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Mongolia Looks to Boost Trade with Laos

Mongolia and Laos signed an agreement to boost cooperation in agriculture, especially in food production, livestock, veterinary care, forestry and light industry, the Laotian newspaper Vientiane Times reported last week..

The agreement was signed in Vientiane on March 22 by the Laotian Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Sitaheng Rasphone and T. Badamjunai, the Mongolian Minister of Food, Agriculture and Light Industry.

“We are interested in trading agricultural and forestry products with Laos”, said Mongolian Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Mr. Badamjunia during his official visit to the country. He told local media, “this cooperation would increase relations between the two countries in the future.”

Under the agreement, the two sides agreed to formulate joint collaborative projects involving both the public and private agricultural sectors of the two countries and to set up joint venture companies in rice production and processing, said the newspaper.

According to signed agreement, Laos would export rice and sugar to Mongolia, as well as invest in wood processing and livestock breeding exchanges.

Laos contains more than 800.000 hectares of rice fields and produced about three million tones of rice last year, a figure which is set to rise to 3.3 million tons this year, said President of the Lao-Agro Processing Association, Mr Phouvong Korasack.

The country has sufficient rice for domestic consumption and also exports the crop to Vietnam and Thailand. Last year the country exported around 10.000 tones of sugar to Europe, said Mr Phouvong. The Laotian government plans to increase production of rice and sugar to ensure domestic supply is met and that exports can be increased.

Mongolia currently imports about 25.000 tons of sugar and 30.000 tons of rice a year, primarily from Vietnam and China.

On the basis of the cooperation agreement, Laos will consider a number of proposals by Mongolia including the transferring agricultural land use rights of 10.000 hectares in Laos to Mongolian companies to produce rice and other crops, the development of sheep farming in Laos and the establishment of a Mongolian agriculture cooperation center in Laos.

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