Philippine Information Agency
Commentary: RP-Lao bilateral agreement a milestone in ASEAN accord
9 June 2007
Tacloban City (June 9) — The signing of bilateral agreement early evening of June 8 between two ASEAN member nations, the Philippines and Lao People’s Democratic Republic, is not only a milestone in the more than 50 years of friendly relations between said countries, it is also a landmark in the ASEAN accord.
The signing of the bilateral agreement is a fulfillment of the ASEAN objective of broadening economic integration of the ten member countries. It is also a step towards solving the serious challenge facing ASEAN on how to narrow the development gap among its members to quicken the pace of integration.
The agreement focused on the promotion and protection of investments to create favorable conditions for investments by nationals of both countries based on sovereign equality and mutual benefit.
The bilateral agreement provides for conditions conducive to investments, and accords fair and equitable treatment of nationals of both countries in the field of investment. The agreement also contains provisions on expropriation, compensation for losses, fund transfers, subrogation, and dispute settlement, among others.
Witnessed by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Lao Democratic Republic Prime Minister Bouasone Bouphavanh, the signing of the agreement by Trade Secretary Peter Pavila and Soulivong Daravong, president of Planning and Investment Committee of Lao PDR, took place at Malacanang’s Reception Hall following the expanded bilateral meeting of the two leaders.
As President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo said at the start of the expanded bilateral meeting, Prime Minister Bouasone’s visit in the Philippines would advance bilateral relations and promote shared interests in terms of social justice, economic development, and common security.
Prime Minister Bouasone, who is in Manila on a three-day official trip, arrived at 5 p.m. in Malacañang and was accorded arrival honors as a visiting head of state. After the signing ceremony, the President hosted an official banquet in honor of the visiting Lao Prime Minister at the State Dining Hall of Malacañang.
It is hoped that the bilateral agreement between the two ASEAN member countries will strengthen the relationship among ASEAN member countries and facilitate the bridging of development gaps among member countries.