Source: Vientiane Times
Date: May 3, 2017
By Time Reporter
Over 20 new investment projects worth millions of US dollars have been proposed to Khammuan provincial authorities by Vietnamese entrepreneurs, pending official approval.
A senior official from the Khammuan provincial Department of Planning and Investment, MrXaysanaKhotphouthone, told Vientiane Times yesterday that Vietnamese investment is booming in Khammuan, notably in the mining sector.
“The 20 new proposals submitted by Vietnamese investors are mega projects worth millions of dollars and we are considering various aspects of their proposals, particularly funding,” MrXaysana said.
“There are two main reasons why Vietnamese are coming to invest here. One is that Khammuan has abundant mineral resources including potassium, lead and gold. The second is that Laos and Vietnam are neighbours, which makes the import-export process easier.”
Vietnam is currently ranked the second largest foreign investor in Khammuan after China. So far, 19 investment projects worth over US$500 million have been carried out by the Vietnamese.
Most of their investments are in the mining sector, particularly the excavation of potassium, lead and other minerals.
However, timber for export is one sector that has become unpopular since the province enforced the Prime Minister’s Order No. 15 issued on May 13. The order bans the export of all types of unfinished wood products including timber and logs, and is considered a significant move in the battle to clamp down on the illicit timber trade.
While the mining sector is increasingly popular among foreign investors in the province, agriculture has not grown as anticipated with only a few investors building factories to process crops for export.
Critics say it’s vital to create more favourable conditions and incentives to increase investment and exports in the agriculture sector as this would drive economic growth in the long run since minerals will one day be exhausted.
In the recent past, investment from Vietnam decreased slightly as many entrepreneurs encountered financial difficulties, affecting the sector.
During the first visit made by Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen XuanPhuc last week in response to an invitation from his Lao counterpart MrThonglounSisoulith, the two premiers witnessed the signing of nine agreements.
One of those agreements was the signing of the VungAng seaport development joint venture in Vietnam’s central Ha Tinh province.
Deputy Head of the Khammuan provincial Administrative Office, MrVannavongVongphachanh, said minerals from Khammuan were mainly exported through the VungAng port to Vietnam and China.
This is the shortest route to a seaport from Laos. Since the opening of the third Friendship Bridge in November 2011, linking Thakhaek district in Khammuan province to Thailand’s NakhonPhanom province across the Mekong, more goods have been transported along this route.
Vietnamese investment in Khammuan booming
Source: Vientiane Times