Indian delegation promotes opportunities for trade and investment in Assam

ASSAM, India (Vientiane Times/ANN) - The government of the state of Assam in northeast India has expressed keen interest in building close cooperation with the Lao government and business community for trade and investment.

A delegation of senior officials from the government of Assam state, led by the Secretary of the Industries and Commerce Department, Mr Vinod Seshan, met representatives of the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the business community.

The objective of the meeting was to invite Lao officials and the business community to join the “Advantage Assam - the Assam Global Investors Summit”, scheduled to be held in Guwahati in February 2018.

During the meeting, the Chairman of the Lao PDR chapter of the Asean-India Business Council, Mr Habib Mohammed Chowdhury, spoke about the advantages of business opportunities in Assam and encouraged Lao business people to attend the summit next year.

He said Assam in northeastern India and Laos share similarities in landscape, culture, tourism, agriculture, and handicrafts. From the business prospective, these similarities will support closer cooperation in the near future.

Speaking at the meeting, the Vice President of the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LNCCI), Mr Thanongsinh Kanlagna, said cooperation between the two sides could begin on a smaller scale.

“We are very eager to build a business connection in various fields, especially the tourism sector. This business cooperation may take a couple of years to be functionalised,” he said.

Mr Thanongsinh wholeheartedly supported efforts to build collaboration over the next few years.

The summit in Guwahati is the largest investment promotion and facilitation initiative by the government of Assam, aimed at highlighting the state’s geostrategic advantages to investors.

Several important sectors will be in focus, especially the pharmaceutical industry, medical devices, tourism, hospitality and wellness.

In addition, agriculture and food processing, textiles and handicrafts and IT will be showcased at the event.

According to the website of the Indian Embassy in Laos, bilateral trade with Laos dramatically increased to US$ 37 million in 2009-10 from a mere US$9.52 in 2008-09.

The trade balance which had been overwhelmingly in favour of India has turned towards Laos. This development stems primarily from India’s purchase of copper ore and concentrates worth US$19.7 million from Laos.

India’s exports have increased on account of a surge in sales of electrical and electronic equipment and pharma products to Laos.

However, during 2010-11, bilateral trade was again reduced to US$13.33 million,  with exports to Lao accounting for US$13.11 million while imports by India were practically non-existent at US$0.22 million.

In 2011-12, total bilateral trade was US$104.50, with exports from India at US$14.97 million, while imports from Laos were US$ 89.53.

According to the latest data released by the government of India’s Commerce Department, total bilateral trade in 2012-13 reached US$167.49 million, with exports from India at US$28.89 million, while imports from Laos were at US$138.61 million.