RCEP, China-Laos Railway to give rise to Made in Laos: state container transport operator
Published: May 14, 2022 12:24 AM
China Laos Photo:VCG

China Laos Photo:VCG

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade deal and the China-Laos Railway is expected to bring opportunities for Laos manufacturing and give rise to "Made in Laos," as the railway, a flagship project under the Belt and Road Initiative, has seen five months of successful operation, container transport operator China Railway Container Transport Corp (CRCT) told the Global Times on Friday.

Having been in official operation for five months, the railway has become a main overland transportation artery connecting China and Southeast Asia, carrying 2.9 million tons of cargo including $737 million worth of international freight and engaging in transshipment transport that saw cargo reaching as far as Singapore.

Singapore is the southern end of the ambitious pan-Asia railway network, of which the China-Laos Railway is a section. 

Moreover, the company believes the taking effect of the RCEP trade deal, the world's largest free trade pact, will promote international trade and cross-border e-commerce. The company also estimated that more processing companies will relocate to Southeast Asian countries to reap the benefits of the RCEP deal, and the trend is set to bring new opportunities to Made in Laos, CRCT said.

Currently, the primary cargo shipped from China to Laos is textile fabric, followed by fertilizers, machineries, telecommunication gears and anti-epidemic materials. 

From Laos to China, the top cargo is cassava starch, minerals, potash and fruits. 

The World Bank estimated in 2021 that the railway could potentially increase aggregate income in the land-locked country by up to 21 percent over the long term. 

To date, the railway also handled large volumes of transshipment goods and have served clients based in Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia and Singapore. The top cargo in this trade mode is fertilizers, followed by textile fabrics and vegetables, according to CRCT, adding that the railway could also help connect Europe and Southeast Asia. 

CRCT said it had added cold chain logistics to its freight service, making the transportation of vegetables and fruits possible. Four overseas container deports, including one in Bangkok and another in Ho Chi Minh City, were incorporated to oversee the returning of containers.

The RCEP pact is set to lift regional GDP by 0.86 percent by 2035, a report by the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation stated in November 2021.