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Paving the way for trade, tourism in Laos

Laos is aiming to develop roads linking neighbouring countries to boost trade, investment and tourism, Prime Minister Bouasone Pouphavanh said at the Nationwide Meeting of Public Works and Transport in Vientiane on Wednesday.

“The roads can bring benefits to our country in trade, investment, and tourism, especially in attracting more investors to Laos,” he said.

It will also help support the government's strategic plan for poverty reduction, aimed at raising Laos from the UN's least-developed country list by 2020.

Land, water and air transport have to improve to facilitate access to services for domestic and foreign traders in the region, Mr Bouasone said.

A road in Saravan province is one of many being constructed to link Laos with Vietnam.

The government will also spend more than 900 billion kip upgrading and paving the 147km Road No. 15 that runs from Saravan province to the Vietnamese border.

About 50 percent of the work has now been done and 30km of the road has been asphalted, project head Mr Bouachanh Ouansavanh said.

It is due for completion in 2012.

Last year, Laos saw the opening of its first train station in Vientiane, with the railway linking Vientiane to Nong Khai province in Thailand across the Lao-Thai Mekong Friendship Bridge.

Road R3 in Luang Namtha province in the north of Laos, which was completed in 2008, also links the province to Yunnan province in China.

According to the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, it provides a valuable communication and service route passing through northern Laos, and enables the easy transport of goods between Laos, China, and Thailand.

In addition, Savannakhet province in the south of Laos and Mukdahan in neighbouring Thailand are linked by a bridge across the Mekong.

Savannakhet is located along the East-West Economic Corridor, linking Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam on Road No 9. It also lies along the north-south Road No 13, which runs through Laos leading north to China and south into Cambodia.

The third Lao-Thai Mekong Friendship Bridge, linking Khammuan province in central Laos to Nakhon Phanom province in Thailand, will be completed by November 2011.

By Khonesavanh Latsaphao

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