A glimpse of Boten, Golden Triangle special zones in Laos

13:40, February 01, 2011      

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Two People's Daily resident reporters in Thailand have come to the Boten and Golden Triangle special economic zones in northern Laos to witness what thing are like there, and the following are some scenes they have come across in the province, where business activity is up to 99 years for concession projects.

All this is in Lao territory; the Boten and Golden special economic zone is a 20 square mile area leased by a land-based Hong Kong company from the Laotian government for 99 years starting in 2003.

At present, the development is in an initial stage at the Boton special economic zone, which lies in proximity to the Kunming-Bangkok Expressway in northern Laos, close to China. Two newly-built avenues are lined with many stores and Chinese restaurants. Some shops have gone into business, two hotels are unique in style, a few business-residential high-rises have sprung up and a commercial center is being built.

The main body of a land border checkpoint funded by a land-based Hong Kong company has completed, and its interior uplifting is well under way, and it is said to put to use in April. The designs of small tinkling bell on the crown tower at top represent an important symbol of Laos.

Laotian Kip, China's RMB yuan and Thai Bhat are mainly being used and circulated in Shopping at stores of the Boton special zone. Economic development in cities in northern Laos are less developed nevertheless; some shops and streets at old port cities along the Thai-Laotian border look deserted, and a gas station and a motorcycle repair center are also inactive. But it is bustling with business activities, with instant, continuous flows of vehicles in front of the Buton customs, and stores and restaurants are booming.

The priority orientation of the special zone in years ahead is to set up four central function areas, according to Huang Yuanshui, manger of the special zone business corporation. The first and foremost is to develop a warehouse and distribution center by capitalizing on the geographical adjacent advantages to China; the second is to build customary duty-free zone for selling electronic products and equipment or apparatus, the third is to develop a vacation and convention center and, fourthly, to build a major travel and shopping center.

Since the Boton special economic zone commenced its construction development in September 1995, its total investment reached 103 million US dollars only. The early phase of construction comprised only 12 projects, including those in the realm of infrastructure, the real estate, processing industry, warehouse and distribution, business & commerce undertaking, finance, a large, top-notch golf course and so on.

To date, the facilities already completed include hotels, stores, commercial housing, a warehouse and distribution center, a jewelry store and a performance hall.

The Laotian government has attached great importance to the development of the special economic zone, and signed in October 2010 a government order. Under the plan, Laos is expected to build 10 special economic zones nationwide in line with the experience in both China and Vietnam and in compliance with its own characteristics.

Moreover, Laos has also established its State Economic Special Zone Committee with its deputy prime minister taking the post of director of the committee and leading officials of the Investment Department, Finance Department, the Public Security Department, Culture Department and other government departments as committee members.

In line with the development agreement, the Lao government has granted the entire special zones tax-free, preferential policies by means of solely collecting a small sum of ground lease fees from investors, and sent two administrative agencies or committees to join in the special zone administration.

Furthermore, the special committee has been working to draft the preferential policies. However, the management of the special zone calls for a further improvement of the administrative rules and regulation and, in the meanwhile, a set of codes and regulations also needs to be established in varied trades and professions, Huang Yuandong acknowledged.

The Boten and Golden Triangle special economic zones are based on investment by private companies, while the Savan-Xeno special economic zone is run by the government and other two zones managed by the private sector. -- And they would have the right to charge companies a fee for investing in these zones. And the Sawan-Xeno special Economic Zone's Industrial Park in central Laos has begun to take shape with the construction of the first processing plant.

By People's Daily Online


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