Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Special economic zones attracts over $5B in Laos

Special economic zones attracts over $5B in Laos

Special economic zones attracts over $5B in Laos

Twelve special economic zones (SEZs) established across Laos have attracted investment of almost $5.7 billion and created thousands of jobs for local people, a report this week showed.

The zones’ developers have invested $4.28 billion, individual companies invested $1.36 billion, and the Lao government has underwritten the remaining more than $52 million.

The number of zones increased from 10 in the 2013-2014 fiscal year to 12 in 2018, with an estimated total investment of $43.77 billion and registered capital of $14.30 billion.

As of 2018, the zones had attracted actual investment capital of almost $5.7 billion, according to a report presented at the second meeting of the Party Committee of the SEZ Promotion and Management Office on Monday.

Some 806 companies have invested in the zones comprising 26.34 per cent in the industrial sector, 25.26 per cent in trade, and 48.4 per cent in the services sector, Party Secretary of the SEZ Promotion and Management Office, Champa Khamsouksai told the meeting.

Manufactured goods exported from the zones were worth $1.75 billion as of 2018. In addition, the zones have contributed more than 349 billion kip in the form of various taxes and fees to the state budget.

The zones have created 55,771 jobs, including 12,596 positions for Lao workers.

In total, some 29,489ha of land have been granted for the development of the 12 SEZs following signed contracts.

However, just 14,960ha have been handed over so far including 11,678ha whose owners have been compensated for the loss of their land.

Authorities are currently studying the establishment of another special economic zone called ‘Smart & Eco-City’ straddling Luang Namtha and Oudomxay provinces with site surveys already undertaken.

Champa pledged the Party Committee of the SEZ Promotion and Management Office would push to improve the administration of the zones including a one-stop service to better facilitate investment and business operations as part of its five-year 2019-2024 work plan. Such efforts would expedite services in a transparent manner, he told the meeting.

He underlined the need to attach greater importance to labour management at the zones and to creating community-based projects to enable nearby residents to participate and benefit from the zones.

The Party Committee will lead efforts to draw up a SEZ strategic development plan for 2021-2030 to replace the 2011-2020 plan.

In addition, the Party Committee will work with relevant sectors to explore untapped potential associated with the Belt and Road Initiative and the under-construction Laos-China railway. New development zones or new special economic zones could be established in this regard.

The committee will continue to assess and follow up the development of the existing SEZs to ensure their effectiveness and maximise revenue collection along with compensating the remaining affected landholders.



  • Draft law on state of emergency pending finalisation

    Prime Minister Hun Sen will lead a top-level meeting on Tuesdays to review the draft law on imposing a state of emergency. Meantime, he has decided to close all casinos in Cambodia effective April 1. In the press conference after the National Assembly met today, Hun

  • State of emergency on table amid pandemic

    Prime Minister Hun Sen, his deputy prime ministers and legal team will meet on Tuesday to review the draft law on declaring a state of emergency, as Covid-19 cases rose to 107 in the Kingdom on Monday. Speaking at a press conference after a parliament meeting

  • Stranded passengers petition UK for help

    Some 10,521 people have signed an online petition calling on British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and relevant officials to fly nearly 200 passengers out of Cambodia. The petition is targeted at 15,000 people. Most of the passengers are British nationals, who are stranded in Cambodia after airlines cancelled

  • Covid-19 Pandemic: Force majeure and legal consequences

    Is the Covid-19 pandemic considered an event of force majeure? The World Health Organisation declared the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak a pandemic on March 11. Following this declaration, the Ministry of Health and other ministries have taken various legal and administrative measures to prevent the rapid

  • Many in limbo as tension heightens

    As the Kingdom restricts travel and prepares for a state of emergency, some foreigners in Cambodia are scrambling for a way home. Foreign embassies in Phnom Penh are making efforts to get their citizens out, but cancelled flights have become common due to the coronavirus

  • PM set to mend ties with US

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has responded to US Congressman Ted Yoho, saying he is ready to improve Cambodia-US relations, and not take up issues of disagreements which have become a barrier between the two countries’ bilateral cooperation. His response to Yoho came after the congressman