Laos last month inaugurated Route 3, its segment of the North-South Economic Corridor linking southern China and Thailand via Luangnamtha and Bokeo provinces. Lao officials believe this new highway, will generate economic expansion in northern Laos and strenghen Laos-China relations to a new level.
Mr. Bouasone Bouphavanh, Laos Prime Minister, said the inauguration of Route 3 and the Information Super Highway of the Greater Mekong Sub-region is a an important symbol of cooperation among GMS member states.
Mr. Bouasone made his comments during the inauguation of Route 3 after construction was completed in late March. The inauguation took place during the same time as Laos hosted the 3rd GMS summit.
The construction of Route 3 or the North-South Economic Corridor, which is 228-Kilometer long began in 2004 with the assistance of more than 90 million dollars from the Asian Development Bank(ADB), China, and Thailand.
Lao authorities believe that the development of transport link with China and Thailand via Route 3 will benefit Laos more than its two neighbors, and that it will play an important role in economic development, trade, investment and tourism in northern Laos, especially in Bokeo and Laungnamtha provinces.
Lao officials also believe that the number of tourist visiting the region, transportation and trade between Laos with China, and Laos with Thailand will triple in 2010.
Mr. Bouasone said trade between Laos and China in 2007 is around 249 million dollars, which is double the amount of 2004, and Laos has a deficit of almost 80 million dollars with China. Trade between Laos and Thailand in the same period is worth around 1,500 million dollars, with Thailand always enjoying a trade surplus with Laos; however Lao officials believe that Laos will have a balanced trade with Thailand in 2015, and after that it expects a surplus with the sale of more electricity to Thailand.
Listen to our Laos Today for more details in Lao.