VIENTIANE, Oct. 29 (Xinhua) -- Lao entrepreneurs are confident they will benefit from the China-Laos Railway.
The railway will drastically cut the cost of transport through Laos compared to travel by road, thus giving a boost to trade and investment as well as attracting more visitors, local daily Vientiane Times on Friday quoted Lao businessman, Daovone Phachanthavong, who is also the vice executive president of the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LNCCI), as saying.
When the railway comes into service, the cost of goods sold in Laos will be lower because it will be easier to import goods from China, Daovone told Vientiane Times when interviewed on Tuesday.
This will boost the income of Lao farmers because Chinese companies will invest more in agriculture in Laos, while more revenue will be earned from the increasing number of visitors to Laos, Daovone said.
China remains Laos' largest export market and is also the largest foreign investor in Laos.
Each year, Laos earns hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars from the export of copper ore, copper and copper products, as well as agricultural products including bananas, beans, sweet potato, rubber, cassava, sweetcorn, fruit (watermelon, passion fruit and tamarind) and processed wood to China.
Daovone believes that when the railway is operational, more Chinese companies will be interested in investing in these sectors in partnership with Lao businesses.
Other sectors will also benefit, especially tourism, with hotels, restaurants, guesthouses and vehicle rental businesses expected to earn more, while more revenue will be generated in the communication, education and health sectors, he added.
More foreign currency will flow into Laos, which will improve foreign exchange rates, lower inflation, and strengthen the economy, he said.
"From a personal perspective and as a business operator, I am confident that the government will roll out effective measures to bring the COVID-19 outbreak under control when the railway comes into service, so as to accelerate the recovery from the impacts of the pandemic," Daovone said.
He recommended that the government should do all it could to enable businesses to resume normal operations so they could bolster the incomes of local people as well as engage in more trading and investment for development purposes.
He also advised business operators to take this opportunity to work together to develop and improve their businesses in line with the circumstances imposed by the new normal.
The China-Laos Railway is a symbol of friendship between the two countries and will bring happiness and prosperity to the peoples of both countries, he said.
The China-Laos Railway is a docking project between the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative and Laos' strategy to convert itself from a landlocked country to a land-linked hub.
The electrified passenger and cargo railway is built with the full application of Chinese management and technical standards. The construction of the project started in December 2016 and is scheduled to be completed and operational in December 2021. Enditem