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China, Laos to double trade volume in one year
Updated: 2004-03-19 14:20

The Chinese and Lao leaders pledged in Vientiane Thursday to double their bilateral trade in one year time with a package of cooperation agreements newly inked.

"The two governments should adopt effective measures to boost annual bilateral trade volume to 200 million US dollars before 2005," said Chinese Vice-Premier Wu Yi during a meeting with her counterpart Bouasone Bouphavanh.

China will continuously provide possible financial and technical assistance to Laos and make efforts to put forward the two sides' cooperation in the negotiation over China-ASEAN free trade agreement, Wu said.

She noted that the Chinese government has always supported competent Chinese enterprises to invest and set up businesses in Laos.

Arriving in Vientiane on Wednesday for a three-day visit, Wu brought with her a strong group of some 40 leading Chinese entrepreneurs, many of whom came to sign various cooperative projects with the Lao side.

After their meeting, Wu and Bouasone Bouphavanh witnessed the signing ceremony of a package of 11 cooperation agreements.

Under the documents, the Chinese government agrees to provide a 30 million yuan (US$3.63 million) assistance for the rubber plantation project in northern Laos and a 200 million yuan (US$24.18 million) low-interest loan for the electricity network construction in Laos.

The agreements also laid down framework of cooperative projects in the fields of hydropower, chemical production and agriculture.

Bouasone said that Wu's visit and signature of the agreements will upgrade cooperation between the two sides to a new stage. The Lao government is confident of the prospect of bilateral cooperation, Bouasone added.

Bilateral trade between China and Laos yielded a total of US$100 million last year, President of the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry Kissana Vongsay said Thursday.

Some 200 Chinese enterprises have invested and opened businesses in Laos, according to Kissana.

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