FAR EAST: Rubber Group defends Laos, Cambodia operations

The statement was made in response to an accusation by Global Witness, a London-based environmental watchdog of deforestation activities in Laos and Cambodia.

At a press conference held in HCM City on 13 June 2013, the VRG said that its rubber plantations in Laos and Cambodia were in the framework of economic, cultural, scientific and technological cooperation between the Vietnamese Government and the two countries.

The Vietnamese firms in general, and the rubber companies in particular, had strictly adhered to the Cambodian and Lao laws while respecting local customs and traditions and protecting the environment.

The group had followed plans approved by Lao and Cambodian authorities, the statement affirmed, adding that authorities and local residents often supervised the group's activities.

The group also ensured and respected the interests of local people. It has so far recruited more than 20,000 local people in Cambodia, and 10,000 in Laos, Besides investing in more than 3,000 houses for local workers, the group also focuses on the construction of water plants, power systems, hospitals, schools and roads.

The VRG currently has 21 projects in Cambodia and eight in Laos.

Source: Daily "VietnamPlus", Hanoi; 14 June 2013
(Syed Rashid Ali, Karachi, Pakistan)