VIENTIANE, Jan 20, 2021, Xinhua. The Lao government is set to enhance cooperation with strategic partner countries and development partners over the next five years to lead Laos towards sustainable development, Xinhua reported.
To ensure cooperation between Laos and its development partners, the government will boost trade facilitation, protection of intellectual property and investments and put in place other important policies, local daily Vientiane Times reported on Wednesday.
According to a draft of the Ninth National Socio-Economic Development Plan for 2021-25 presented by Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith at the recent 11th national congress of the ruling Lao People’s Revolutionary Party (LPRP), Laos will actively and intensively cooperate with ASEAN and other regional partners to achieve socio-economic development goals.
The regional development partners include ASEAN plus six, World Trade Organization (WTO), the Greater Mekong Sub-region and the cooperation framework of the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC), said the report.
In addition, the government intends to promote integrated socio-economic development of provinces alongside the China-Laos railway project, special economic zones, and cross-border trade with neighboring countries.
Every province that shares borders with neighboring countries will have at least one international checkpoint to boost regional trade, investments and crucial cooperation, said the report.
Laos shares borders with five countries — China on the north, Cambodia on the south, Myanmar on the northwest, Thailand on the west, and Vietnam on the east.
Laos has no exit to the sea but the country is set to be a land bridge and trade hub, while the four Lao-Thai friendship bridges across the Mekong River and the fifth to be completed in the coming years will contribute to this blueprint.
The bridges not only serve as links between Laos and Thailand but have been key to boosting the regional transportation of goods, logistics, and tourism.
Once the China-Laos railway project is completed and becomes operational, the government is hoping it will contribute to promoting trade, tourism and export of the country’s agricultural products to foreign markets, said the report.
Laos is also actively working to improve its business environment and facilitate trade as part of efforts to support the government’s policy of improving the ease of doing business through its cooperation with international development partners, according to the report.