Laos, Netherlands share corporate social responsibility experiences



The Lao and Netherlands governments are focusing on corporate social responsibility (CSR) exchange to improve the role of the private sector and sustainable development.

Investment projects in Laos, especially hydropower construction and mining excavation, take CSR very seriously and make it a priority, Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce Mr Somchith Inthamith told a seminar on the issue in Vientiane yesterday.

The seminar, which was hosted by the European Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Laos, coincided with a visit to Laos by a delegation of business leaders from the Netherlands, and was chaired by Netherlands Ambassad or to Laos Mr Karel Hartogh.

CSR in Laos related to creating job opportunities, community development and poverty reduction, Mr Somchith said.

The Lao government, especially the industry and commerce sector, would continue to improve regulations so they were effective for investors and benefitted communities, he added.

Economic and trade relations between Laos and the European Union (EU) continue to expand with the EU being Laos‘ fourth largest tradi ng partner.

Lao products exported to the EU include garments, tea, coffee, copper, fruit, sugar, wood and rubber, while imports consist of machinery, iron, electronic equipment and plastics, he reported.

The value of trade between Laos and the EU has fluct uated at times but has increased seven percent on average from 2011-2014.

“In 2014, the value of trade between both sides reached US$559 million,” Mr Somchith said.

In 1997 Laos received special trading rights (GSP) from the EU for many products exported to the Union, especially handicrafts, clothing, shoes and textiles.

Trade between Laos and the Netherlands from 2010 to the first six months of 2015 had fluctuated but on average the value of Lao exports to the Netherlands was higher than imports, he added.

Lao exports to the Netherlands include processed agricultural products, rice, shoes, clothes, electrical equipment and copper, while imports included spare parts, cotton, medicine, medical equipment and machinery.

To bolster good cooperation and relationships, he hoped that trading between Laos and the EU, especially Laos and the Netherlands, would continue to grow and attract more investors.

“CSR is also an important contributor to socio-economic development and stable growth, in particular strengthening sustainable human resource development,” Mr Somchith added.

By Times Reporters
(Latest Update February 24, 2016)

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