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APO Secretary-General Ryuichiro Yamazaki paid a courtesy call on Lao PDR Deputy Prime Minister Somsavath Lengsavad on 18 October 2011 while attending the Workshop Meeting of Heads of NPOs held from 18 to 20 October in Vientiane. Deputy Prime Minister Lengsavad stated that the Government of Lao PDR valued the APO and its activities greatly, particularly those promoting the development of local SMEs. The two exchanged views on SME development in the region, and the Deputy Prime Minister recalled his experiences in Oita, Japan, in the early 2000s. Deputy Prime Minister Somsavath Lengsavad hoped that the APO would continue to be effective and offer projects benefiting the Lao national productivity movement and SMEs.