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December 6, 2007 

THAILAND-LAOS/TIES
Third friendship bridge to be built

The Thai Cabinet on Tuesday gave the green light to a draft agreement on the construction of the third Thai-Laos Friendship Bridge across the Mekong River, connecting Thailand's Nakhon Phanom and the Lao province of Khammoune.

The pact between the two countries is expected to be signed by the end of December 2007, with financing to be provided by the Thai government.

The two parties will set up a committee to coordinate the planning, policies and project administration.

According to Thai Ministry of Commerce's figures of the two countries' border trade, from January through September 2007, Thailand's imported goods from Laos was worth almost Bt1. 5 billion (US$48.8 million) and Thailand's exports to Laos valued at more than Bt30 billion.

The second Friendship Bridge between Thailand and the Lao PDR was opened in December last year.

Linking the Lao province of Savannakhet with northeastern Thailand's Mukdahan province, the second Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge is boosting economic development and to facilitate transportation, trade, investment, and tourism, not only between Thailand and Laos, but facilitating trade and tourism with central Vietnam.

The first Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge over the Mekong linking the Thai province of Nong Khai and the Lao PDR capital of Vientiane was opened in 1994. (TNA)

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