Germany eyes stronger relations, trade and investment with Laos

Dr Tobias Lindner, giving a talk in Vientiane titled “Germany, Asean and the Indo-Pacific – geopolitical challenges and opportunities for cooperation”. - Vientiane Times/ANN

VIENTIANE: Germany plans to deepen its longstanding bilateral relations and improve trade and investment with Laos, building on the two nations’ cooperation in many fields over past years.

Minister of State at Germany’s Federal Foreign Office, Dr Tobias Lindner, gave a talk in Vientiane on Monday (June 3) titled “Germany, Asean and the Indo-Pacific – geopolitical challenges and opportunities for cooperation”.

This was the key message from the Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany, Dr Tobias Lindner, when he addressed reporters after the talk titled “Germany, Asean and the Indo-Pacific – geopolitical challenges and opportunities for cooperation”.

The event took place on Monday and was organised by the Institute of Foreign Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the International Convention and Training Centre, and was also attended by students and government officials.

“I believe that now is the right time to deepen our relations and improve trade and investment. I think that many things can be done on trade because there are many agricultural products and Laos is already doing lots of things related to renewable energy,” Dr Lindner told reporters.

He added that foreign companies wanting to invest in Laos require in-depth knowledge of the country’s legal system, taxation policy, and the available workforce.

“Last but not least, it is also about good governance, meaning how effective are efforts to combat corruption, because this is a problem in many countries, and also how much intellectual property is being protected. This is how Laos can provide answers for investors,” he said.

Dr Lindner added that he hoped Laos’ chairmanship of Asean this year will also be a platform to strengthen ties with European Union countries, and to review the progress of EU members on finalising trade agreements with Asean.

He highlighted three particular areas that Laos and Germany could and should build on to deepen their longstanding ties by strengthening their partnership and cooperation, including sustainable trade and investment, regional cooperation on transboundary challenges, and infrastructure.

Dr Lindner also told the gathering that the EU has an ambitious agenda to cut emissions, become climate-neutral by 2050, and keep the Paris goal of 1.5 degrees global warming within reach.

“Asean countries, including Laos, are expanding renewable energy, and Laos is at the heart of the Mekong region where you can see first-hand the risks of climate change to peoples’ lives and livelihoods,” he said. - Vientiane Times/ ANN

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