Laos, Vietnam target 15% increase in bilateral trade

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - Laos and Vietnam are hoping to increase bilateral trade by 10 to 15 percent during 2019, with total trade last year valued at US$1.03 billion. 

Last year’s figure exceeded the plan by 10 percent. Two-way trade between Laos and Vietnam in the first seven months of 2019 touched US$663.76 million, an increase of nearly 13 percent compared to the same period last year, according to a report from the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.

In a bid to achieve the goal of further increasing bilateral trade in the years to come, senior trade officials from the two sides met in Vientiane on Saturday during a working visit by a Vietnamese delegation led by the Minister of Industry and Commerce, Mr Tran Tuan Anh.

The meeting reviewed cooperation in bilateral trade in the period since the first bilateral meeting of the trade ministries of the two countries was held in Vietnam in 2017.

It was also part of implementing the agenda of the 41st meeting of the Laos-Vietnam Inter-Governmental Committee which was held in Hanoi earlier this year, in relation to economic cooperation for development.

During the meeting, the Lao Minister for Industry and Commerce, Ms Khemmani Pholsena, highlighted bilateral trade and reported on the implementation of the recommendations of the Laos and Vietnam inspection committee at various border checkpoints.

Several important trade fairs for Vietnamese products were organised in Vientiane, and Laos participated in several expos in Vietnam as part of measures to promote two-way trade between the neighbours.

The two sides also discussed the importance of promoting cross-border trade and enhancing bilateral cooperation for border trade through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding to build infrastructure as part of trade facilitation and promotion measures.

Along with seeking ways to increase two-way trade to meet set goals, the two sides also committed to resolving the difficulties experienced by Vietnamese businesses operating in Laos.

“With regard to the difficulties experienced by Vietnamese businesses during operations in Laos, especially for the import of petroleum, the ministry will continue to resolve these problems in collaboration with other state departments,” Ms Khemmani said.

On same day, the Vietnamese delegation met representatives of the Lao Ministry of Energy and Mines to discuss current investment projects in the field of energy and mines, and to seek ways to promote and tighten investment measures in potential areas such as hydropower.

Vietnam is one of the biggest investors and major trade partners of Laos. The two countries have set a two-way trade target of US$4 billion by 2020, according to the Laos-Vietnam inter-governmental body.

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