Bandar Seri Begawan - Laos is encouraging Brunei Darussalam to invest in agriculture in Laos and boost trade.
The Prime Minister of the Lao People's Democratic Republic, Thongsing Thammavong told the media after the Brunei Darussalam - Lao PDR business forum at The Empire Hotel & Country Club.
"I've received cordial invitation extended by His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam to enhance and strengthen the long-lasting friendship and cooperation between the two governments and peoples.
"For the past several years, we enjoyed close ties and friendship mainly in political area. But at this time, I've brought a large number of business delegations to provide them good opportunity to boost trade and investment", the Laos premier said.
"During the four-eye meeting with His Majesty, we agreed to deepen long-lasting traditional cooperation and friendship. Importantly to create enabling condition for business and investment sectors to enhance close ties.
"The Lao PDR is suitable for agriculture and service sectors like tourism whilst Brunei is well known to the world for its industrialised technology and vast potential in oil and gas industry. The two countries can exchange these products in accordance with the needs. We would encourage Brunei to invest in agricultural area in Laos".
Speaking on the upcoming 22nd Asean Summit in Brunei Darussalam this April, the Laos Prime Minister said Laos would like to take stock of the progress and challenges towards building the Asean Community in 2015.
"Laos is paying special attention in its internal assessment in terms of readiness to the Asean community. Given the daunting challenges that we need to overcome, we seek assistance mainly from Asean member countries to allow Laos to become an active member."
During the business forum, Deputy Minister at the Prime Minister's Office and Chairman of the Brunei Economic Development Board (BEDB), Dato Paduka Hj Ali bin Apong said he hopes that this cooperation between Chamber of Commerce and Industry from both countries could lead to greater business exchanges and strengthen economic ties.
Dato Paduka Hj Ali also highlighted the Sultanate's economy. This year, Brunei expects GDP growth to be 2.3 per cent compared to 0.4 per cent last year.
He also pointed out some key developments and achievements in economic diversification in the Sultanate over the last couple of years. By leveraging on the strong oil and gas industry, Brunei successfully expanded the value chain to downstream industries.
Key projects approved include US$600 million Brunei methanol plant, US$4 billion Zhejiang Hengyi Integrated Refinery and Aromatic Complex.
In addition, Brunei also successfully attracted investors in the non-oil and gas manufacturing and services sectors including a US$18.5 million Halal pharmaceutical and nutraceutical manufacturing plant by Viva Pharmaceutical from Canada and US$110 million multipurpose training centre by CAE, another Canadian company.
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