Laos’ Ministry of Planning and Foreign Investment says foreign investments in Laos has now passed the 6-billion dollar mark, with Thailand leading the way by investing more than 1,355 million dollars in 169 projects, followed by China with 1,138 million dollars in 237 projects and Vietnam with 535 million dollars in 120 projects.
However, China is expected to surpass Thailand this year becoming number one investor in Laos. China plans to develop a new city in Bung Thatluang within the capital city of Vientiane, and a free trade area in Ton-Pheung district in Bokeo province, and mine for bauxite in the southern province of Champassak. Chinese companies expect to invest more than 4 billion dollars in these projects.
Besides Thailand, China and Vietnam, there are many other foreign companies doing feasible studies and surveys for potential investments in Laos, including more than 10 hydro-power projects and at least 70 mining projects. If these studies and surveys turn out feasible, it is likely that foreign investments in Laos will jump to more than 10 billion dollars in 2010.
Many people worry that a lot of investments in hydro-power and mining sectors might have negative environmental impacts on Laos. But Lao Prime Minister Bouasone Bouphavanh insists that his government will strictly follows the 6th national socio-economic development plan as a guideline when granting concession to foreign companies.
Listen to our Laos Today report for more details in Lao.