Malaysia has emerged as the eighth largest foreign investor in Laos with investments of RM 2.3 billion from 2000 to 2015.
Malaysian Ambassador to Laos, Datum Than Tai Hing said investments by Malaysian companies at present covers the banking and finance, insurance, tourism, education, construction and agriculture sectors.
“It also encompasses two free trade zones, namely the Nelamit/Donphosy Specific Economic Zone (SEZ) in Vientiane and Savan-Seno SEZ in Savannakhet in southern Laos.
“Both the SEZ will clearly contribute to the economic growth and development of Laos in the future,” he told Malaysian reporters here today.
Than was speaking against the backdrop of Prime Minister Seri Najib Razak’s visit to Laos to attend the 28th ASEAN Summt and 29th Related Summits here.
He said that Prime Minister will attend a meeting with the Malaysian business community here tomorrow.
“The meeting will involve key Malaysian investors, namely those companies involved in undertaking iconic and high potential projects in Laos such as the East-West Economic Corridor Railway Project, a rail venture in the Dongphosy Specific Economic Zone and Nam Pha Hydro Power, involving hydro power generation,” he added.
He said 10 other Malaysian-owned investment companies will attend the meeting.
“The meeting is viewed as a good platform for the Malaysian business community here to provide an update as to the status of their projects,” Than said.
He also said in 2015, bilateral trade between Malaysia and Laos stood at RM106 million.
“Malaysian exports to Laos at RM100 million covered clothing, textiles, vehicle spare parts, mining material, electrical and electronic goods, chemical products, natural rubber, palm oil, and manufactured goods.
“A bigger part of imports comprised communication equipment and electrical components,” he added.
Than said the tourism industry has had a big impact on diplomatic cooperation, the economy and bilateral trade between Laos and Malaysia.
On the ASEAN Summit, he said the presence of Datuk Seri Najib Razak was a visible sign of Malaysia’s sold support for Laos as the ASEAN Chairman.
“The attendance is also symbolic and important as 2016 represents the 50th anniversary of the forging of diplomatic relations between Malaysia and Laos,” he added.
He will head the Malaysian delegation to the ASEAN Summit from Sept 6-8.