VietNamNet Bridge – Viet Nam continued to lead the list of foreign investors in Laos with a total registered capital of US$1.4 billion during the first nine months of this year, according to the Lao Ministry of Planning and Investment.
China ranked second with $932 million, followed by Thailand and the Republic of Korea. The Lao government forecasts that foreign direct investment (FDI) flows to the country were likely to increase despite the global economic downturn.
Somvang Ninthavong, commercial counsellor at the Lao Embassy in Viet Nam, said the Lao government would continue to work on improving conditions for Vietnamese investors coming to Laos to seek investment opportunities.
Doan Nguyen Duc, chairman of Hoang Anh Gia Lai Co which has to date pumped $260 million into seven projects in Laos, said the nation provided several advantages to Vietnamese investors.
Laos' favourable geographic location and investment incentives, especially in preferential tax rates, constituted a huge advantage for Vietnamese firms looking to invest abroad, Duc said.
Duc urged Vietnamese businesses to quickly invest in prioritised Lao sectors, especially if they didn't want to lag behind enterprises from China, Thailand and South Korea. However, complicated administrative procedures and a lack of skilled workers remained problematic for investors, he noted.
Nguyen Minh Tu, vice chairman of the Viet Nam-Laos-Cambodia Association for Economic Co-operation and Development, said Vietnamese firms should study Lao laws and trade policies, and study the market to draw up business strategies to better tap the Lao market.
The vice chairman said Vietnamese firms should strive for close co-operation with Lao counterparts and research financial capacities and labour resources before doing business in Laos.
VietNamNet/Viet Nam News