Working towards greater community control over land, forests and natural resources

Vietnamese investments in Laos in the spotlight

Viet Nam News, December 10, 2011

Numerous Vietnamese firms were investing in Laos in fields ranging from agro-processing to hydroelectricity, said Ta Minh Chau, Vietnamese Ambassador to Laos. Chau said investment from Viet Nam had increased rapidly in recent years. He said the total registered capital of Vietnamese businesses in Laos now stood at US$3.7 billion, making it the third largest foreign investor in the country.

Late last month, the Hoang Anh Gia Lai Group (HAG) began work on its sugar cane processing complex in Attapeu Province, which carries a total investment $100 million. The plant will be able to produce ethanol, fertiliser and power.HAG is also investing in rubber plantations, palm oil production and hydropower, which carry a total registered capital of nearly $1 billion. It was implementing its projects rapidly and had even asked permission to begin work on plans that had yet to be fully finalised, said Doan Nguyen Duc, chairman of HAG. The group now had more than 22,000ha of rubber plantations in Attapeu Province, as well as Nam Kong 2 and 3 power plants, which are under construction and expected to be operational by the end of 2013, Duc said, adding that Laos had enormous untapped natural resources.

Meanwhile, in 2007, Sai Gon Agriculture Corporation began work on a number of projects, including one to grow corn on 3,000ha and another a 500ha coffee plantation. It has also launched a 10,000ha rubber cultivation project in southern Laos. Dak Lak Rubber Company, through its subsidiaries in Champasak Province, has implemented a project to grow rubber and industrial crops on 10,000ha, which carries a total investment of $50 million. Nguyen Van Truc, general director of the Sai Gon Agriculture Company, said southern Laos had an ideal climate and fertile soil ideal for growing industrial crops. Furthermore, he said Laos had adopted favourable policies for Vietnamese firms wishing to invest in the country. In addition, many Lao people could speak Vietnamese.

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