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Laos, Singapore Vow to Enhance Cooperation

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Laos and Singapore are pledging to work together to promote trade and investment between the two countries after their trade volume climbed to US$72.5 million in 2015.

As of 2016, investment from Singapore stood at US$187 million, ranking the country in eleventh place among all foreign investors in Laos.

Investment is mostly in industry and handicrafts, construction, services, hydropower, the wood industry, agriculture, and telecommunications.

The information was outlined yesterday at a meeting between Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Saleumxay Kommasith and his Singapore counterpart Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, according to the Lao foreign ministry.

The short working visit to Laos by Dr Balakrishnan and his delegation was in response to an invitation from Mr. Saleumxay to attend the 49th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and Related Meetings which took place in Vientiane from July 21-26.

During yesterday’s meeting, the two foreign ministers said they highly valued their cooperation over past years and discussed ways to promote future collaboration.

Relations between the two countries will receive a boost with the introduction of direct flights between Singapore and Vientiane by SilkAir, which will increase tourism exchanges and improve trade relations.

Last year Laos received more than 8,200 visitors from Singapore who generated millions of dollars for government coffers, according to the Tourism Development Department.

SilkAir will begin direct flights from Singapore to Luang Prabang in October. The airline uses Airbus A320 aircraft, with business and economy class cabins.

Subject to approval, SilkAir will offer three weekly flights on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays to the two destinations on a circular routing based on an agreement signed yesterday between representatives of SilkAir Private Limited and Lao Airlines. The signing was witnessed by Mr. Saleumxay and Dr Balakrishnan.

Flights from Singapore will make a stop in Vientiane and then continue to Luang Prabang, before heading back directly to Singapore.

Laos and Singapore have seen many achievements in cooperation towards each other’s development, recorded high economic growth, and markedly improved their people’s living conditions

The two parties also agreed to strengthen regular exchange visits by leaders and share information on taxation and related issues as well as improve human resources and skilled labour.

The two governments will also work together to enhance their cooperation in supporting each other on the regional and international stages.

On the same day, Dr Balakrishnan and his delegation paid a courtesy visit to Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith and other high ranking government officials before attending a dinner hosted by Mr. Saleumxay.

Source: Vientiane Times