ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Indian president wants more Laos investment
Indian President Pratibha Patil on Monday called on Indian industry big guns to make active efforts to boost bilateral trade between India and Laos above the current modest figure of $7 million.
Speaking at the India-Laos Business Forum here, Patil reassured Lao authorities that India will continue to be a development partner of Laos as part of its Look East Policy.
India also signed a $72.55 million line of credit agreement for hydro-power projects on Monday with Laos to play a beefier role in the south east Asian Least Developed Country's (LDC) growth.
Patil said that the two countries "can expand the basket of trade commodities and increase trade volumes by availing of mutually advantageous opportunities that our economies offer".
She said the tariff concessions granted by India under the Duty Free Tariff Preference Scheme for Least Developed Countries and the India-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement should help stimulate trade.
"Laos is open to foreign investment and, I understand that a series of business laws have been enacted in Laos to simplify investment procedures and regulations," said Patil.
"I think that there is insufficient knowledge in India of this change in Laos, and I call upon this Forum to address this issue, so that Lao and Indian businessmen understand each other better," she said.
With rich in mineral resources like iron ore, copper and gold, an enormous hydropower potential and an average GDP (gross domestic product) growth 7.8 per cent over the last five years, Laos has set the goal to move out of the LDC category by 2020, the president informed.
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