Ample room remains for Viet Nam-Laos trade ties

Friday, Jan 13, 2023 08:50

Viet Nam-Laos trade value jumped from some US$1 billion in 2020 to $1.37 billion in 2021 and $1.63 billion last year. — VNA/VNS Photo

Despite impacts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and natural disasters, two-way trade between Viet Nam and Laos has regained its growth momentum, with the visit of Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and the 45th meeting of the Viet Nam-Laos Inter-Governmental Committee expected to help promote sustainable development of bilateral ties.

Statistics show that the trade value jumped from some US$1 billion in 2020 to $1.37 billion in 2021 and $1.63 billion last year, making it a bright spot in bilateral relations.

Viet Nam’s exports to Laos increased from $571.7 million in 2020 to $594.7 million in 2021. Its major export items included steel, means of transport and accessories, machine, plastic products and vegetables.

Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Hong Dien said the two industry and trade ministries have worked together to maintain annual growth of at least 10 per cent as set by high-ranking leaders since 2012.

The two sides have also closely coordinated in building a complete, comprehensive trade framework and offered special incentives to each other through the Vietnam-Laos Trade Agreement and the Viet Nam-Laos Border Trade Agreement in 2015.

In energy, the two Governments signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in developing hydropower projects in Laos, connecting the electricity systems and power trading between the two countries.

Given complex and unexpected developments in the regional and global economy, Dien suggested the industry, energy and mining sectors of Viet Nam and Laos tighten their connectivity and further support each other to sail through the difficulties and develop sustainably.

Pointing to limitations in two-way trade, experts said investment attraction policies in production, manufacturing, infrastructure, transport, and logistics at border gates are not effective.

Other problems lie with infrastructure, especially routes leading to border gates and connecting districts, which has failed to satisfy the demand for good exchanges in border areas.

The MoIT’s Asia-Africa Market Department noted that with the current growth pace, trade between Viet Nam and Laos is expected to hit $2 billion soon.

The department suggested Vietnamese firms invest in building their own brands, fully understand rules set in trade agreements and utilise trade promotion programmes to seek partners.

Lao Minister of Industry and Trade Malaythong Kommasith also held that the trade cooperation has yet to match the potential of both nations as well as their political ties.

The two ministries have agreed to actively coordinate in implementing measures to boost the trade ties, soon conclude the negotiations and signing of a memorandum of understanding on border trade infrastructure development and connectivity, and complete adjustments to the bilateral trade agreement to facilitate operations of Vietnamese and Lao businesses. — VNS

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