lao trade volume reached US$3.9 billion. Thai imports from Laos stood at US$1.1 billion, whereas exports to the neighbouring country was over US$2.7 billion (mainly petroleum products, automobiles, spare parts, and iron components).

Obstacles regarding routes to link Thailand and Lao PDR will be further discussed by Transportation Ministries of both countries.

The Lao PDR will be hosting another meeting between the Thai Finance and its Industry and Commerce some time next year.