Laos Update: Tripartite Electricity Agreement Will Set Stage for ASEAN Power Grid

Laos Update | July 27, 2017
Authors: Matt Solomon and Cameron Barkan
 
LOOKING AHEAD
 
 
2017 Laos Business Mission: August 31-September 1
Registration is now open for the 2017 Laos Business Mission, taking place on August 31-September 1 in Vientiane. Click here to register. Registration deadline is August 17. Please contact Matt Solomon at msolomon@usasean.org with any questions.
 
THE COUNCIL'S TAKE
 
 

Tripartite Electricity Agreement Will Set Stage for ASEAN Power Grid

Laos has signaled plans to sign a tripartite electricity trade agreement with Thailand and Malaysia at the next ASEAN Energy Ministers’ Meeting in mid-September in Manila. Under the agreement, Laos will sell up to 100MW of electricity to Malaysia using Thailand’s transmission system. Thai Ministry of Energy Permanent Secretary Areepong Bhoocha-Oom explained that “Laos will generate and sell electricity to Malaysia under the agreement. Laos will get paid for electricity while Thailand will get paid for its transmission.” Permanent Secretary Areepong also suggested that, in the future, Malaysia may sell Laos-generated electricity to Singapore.

This informal commitment to sign an agreement is a step towards the creation of a long-envisioned “ASEAN Power Grid” that could eventually incorporate all of mainland Southeast Asia. However, after the agreement is signed in September, there will be more opportunities for firms to improve electricity transport between Laos and Malaysia via Thailand. One of Thailand’s strengths in the region is energy facilitation as it competes with Chinese hydroelectric transmission. This strategy of utilizing Laos’ strong electricity production and Thailand’s facilitation network is setting the tone for a future integrated network. It is likely that other ASEAN nations will connect via a similar model after the Laos-Thailand-Malaysia link is completed—such as Thai transmission to Myanmar and Cambodia—which could set the stage for future linkages.

China-Laos-Thailand Railway Connection Construction to Begin by the End of 2017/Early 2018

The China-Laos railway and Laos-Thailand railway connection is expected to begin construction at the end of 2017 or early 2018 after a yearlong suspension. Deputy Director General of the Lao Railway Department Mr. Sonesack N. Nhansana explained delay as due to a difference in track gauge, making it difficult to connect with the Laos-Chinese railway, which is currently under construction with an anticipated completion date of 2021. The Laos-Chinese railway will run from the northern border linkage point at Thanalaeng down to Luang Namtha in the north, through Luang Prabang, and eventually Vientiane. After Vientiene, it will merge with the Lao-Thai railway at Nong Khai in Thailand where it will extend all the way to Bangkok.

The Lao government is seeking a consulting firm to begin the construction process, which will involve linking Laos and Thailand over the Friendship bridge and in turn link up with the railway to China. Most of the funding has been provided by Thailand through grants and low interest loans since the project was envisioned in the 2010 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Laos and Thailand. More financing will likely be necessary. The Laos-Thailand railway is expected to be completed two years after construction begins and the eventual link to the existing railway will take an undetermined amount of time.

Laos and World Bank Launch Five-Year Partnership

Laos and the World Bank Office in Vientiane have begun the implementation of a five-year development framework. Launched in late May, the new framework focuses on sustainable green growth, infrastructure improvements, and access to human services. The World Bank will provide $240-270 million in loans from the International Development Association (IDA). This comes after years of World Bank consultations with government officials, academics, and private sector officials. The plan is designed to work with the Lao government’s 8thNational Socio-Economic Development Plan, which has similar objectives. World Bank Director for Southeast Asia Ulrich Zachau explained that “Laos has recorded impressive economic growth and achieved significant development gains,” and the World Bank, “seeks to support country’s fundamental strategic shift toward greener and more resilient growth.”

In the past month, more details on this partnership have emerged. The Lao Ministry of Finance on June 8 signed an agreement for 316 billion kip (38 million USD) in credit to support those in poverty through environmentally conscious growth. Both the government and the World Bank are pushing for environmental sustainability. “The World Bank is pleased to partner with Laos as it shifts to green growth,” Mr Ulrich Zachau said, adding “green growth can generate new opportunities for the Lao people by creating jobs in new industries that depend on environmental quality, such as eco-tourism or production of green agricultural products.” As envisioned by the World Bank, sustainability also applies to financial stability and investments to reduce overall risk in the economy related to resource management.

Finally, on July 13 it was confirmed that World Bank will provide $30 million USD for natural disaster risk management projects and $25 million USD for the Mekong Integrated Water Resources Management Project (MIWRM). The Disaster Risk Management Project (DRM) will provide an early warning system for natural disasters and disaster financing. The MIWRM will establish a national water quality lab and assess water availability in different climates. Ellen Goldstein, the World Bank Country Director for Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar explained, “As Laos rapidly develops, more natural resources will risk depletion or contamination, and more people and assets will be exposed to disaster risks, unless necessary investments are made.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
IN THIS UPDATE
 
 
Regional Affairs
Laos, Thailand discuss legalization of informal workers
Vietnam, Laos to hold first border friendship exchange
Azerbaijan, Laos ink deal
China provides aid for poverty alleviation project in Laos
Abe, Laotian leader affirm specifics of joint development plan
Laos, Thailand set to boost trade, investment cooperation
Vietnam, Laos hold second political consultation
Laos and France Bolsters Ties
Dispute with Laos persists
PM meets with Vietnamese investors in Laos
Troops from Laos and Cambodia in Cross-Border Standoff over Road Construction

National Affairs
Laos, WB sign up to green growth transition
U.S. Ambassador Visits Southern Provinces

Customs
Vietnam, Laos sign protocol on adjustment of good transit deal
Committees work to facilitate Vietnamese, Lao enterprises

Economics
Laos eyes 7 percent economic growth in 2018
Lao PDR to Strengthen Resilience to Natural Disasters and Improve Water Resources Management
Govt stresses transparent debt repayment
Economy grows fast, progress slower toward livability in capital
Lao gov't, partners discuss priorities for trade, private sector development
Benefits from integration elude Laos
Laos-World Bank launch next 5-year partnership framework
Lao PDR's Reforms Can Strengthen and Sustain Inclusive Growth
Lao economy projected to grow around 7 pct annually to 2019 - Xinhua | English.news.cn
Laos has yet to fully benefit from trade privileges
Private investment needed to drive growth: economists

Energy
Groups discuss impact of upcoming Laos dam
Laos, development partners discuss greenhouse gas emission
Cooperation vital to energy development
Vietnam urges Laos to rethink Mekong River dams
Thailand to help transmit electricity from Laos to Malaysia
Thailand plans to sign electricity accord with Laos and Malaysia
Malaysia optimistic of signing PPAs with Laos and Thailand soon

Financial Services
Lao PDR to Adopt Green Growth, with Support
Lao bankers open to emerging tech trends
Dual listings promoted in bid to deepen corporate relations

Food & Agriculture
Lao Central Bank Rejects Blame For Agro Investment Firm Default
World Bank supports disaster risk management in Laos

Health & Life Sciences
Lao gov't to push for use of contraceptives, reduce adolescent pregnancies
EU to support education development in Laos
Laos to order closure of foreign clinics
Vietnam, Laos enhance medical cooperation
Laos records 1,760 dengue fever cases till May - Xinhua | English.news.cn
Lao Health Officials Shut Down Clinic Suspected of Providing Illegal Surrogacy Services
Laos sees highest rate of malnutrition in southeastern Asia: ministry

Infrastructure
Laos-Thailand railway extension construction back on track
China-Lao rail gathers steam : TTR Weekly
Building of public offices in Laos suspended until 2020
Reasons revealed for slow power grid expansion
Daewoo E&C Forges Strategic Partnership for Laos Infrastructure Development
 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
Regional Affairs

Laos, Thailand discuss legalization of informal workers Xinhua 13th Jul 2017
Lao and Thai representatives have met in northern Lao city Luang Prabang, discussing issues related to the export of Lao labor to Thailand, the Lao News Agency (KPL) reported on Thursday. The two countries are speeding up the inspection and legalization of informal Lao workers to tackle human trafficking and labor exploitation, said the report.

Vietnam, Laos to hold first border friendship exchange vietnamplus.vn 12th Jul 2017
Hanoi (VNA) – The first Vietnam-Laos border friendship exchange will take place in the northern mountainous province of Son La on July 22-24, a senior official from the Defence Ministry’s Border Guard High Command told a press conference in Hanoi on July 12.

Azerbaijan, Laos ink deal AzerNews.az 20th Jun 2017
The Governments of Azerbaijan and the Lao People`s Democratic Republic signed an Agreement on Exemption from visa requirement for holders of diplomatic passports. The agreement was signed on June 19 by Azerbaijan`s Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov and Lao Minister of Foreign Affairs Saleumxay Kommasith. Prior to the signing ceremony, the foreign ministers had a tete-a-tete and extended meetings with the participation of delegations.

China provides aid for poverty alleviation project in Laos Xinhua 14th Jun 2017
China and Laos on Wednesday signed an agreement on implementation of aid provision by China for poverty alleviation demonstration cooperation project in Laos. Economic Counselor of Chinese Embassy in Laos Wang Qihui and Director General of Planning and International Cooperation of the Lao National Committee for Rural Development and Poverty Eradication Chit Thavisay signed the agreement.

Abe, Laotian leader affirm specifics of joint development plan The Japan Times 8th Jun 2017
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Laotian counterpart, Thongloun Sisolith, agreed Wednesday in Tokyo to flesh out the elements of a joint plan to conduct a wide range of development projects in Laos.

Laos, Thailand set to boost trade, investment cooperation Xinhua 7th Jun 2017
Laos and Thailand are set to boost their trade, investment and logistics cooperation, according to local daily Vientiane Times on Thursday.

Vietnam, Laos hold second political consultation vietnamplus.vn 31st May 2017
The foreign ministries of Vietnam and Laos held their second political consultation in the Lao capital city of Vientiane on May 31. Vietnamese Deputy Foreign Minister Dang Dinh Quy and his Lao counterpart Khamphau Onthavan co-chaired the function. At the meeting, the two sides noted with pleasure the enhanced cooperation between Vietnam and Laos across fields, ranging from politics, security and national defence to economy, trade, investment, transport, education and training.

Laos and France Bolsters Ties Laotian Times 22nd May 2017
In an effort to propel Laos from Least Developed Country status by 2020, the French government is continuing to support and assist many sectors within the country.

Dispute with Laos persists Phnom Penh Post 17th May 2017
Laos and Cambodian soldiers remain “face to face” with each other in a disputed border region in Stung Treng province, a provincial military commander said yesterday, an assessment that appeared at odds with a recent statement by the Laos prime minister downplaying the standoff relayed by Prime Minister Hun Sen. The area, in northern Siem Pang district, has been a source of friction between the two countries since February, when Lao troops crossed into Cambodia to halt military engineers building a border road they maintained was in undemarcated territory.

PM meets with Vietnamese investors in Laos Vietnamnews 17th May 2017
Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc met in Vientiane on Thursday with Vietnamese investors to hear about their difficulties in a bid to help create favourable conditions for Vietnamese investments in Laos. Phúc praised the efforts and results achieved by Vietnamese firms doing businesses in Laos, which he said contributed significantly to enhancing socio-economic co-operation between the two countries. Phúc also urged firms to study the market and investment policies carefully before investing in Laos

Troops from Laos and Cambodia in Cross-Border Standoff over Road Construction Radio Free Asia 16th May 2017
Soldiers from Cambodia and Laos have been locked in a standoff across their shared border since February, in a spat that has seen troops on the ground accuse each other of incursions while the leaders of the two countries dismiss reports of friction.

National Affairs

Laos, WB sign up to green growth transition Vientiane Times 8th Jun 2017
Ministry of Finance and the World Bank yesterday signed an agreement for more than 316 billion kip (US$38.6) million in credit to support key policy reforms to maintain the country’s strong economic growth. The agreement expects to benefit more people, especially the poor and disadvantaged, while protecting the environment. The country’s First Programmatic Green Growth Development Policy Operation aims to establish the foundations for green growth planning and strengthen environmental protection and resilience to climate change in Laos.

U.S. Ambassador Visits Southern Provinces Lao News Agency 17th May 2017
U.S. Ambassador Rena Bitter visited American health and education projects and met with government officials during her trip to Sekong, Salavan, and Champasak Provinces on May 9-10. In Sekong Province, Ambassador Bitter visited Chung Hung Nuea School and Kok Hai School, where she handed over school supplies and enjoyed lunch with the students who receive nutritious meals through the U.S. Government’s McGovern-Dole Food for Education Program implemented by the World Food Programme.

Customs

Vietnam, Laos sign protocol on adjustment of good transit deal Vietnamnet 29th May 2017
A protocol adjusting the goods transit agreement between Vietnam and Laos has been signed, creating favourable conditions for transit of goods between the two countries.

Committees work to facilitate Vietnamese, Lao enterprises VietnamPlus 24th May 2017
Representatives from the Vietnam-Laos Cooperation Committee have worked with their counterparts from the Laos-Vietnam Cooperation Committee on the implementation of the Hanoi Agreement 2017 and the “one-stop-shop” customs model at the pair of Lao Bao-Densavan border gates.

Economics

Laos eyes 7 percent economic growth in 2018 Xinhua 12th Jul 2017
The Lao government expects to pursue economic growth of at least 7 percent in 2018, the same level expected for 2017, local daily Vientiane Times reported Wednesday. The Lao Finance Ministry is drafting the budget plan for 2018, which will be submitted to the upcoming ordinary session of the National Assembly (NA) in October.

Lao PDR to Strengthen Resilience to Natural Disasters and Improve Water Resources Management World Bank 7th Jul 2017
 Lao PDR is taking steps to lessen the impact of natural disasters and will continue to improve the country’s national water resources management systems, in partnership with the World Bank. The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved financing support of $30 million for the Lao PDR Southeast Asia Disaster Risk Management (DRM) Project and $25 million of additional funding for the Mekong Integrated Water Resources Management (MIWRM) Project.  

Govt stresses transparent debt repayment Vientiane Times 28th Jun 2017
The roles of the Ministry of Planning and Investment and Ministry of Finance have been clearly defined to deal with government debt repayments, a senior official has confirmed. The move is aimed to ensure debts are repaid in a transparent and accountable manner, minimising loopholes which could result in officials’ misappropriation.

Economy grows fast, progress slower toward livability in capital Vientiane Times 28th Jun 2017
The economy of Vientiane grew at an annualised rate of more than 10 percent over the past six months, yet the implementation of targets for making the capital an increasingly liveable city has seen slower progress, the city’s Mayor told councilors gathered in the capital. Vientiane Mayor Dr Sinlavong Khoutphaythoune reported on the achievements and challenges facing the capital and its administration in the first half of this year to Vientiane People’s Council on Tuesday.

Lao gov't, partners discuss priorities for trade, private sector development Xinhua 28th Jun 2017
Lao government officials and development partners met Wednesday in capital Vientiane to discuss medium term priorities for trade and private sector development in the country. Held by the Lao Ministry of Industry and Commerce, the 11th Trade and Private Sector Working Group (TPSWG) saw the attendance of more than 100 participants with the chair of Lao Minister of Industry and Commerce Khemmani Pholsena and co-chair of European Union's Ambassador Leo Faber and German Ambassador to Laos Michael Grau.

Benefits from integration elude Laos The Nation 29th May 2017
Independent economist Dr Mana Southichak has highlighted several challenges Laos needs to address promptly so it can continue to benefit from the AEC.

Laos-World Bank launch next 5-year partnership framework Vientiane Times 24th May 2017
The World Bank Office in Vientiane yesterday presented the bank’s Partnership Framework for Laos 2017-2021 to stakeholders, together with the findings of the Systematic Country Diagnostic and the launch of the annual publication entitled Lao Economic Monitor. The new partnership framework between Laos and the World Bank Group focuses on opportunities for all, sustained green growth, and improved access to human and infrastructure services.

Lao PDR's Reforms Can Strengthen and Sustain Inclusive Growth World Bank 24th May 2017
The Lao PDR economy is projected to expand at around 7 percent annually for the period 2017 to 2019, higher than other countries in the region, according to the latest edition of the World Bank’s Lao Economic Monitor, released today. 

Lao economy projected to grow around 7 pct annually to 2019 - Xinhua | English.news.cn Xinhua 24th May 2017
Lao economy is projected to expand at around 7 percent annually for the period 2017 to 2019, according to the latest edition of the World Bank's Lao Economic Monitor released Wednesday.

Laos has yet to fully benefit from trade privileges The Nation 22nd May 2017
The Ministry of Industry and Commerce recently described a number of challenges Laos is facing in order to fully benefit from trade privileges. One of the most important points is that Lao businesses don’t fully understand the true benefits and the various procedures of the scheme.

Private investment needed to drive growth: economists Vientiane Times 17th May 2017
Private investment needed to drive growth: economists Economists have cautioned that cutting spending could impact Laos’ economic growth, so the government needs to further create favourable conditions to strengthen the private sector. According to the government’s recent report, investment by domestic and foreign businesses represented more than half the entire investment driving the country’s economic growth. A senior economist at the National Economic Research Institute, DrLeeberLeebuapao, told Vientiane Times yesterday that investment by the private sector is critical for the growth of the economy. “Cutting spending will impact our economy, but if we can attract more investment I think we can sustain growth,” said DrLeeber, who is member of the National Assembly.

Energy

Groups discuss impact of upcoming Laos dam Phnom Penh Post 15th Jun 2017
A coalition of youth and community groups yesterday held a meeting in Phnom Penh to discuss the controversial Pak Beng dam in Laos, issuing a request for its construction to be halted until after an impact assessment expected from the Mekong River Committee (MRC) is released.

Laos, development partners discuss greenhouse gas emission Xinhua 26th May 2017
Progress and technical issues surrounding the establishment of a baseline to measure changes in greenhouse gas emissions in Laos has been reviewed by the Lao Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) and development partners.

Cooperation vital to energy development The Nation 22nd May 2017
Laos is seeking the advancement of cooperation in energy development, especially in promoting investments in the renewable energy sector, officials say.

Vietnam urges Laos to rethink Mekong River dams The Nation 16th May 2017
The Mekong Delta will disappear in the next several decades once Pak Beng Dam and another 10 planned hydropower dams are built on the Mekong River in Laos and Cambodia, warned environmental experts.

Thailand to help transmit electricity from Laos to Malaysia The Sun Daily 22nd Jun 2017
Thailand will sign a tripartite electricity-trading agreement with Laos and Malaysia, engaging in transmission process, Vietnam News Agency (VNA) reports. Permanent Secretary of the Thai Energy Ministry Areepong Bhoocha-Oom was quoted as saying that the agreement was scheduled to be inked at the Asean Energy Ministers' Meeting in Manila, the Philippines, on Sept 17-22.

Thailand plans to sign electricity accord with Laos and Malaysia The Nation 19th Jun 2017
Energy Ministry permanent secretary Areepong Bhoocha-Oom said the agreement would pave the way for the Laos-Thailand-Malaysia electricity deal, enabling the Asean Power Grid to materialise. “The agreement will be for the sale and purchase of electricity between Laos and Malaysia, using Thailand’s transmission system. We will be the link for the two neighbours,” he said. “The volume of electricity involved is 100 megawatts.”  The concept of an Asean Power Grid was first floated at an informal Asean summit in late 1997. Areepong said this upcoming agreement could make the grid a reality. The signing of the historic agreement is set to take place at the Asean Ministers of Energy Meeting, which will be held in Manila between September 17 and 22. 

Malaysia optimistic of signing PPAs with Laos and Thailand soon The Star Online 13th Jun 2017
Malaysia is optimistic of signing power purchase agreements (PPAs) with Laos and Thailand for the Asean Power Grid in September this year, in line with the move to strengthen energy supply. Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili said the pilot project, expected to begin in January 2018, would open up a lot of opportunities for Malaysia to source renewable energy (RE) from neighbouring countries.

Financial Services

Lao PDR to Adopt Green Growth, with Support World Bank 31st May 2017
Lao PDR is adopting key policy reforms to make its strong economic growth benefit more people, especially the poor and disadvantaged, while protecting the environment, supported by a new US$38.6 million credit which was approved today by the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors.

Lao bankers open to emerging tech trends The Nation 29th May 2017
Last week, First Lao Solutions co-operated with Fiorano and OpenWay, two of the leading technology companies providing banking solutions to present the event on “The New Trends in Payment and Enterprise Integration Middleware” in Vientiane.

Dual listings promoted in bid to deepen corporate relations The Nation 24th May 2017
Thailand is opening the door to Lao enterprises seeking to diversify their funding sources with the government’s support for the dual listing of Lao companies on the stock exchanges of both countries, Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak said on a visit to Vientiane yesterday. Somkid expressed his support for dual listings after meeting representatives of Lao-based firms including conglomerate AIF Group Co Ltd and Phongsupthavy Group Co Ltd, which are interested in raising funds in Thailand’s capital markets.

Food & Agriculture

Lao Central Bank Rejects Blame For Agro Investment Firm Default Radio Free Asia 21st Jul 2017
The Central Bank of Laos has rejected claims by the director of an agricultural company running a pyramid scheme that a warning it issued informing the public that the firm was operating illegally was responsible for the loss of millions of U.S. dollars of investor’s money.

World Bank supports disaster risk management in Laos Xinhua 13th Jul 2017
The World Bank will provide 30 million U.S. dollars to Laos as part of its continuing support for disaster risk management projects that will enable the Asian nation to mitigate natural disasters, local daily Vientiane Times reported Thursday.

Health & Life Sciences

Lao gov't to push for use of contraceptives, reduce adolescent pregnancies Xinhua 13th Jul 2017
The Lao government aims to increase the use of modern contraceptives to 65 percent of the population by 2020, according to Deputy General Director of the Ministry of Health Kaysone Chounlamany. "The maternal mortality in Laos still remains higher than in other Southeast Asian Nations, so the government has invested in family planning, which has been able to reduce the maternal mortality to 30 percent," the Lao News Agency (KPL) quoted Kaysone as saying Thursday at the celebration of the World Population Day which falls on July 11.

EU to support education development in Laos Vientiane Times 28th Jun 2017
EU to support education development in Laos The European Union (EU) has agreed to approve more than 570 billion kip (62 million EUR) to help Laos achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially in education. The information was discussed during a meeting between Minister of Education and Sports of Laos Ms Sengdeuane Lachanthaboun and Director for Asia, Central Asia, Middle East/Gulf and Pacific at the Europe Aid Office in Brussels, Mr Pierre Amilhat on Monday in Vientiane.

Laos to order closure of foreign clinics Xinhua 6th Jul 2017
The Healthcare Department under the Lao Ministry of Health will order the closure of foreign-owned clinics when their professional Lao medical licences expire in 2017.

Vietnam, Laos enhance medical cooperation Nhan Dan 26th Jun 2017
The Vietnamese Government and people always create favourable conditions for cooperation programmes and activities held between Vietnam and Laos in all fields, including healthcare, Deputy PM Dam said while receiving Lao Health Minister Bounkong Syhavong in Hanoi on June 26.

Laos records 1,760 dengue fever cases till May - Xinhua | English.news.cn XinhuaNews 7th Jun 2017
VIENTIANE, June 7 (Xinhua) -- A total of 1,760 dengue fever infections, with three deaths, were recorded in Laos from January to the end of May this year, local daily Vientiane Times reported Wednesday.

Lao Health Officials Shut Down Clinic Suspected of Providing Illegal Surrogacy Services Radio Free Asia 6th Jun 2017
Lao officials have ordered a clinic in the capital Vientiane to shut down amid indications that it is using Thai women to provide illegal surrogacy services to infertile couples, an official from the Lao Ministry of Public Health said.

Laos sees highest rate of malnutrition in southeastern Asia: ministry Xinhua News 5th Jun 2017
Despite significant progress made over past decades, Laos still has some of the highest rates of malnutrition seen in southeastern Asia, local daily Vientiane Times on Friday quoted Lao Ministry of Health as saying.

Infrastructure

Laos-Thailand railway extension construction back on track The Nation 28th Jun 2017
Deputy Director General of the Lao Railway Department under the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, Mr Sonesack N. Nhansana, told Vientiane Times yesterday that authorities in charge are working toward organising a bidding process to seek a consultant firm and contractor to carry out construction at the expected date. To be developed under the phase II, the extended line will be built over a distance of 7.5km to link the track from the outlying Thanalaeng railway station in Hadxaifong district to Khamsavat village in inner Saysettha district. Laos now has only 3.5 km of rail line linking its capital with Thailand’s Nong Khai province via the Laos-Thailand Friendship Bridge. When the extension is complete, it will boast 11 km of track.

China-Lao rail gathers steam : TTR Weekly TTR Weekly 8th Jun 2017
A fast rail line from China to Laos will run straight through Luang Prabang, Lao PDR’s famed World Heritage town, when it opens December 2021.

Building of public offices in Laos suspended until 2020 The Nation 26th May 2017
The government also reaffirmed that open bidding must strictly be followed in all state investment projects as stipulated in the country’s laws.

Reasons revealed for slow power grid expansion Vientiane Times 24th May 2017
A number of unapproved power grid expansion projects have been suspended stemming from the fact that there has been no progress on the projects, a minister recently told the National Assembly (NA). Minister of Energy and Mines DrKhammanyInthirath made the comment while responding to questions raised by NA members during the parliament’s recent ordinary session.

Daewoo E&C Forges Strategic Partnership for Laos Infrastructure Development BusinessKorea 19th Jun 2017
On June 15, Daewoo E&C signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the development of with Lotte Engineering & Construction, the KDB, and Korea Trade & Insurance Corporation with Petroleum Trading Lao Public Company (PTL) at Laos Vientiane Plaza Hotel.