At the Vietnam-Laos Trade Fair 2017 (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA)
– Since Vietnam and Laos set up diplomatic relations in 1962, the relationship between the two countries has flourished thanks to efforts from both sides to make ties deeper and more effective, especially in economy, trade and investment.

According to Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Quoc Khanh, since a bilateral trade agreement was signed in March 3, 2015 and a border trade agreement was inked on June 26, 2015, trade ties between the two countries have developed.

Launching the Vietnam-Lao trade website at www.vietlaotrade.com has also fostered connections and trade exchange between business communities of both sides.

Deputy Minister Khanh said the website aims to provide the business community timely and comprehensive information on economic, trade, industry regulations, mechanisms and policies as well as trade promotion activities, aiming to better serve enterprises of both countries and make information cheaper to access.

Statistics of the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) showed that as of March 2017, trade between the two countries reached 236 million USD, up 4.3 percent year on year, with Vietnam’s exports at 135 million USD, a rise of 22.6 percent.

Meanwhile, Vietnam imported 101 million USD worth of goods from Laos, down 13.1 percent over the same period last year, resulting in a trade surplus of 34 million USD for Vietnam.

Vietnam mostly exported fuel, steel, iron, transportation vehicles and spare parts to Laos, while importing rubber, fertiliser, ore and minerals.

To celebrate the 55th anniversary of Vietnam-Laos diplomatic relations and 40 years of the Vietnam-Laos Treaty of Amity and Cooperation, a trade fair was held from June 29-July 3 in Vientiane to encourage stronger economic, trade and investment cooperation between the two countries.

Meanwhile, two-way trade between Vietnam and Laos dropped about 20 percent in 2016, mostly because the Government of Laos stopped exporting woods and minimised imports of some products the country can supply itself such as cement, iron and steel. Trade competition in Laos has also become fiercer.

Recently, Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh had a meeting with Lao Minister of Industry and Commerce Khemmany Phonexena to discuss the fall in trade and seek measures to promote bilateral trade.

The two sides have agreed to work closely in building a bilateral trade development plan for the next 10 years, and to strengthen communications on the bilateral trade and border trade agreements.

To fulfil the target of 4 billion USD in two-way trade in 2020, the two sides will launch new cooperation projects in Laos and assist existing projects, while carrying out the agreement on border and border gate management and the protocol on borderline and national border markers.

The MoIT will also review Vietnamese projects in Laos to seek measures to support investors.-VNA