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Laos, Australia agree to broaden cooperation

Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith and his hosting Australian counterpart Malcolm Turnbull on Saturday agreed to broaden cooperation between the two countries in various fields, the Lao Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
The two premiers held bilateral talks during Mr Thongloun’s visit to Australia to attend the Asean-Australia Special Summit, which took place in Sydney on March 17-18.

The government leaders agreed to broaden cooperation between their two countries in a wide range of fields such as agriculture, public works and transport, finance and human rights, the Lao ministry said in a press release.
Investment by Australian companies in Laos has reached US$135 million, ranking 15th among 53 countries investing in Laos.
Australia invests in banking, mining and mining services, according to the Australian Embassy to Laos.
The Australian Chamber of Commerce in Laos was established in 2005 and was the first international chamber of commerce in Laos. Its mandate is to work with its Lao counterpart to promote trade and investment between the two countries.
Australia and Laos are parties to the Asean-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA) which came into force on January 1, 2010, in Australia and January 1, 2011, in Laos. 
As part of efforts to bolster growth of the Lao economy, Australia has, since July 2003, provided duty-free and quota-free access for Lao goods exported to Australia, according to the embassy.
Lao businesspeople said they were looking for opportunities to form partnerships with their Australian counterparts to produce agricultural goods for the Chinese market.
Vice President of the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr Daovone Phachanthavong, said Australia has a high level of expertise in agribusiness.
The Lao foreign ministry said PM Thongloun and PM Turnbull highly valued the friendly relations and good cooperation between their two countries, which have been enhanced over the past 66 years since they established diplomatic ties.
Last year, the two countries organised various activities to mark the 65th anniversary of their diplomatic ties.
Laos and Australia’s longstanding relationship has been underpinned by economic ties, community links, and development cooperation.
More than 12,000 people in the Australian community identify themselves as having Lao ancestry and close to 10,000 were born in Laos, according to the Australian Embassy.
Through PM Turnbull, Mr Thongloun expressed heartfelt gratitude to the government and people of Australia for the valuable support and assistance they have extended to Laos over the past years.
Australia has extended development assistance to Laos in various fields including education, human resources development, and the clearance of unexploded ordnance (UXO) that was dropped on Laos during the Indochina War.
The government of Australia has also provided scholarships for Lao officials and students, enabling them to take courses at Australian universities every year.
The Lao ministry said Australian assistance has greatly contributed to the social and economic development of Laos.
The prime ministers exchanged views on regional and international issues of common interest.
Mr Thongloun thanked his Australian counterpart for the warm hospitality extended to him and his delegation and congratulated Australia on hosting the Asean-Australia Special Summit.
Welcoming the Lao prime minister, Mr Turnbull said he highly valued his Lao counterpart’s visit and attendance at the summit, saying it would enhance the relations and cooperation between Laos and Australia, and between Asean and Australia at large.
Mr Thongloun invited Mr Turnbull to make an official visit to Laos at a convenient time.

 

By Souksakhone Vaenkeo
(Latest Update
March 19,
2018)


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