Lao firms exploring new business ties at Chinese fairs

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - Lao businesses are seeking Chinese partners and distributors for their products while attending a major trade fair in the northern neighbour, according to a local business representative.

Some 34 companies from Laos are attending the 2018 South and Southeast Asia Commodity Expo and Investment Fair (SSACEIF) and the Kunming Import and Export Fair, hoping to extend their reach into Asia’s biggest market.

The two events are being held from June 12-18 this month in Kunming district, Yunnan province, under the theme “Integrating into the Belt and Road for Win-Win Cooperation”.

“The 34 companies from Vientiane and from Luang Namtha, Oudomxay, Luang Prabang and Champassak provinces have 84 booths displaying their products at the event,” Vice President of the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mrs Chanthachone Vongxay, said.

The fairs are dedicated to promoting commerce and investment between China and South and Southeast Asian countries and boosting information exchange.

Nearly 50 percent of the Lao products on display at the fairs are wooden products, such as furniture.

Other items being exhibited include jewellery, food, beer and some agricultural products such as rice, coffee and tea.

The value of the goods being exhibited at the fairs is over US$400,000, she said.

The Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry expects that local firms will receive keen interested from Chinese traders, she added.

“In the past, China ordered a large amount of rice from Laos but we could not meet their needs,” she noted.

Two-way trade between Laos and China reached US$3 billion in 2017, an increase of 28.6 percent on the year before. The two sides have agreed to strive for greater bilateral trade, with China to increase imports from Laos.

China is now the largest investor in Laos.

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