Li, Lao PM sign cooperative trade and economic documents

By An Baijie | | Updated: 2016-11-28 20:05

China is willing to work together with Laos to initiate major cooperative projects in areas including railways and economic development zones, Premier Li Keqiang said on Monday.

Li made the remarks while meeting with Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith in Beijing.

Witnessed by the two leaders, China and Laos signed two cooperative documents on border trade and joint development of an economic cooperative zone.

According to Li, the two countries should enhance cooperation in areas including production capacity, investment, agriculture, finance and national defense, adding that China would like to connect the country's development strategy with Laos.

China hopes that Laos could make continuous efforts for the healthy and steady development of China-ASEAN ties, Li said.

The railway project linking Laos with China is of great importance to Laos, and the Lao government will push for the implementation of the project, Thongloun said.

"We have already met three times since I assumed office seven months ago," Thongloun told Li. The two leaders had a discussion for the first time in July during the Eurasia leaders' meeting in Mongolia. They also met in September during Li's official visit to Laos.

Liu Zhenmin, vice-foreign minister, said that during the meeting, Li and Thongloun exchanged ideas on areas including agricultural products, trade, finance, and production capacity cooperation.

China agreed to help Laos improve the country's infrastructure to boost interconnection, Liu told reporters after the signing ceremony.

This is Thongloun's first China visit after taking his post in April. He paid an official visit to China in August 2011 when he was Lao deputy prime minister and foreign minister. Thongloun will meet with President Xi Jinping on Thursday.

The four-day visit will also take Thongloun to central China's Hunan province.

Starting from the 1980s, many Hunan natives went to Laos to seek business opportunities. They started from scratch in the hardware industry and gradually grew into influential forces in industries like motorcycle, motorcycle parts, supermarkets and mobile phone sales, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

According to the economic and commercial counselor's office of Chinese embassy in Laos, Chinese investors have currently invested in 764 projects in the country in industries such as mineral products, agriculture, electricity, artifacts, tourism.

Among these projects, 552 were funded by Chinese companies, while the two countries invested in 212 of the projects. China has become Lao's biggest source of foreign investment.

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