The fifth China-South Asia Expo kicked off on Thursday in southwest China’s Yunnan province to promote trade and investment between China and countries in South and Southeast Asia.
Deputy Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone led a Lao delegation comprising officials and businesses to the event, the Lao Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a press statement.
Chinese Vice Premier Hu Chunhua, relevant officials, businesspeople and media representatives from countries in the region were present at the event.
More than 3,800 companies from 87 countries and regions are attending the week-long exposition, with over 40 percent being overseas enterprises, China’s Xinhua reported.
The exposition features 19 exhibition halls with some 8,500 booths covering an area of 190,000 square metres. Featured expo halls focus on fields including advanced manufacturing, food and consumer goods, health products, and medicine as well as agricultural products.
A series of events will be held simultaneously with the expo, including the 25th China Kunming Import and Export Commodities Fair and the 13th China-South Asia Business Forum, according to Xinhua.
The Lao ministry said 21 Lao companies from seven provinces have set up booths to promote their business operations and products at the Expo, themed “Integrating into the Belt and Road Initiative, Promoting Win-Win Cooperation”.
It is an important event to promote cooperation in economics, trade, investment, services, tourism and culture between China and South and Southeast Asia and other regions of the globe.
Speaking at the expo, Mr Sonexay said the Lao government attached great importance to opening up the country to welcome and promote foreign cooperation and investment.
He hailed the growing cooperation between Laos and China in fields including investment, trade and tourism.
The value of two-way trade between Laos and its giant neighbour is increasing annually. In 2017, the trade value climbed to almost US$3.2 billion.
The world’s second largest economy is the main foreign investor in Laos. Over the past five years, China’s investment in Laos amounted to US$6.1 billion in 775 projects.
The Deputy Prime Minister noted that tourism poses great potential and said Laos and China should work together to increase cooperation in this field.
Chinese visitors to Laos increase annually, with the number of holiday makers from the northern neighbour rising to 760,000 last year.
During his visit to Yunnan, Mr Sonexay met separately with Mr Hu and the Governor of Yunnan province. The hosts and the guest said they highly valued the growing comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership between Laos and China as well as the relations and cooperation between Laos and Yunnan.
Yunnan – China’s gateway to Southeast Asia and South Asia – shares a border with Laos, while Laos is part of the China-led Belt and Road Initiative. The Lao government hopes the initiative will add fuel to its effort to transform Laos from being a landlocked to a land-link country.
As the Belt and Road Initiative progresses, Yunnan is building itself into a frontier in China’s new round of opening up, the expo organiser told Xinhua.
By Times Reporters
(Latest Update June 16, 2018