The China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative has been providing new impetus for the China-Laos economic cooperation.[Special Coverage]
"The China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative plays a significant role in promoting economic development and enhancing the China-Laos relations," Economic and Commercial Counselor of Chinese Embassy in Laos Wang Qihui told Xinhua on Friday.
According to the statistics from Chinese government, in 2016, the import and export volume between China and Laos was 2.34 billion U.S. dollars, with which China has become Laos's second largest trading partner.
Last year, Chinese companies signed 6.7 billion dollars worth of construction project contracts in Laos, with an increase of 30.1 percent, which made Laos rank China's third largest market among ASEAN countries.
By the end of 2016, China remained Laos's largest foreign investor with 5.4 billion dollars direct investment. At the same time, China has become the largest donor in laos.
Specifically, Counselor Wang said, the initiative receives positive response and support from the people and government of Laos and has yielded fruitful results.
Firstly, the two sides have made effective cooperation in regard to interconnection. The China-Laos railway has been constructed in full swing since last December, while China helped Laos successfully launched its first satellite in November, 2015.
Secondly, the two sides actively promote industrial capacity investment, energy exploration and infrastructure building. The Nam Ou Cascade Hydropower Projects, with a total investment of 1.698 billion dollars and a total installed capacity of 1,272 MW, is the first project that Chinese enterprises have obtained the whole basin development right for planning and development.
Thirdly, the two sides actively promote cooperation in economic development parks, such as the Saysettha Comprehensive Economic Development Zone in capital Vientiane and the Mohan-Boten cross-border economic cooperation zone.
"As an old saying in China goes like 'good timing, geographical convenience and support of people', which is exactly how the Belt and Road Initiative has fits in the Laos," when referring to the achievement and the prospects of the Initiative in Laos, Counselor Wang explained.
The good timing means the Belt and Road Initiative highly fits Lao policy of changing a "land-locked" country into a "land-linked" country. What's more, the two economies are mutually complementary since Laos is in needs of funding, technology and talents which China is ready to provide, Wang said.
The Geographical convenience means China and Laos are good neighbors as the China-Laos railway will further improve traffic conditions and economic ties between the two countries.
In addition, the two nations enjoy comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership since 2009. In recent years, leaders of the two countries have exchanged frequent visits and deepened friendly exchanges and cooperation in political, economic, cultural and other fields.
"We believe that the Belt and Road Initiative will boost Lao economic development and benefit the two peoples," Wang said.