09:44 | 19/10/2016 Cooperation
(VEN) - A conference was held in Vientiane from September 22-25 to promote industry and trade cooperation between Vietnam and Laos. In the framework of the event, Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh had bilateral meetings with his Lao counterpart and the Lao Minister of Energy and Mines. They talked about opportunities to promote sustainable cooperation in industry, trade, and energy towards specific targets based on the traditional friendship between the two countries.
Industry and Trade Review Editor-in-Chief Nguyen Huu Quy (right) congratulates Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh (left) and Lao Minister of Industry and Trade Khemmani Pholsena on the success of the conference
Boosting trade ties
Thanks to the tight cooperation between the two ministries of industry and trade, bilateral trade has grown continuously with annual growth averaging 25.8 percent from 2012-2014. Last year, the two countries signed a bilateral trade agreement and a border trade agreement, marking a new step forward in bilateral trade relations.
However, bilateral trade decreased 12.6 percent from more than US$1.28 billion in 2014 to about US$1.12 billion in 2015. In the first eight months of 2016, it reached a mere US$540.3 million, down 35 percent from the same period last year. The two sides recognized the infeasibility of the 20 percent bilateral trade growth target set for 2016 at the 38th session of the Vietnam-Laos Joint Committee.
The two sides agreed to work out a trade cooperation development plan for the next decade and quickly implement the bilateral trade and border trade agreements so that they can benefit businesses. Electricity will be added into the list of goods traded between the two countries. The two governments will be requested to invest state capital in the construction of border markets in accordance with the Vietnam-Laos Border Market Development Plan until 2020 which has been approved. The one-stop mechanism will be operated to facilitate the implementation of customs clearance procedures at Vietnam-Laos border crossings.
Energy, mining: Key cooperation areas
Vietnamese businesses have invested in 16 hydropower and mining projects in Laos, significantly contributing to social security and creating jobs for Lao people.
The two ministers of industry and trade, and representatives from the Vietnamese industry and trade sector and the Lao Ministry of Energy and Mines discussed measures to deal with difficulties facing Vietnamese energy and mining investment projects in Laos.
The Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade requested the Lao Minister of Energy and Mines to report to the Lao government a proposal for the PetroVietnam Power Corporation (PV Power), investor of the 1,100MW Luang Prabang hydropower project, to extend the implementation time of this BOT project to ensure its effectiveness.
The Vietnam Chemical Group requested the governments and concerned authorities of the two countries to make necessary adjustments to the kali salt mining project to ensure its effectiveness.
Lao authorities accepted these requests. Lao Minister of Energy and Mines Khammany Inthirath affirmed the Lao government pledged to facilitate and support Vietnamese investment projects in the country. He highly appreciated Vietnam’s assistance for Laos in the field of energy, especially the installation of power transmission lines for border areas.