Laos is seeking to expand trade links with the Philippines, as the two countries agreed to bolster cooperation on various fronts.
Visiting Lao Foreign Minister Saleumxay Kommasith said there were a lot of potentials for the two countries to expand cooperation bilaterally, as well as within the framework of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
“We always say that ASEAN family needs to enhance ASEAN cooperation. ASEAN is one of the biggest markets, ranking sixth in the world in terms of economic statistics,” he said.
Kommasith believed that the inaugural Philippines-Laos Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC) meeting would be a “turning point” for bilateral cooperation.
“When it comes to bilateral cooperation, bilateral trade, I think between individual ASEAN countries, we are still lagging behind compared to other regions,” he said.
“From now on, we are confident that we will be able to expand our cooperation according to our national capacity and according to our potential that both of us can benefit in the coming year,” he added.
For his part, Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said the two countries would work to enhance bilateral cooperation.
“…When we celebrate our anniversary next year, we would come up with much more cooperation, collaboration agreement and the people of Lao and the people of the Philippines will feel the benefits of this cooperation,” he said.
Cayetano also asked the assistance of Laos in furtherance of ASEAN centrality and the ASEAN way of “consensus and building brotherhood among our nations.”
On Thursday, the two sides signed a scholarship agreement.
“We want more scholarships and more programs from both sides. So we want more Lao students to study here and look at opportunities,” added Cayetano.
Kommasith is undertaking a two-day official visit to the Philippines until Friday.
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