China Remains the Largest Foreign Investor in Laos

Chinese workers on the Laos-China Railway

China remains the largest foreign investor in Laos, undertaking a total of 785 projects worth USD 12 billion.

Special economic zones, industrial parks, and large-scale infrastructure projects make up the largest areas of Chinese investment in Laos.

Chinese investors are constructing the Vientiane-Vang Vieng Expressway, expected to open in December this year.

The Lao-China Railway, Laos’ largest infrastructure project, is now 90 percent complete.

Meanwhile, Lao Post reports that the upgrade of Mahosot Hospital, being undertaken by a Chinese investor, is now 60 percent complete, and is expected to open in 2021.

According to a report in the Vientiane Times, China was also Laos’ second-largest trading partner in 2019, with bilateral trade valued at USD 3.5 billion, up 17.4 percent compared to 2018.

Goods imported reached USD 1.6 billion in 2019, increasing 29.6 percent compared to 2018, while products exported reached USD 1.9 billion in 2019, up 8.9 percent compared to the previous year.

China announced more assistance to Laos during an official visit by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Wednesday.

The two parties agreed in principle to better facilitate the transport of goods across border crossings between Laos and China.

A fast-track immigration policy was also discussed, which would allow certain privileges to Chinese individuals with respect to entry and exit procedures, particularly for diplomatic staff, technical experts, and essential foreign workers.