Lao, Korean central banks boost banking cooperation

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - The central banks of Laos and South Korea have agreed to cooperate on central banking and related human resource-related exchanges to foster skills development.

A memorandum of understanding was signed in Luang Prabang province on Monday between Bank of the Lao PDR governor, Mr Somphao Phaysith, and Bank of Republic of Korea governor, Mr Juyeol Lee.

The event was attended by high-ranking officials of both banks.

To mark the occasion, delegations of both banks visited the Bank of the Lao PDR’s northern branch in Luang Prabang province, where all members and delegations received a warm welcome from its head, Mr Aloun Bounnhong.

They also visited agricultural production areas of local communities, historical, natural and cultural tourism sites. 

The central banks of both countries also held a technical cooperation seminar to exchange experiences on payment action plans for modern technology systems with the aim of reducing the reliance on cash in transactions.

Such cooperation will also contribute to strengthening bilateral relations and cooperation, especially the fostering of trade and investment between the economies, public and private sectors of both nations.

Korea is the fourth largest source of foreign investment in Laos, with about 257 projects worth US$800 million, according to the Ministry of Planning and Investment.

Bilateral trade between the two countries approached US$200 million in 2016.

Lao exports to the Republic of Korea were valued at some US$22.9 million and included potassium fertilisers, coffee, lead bullion, scrap metals, fabrics and ingredients for traditional oriental medicines.

Lao imports from the Republic of Korea were valued at some US$170 million for the same period, a figure that includes automobiles, trucks, automotive parts, construction equipment and electronics.   

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