VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/Asia News Network): The leaders of Laos and Singapore have agreed that there is considerable scope to deepen their collaboration, including in the field of human resource development, as well as promoting business and tourism links.
Closer collaboration in these areas was the highlight of talks when Lao Prime Minister Phankham Viphavanh paid an official visit to Singapore from Sept 27-28 at the invitation of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
Phankham also called on President Halimah Yacob, with both sides affirming the warm relations between Laos and Singapore, underpinned by multifaceted cooperation in areas such as trade and investment, energy, sustainability, and people-to-people ties.
The Lao premier also met his Singaporean counterpart Lee Hsien Loong to discuss ways to enhance the partnership between Singapore and Laos.
Phankham asked Prime Minister Lee to encourage more business operators to invest in various areas of development in Laos, according to the Lao Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
These included research and technology, organic agriculture, agricultural processing industry, tourism, education, health, infrastructure development, finance and trade.
To date, Singaporean companies have invested US$362 million in 83 projects in Laos, making Singapore the 10th largest investor.
The value of two-way trade between the two countries reached US$115.9 million last year, with Laos exports to Singapore valued at US$90.9 million and imports at US$52 million.
The two leaders praised Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry for co-hosting a workshop to explain the investment policies and business and investment opportunities in the two countries.
The two prime ministers witnessed the signing and exchange of four Memorandums of Understanding. These concerned the establishment of bilateral consultations; technical cooperation in environmental protection, climate change and water resource management; energy cooperation; and digital cooperation.
According to Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the two leaders welcomed the import of up to 100MW of renewable hydropower from Laos to Singapore under the Laos-Thailand-Malaysia-Singapore Power Integration Project (LTMS-PIP), which was initiated in June.
The export of hydropower from Laos to Singapore marks the first multilateral cross-border electricity trade involving four Asean countries. This is a significant milestone in bilateral ties, contributing to energy security and a more sustainable future for Laos and Singapore.
Furthermore, Prime Minister Lee announced the Singapore-Laos Enhanced Cooperation Package to support Laos’ Chairmanship of Asean in 2024.
The Singaporean premier reaffirmed his country’s support for Laos’ human capital development and welcomed Laos’ continued strong participation in the Singapore Cooperation Programme, which marks its 30th anniversary this year.