The Vietnam-Laos Friendship Association (VLFA) needs to exert every effort to promote people-to-people exchange, thus bolstering the traditional friendship, special solidarity and comprehensive cooperation between the two nations, said Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

During a meeting celebrating the 40th founding anniversary of VLFA (January 15, 1975-2015) in Hanoi on January 15, the Deputy PM praised efforts made by the association over the past four decades, saying that these have contributed to deepening the bilateral all-round ties.

The Vietnam-Laos relations see an increasing development thanks to joint endeavors made by generations of both sides’ leaders and people, Phuc said, expressing his hope that it will continue to grow in all fields in the future.

He urged the association to increase activities to link Vietnamese and Lao businesses with a view to strengthening bilateral economic collaboration and raising two-way trade.

According to the Vietnamese official, trade between Vietnam and Laos reached 1.58 billion USD last year, a 34.5 percent annual increase. The two nations have set to lift this to 2 billion USD by late this year.

Vietnam has poured over 5 billion USD in Laos , becoming one of the largest investors in the country.

Currently, nearly 8,000 Lao students are studying in Vietnam while Laos is home to over 400 Vietnamese students.

The two Governments and their cooperation subcommittees are working hard to prepare for the 37th meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee scheduled for late this month in Hanoi , Phuc noted.

At the event, VLFA President Vu Trong Kim briefed participants on his association’s operations since it was established, with a wide range of exchange activities to deepen the bilateral ties.

Vilayvong Budakham from the Laos-Vietnam Friendship Association (LVFA) congratulated VLFA on achievements during its 40-year development, stressing that the two Parties, Governments and peoples must make more efforts to further forge their special relationship.

LVFA will collaborate closely with its Vietnamese partner in diversifying forms of operation to educate the two peoples, especially young generations, about the traditional Vietnam-Laos relationship, he said.

On the occasion, Deputy PM Phuc presented the first-class Labour Order to VLFA in recognition of its significant contribution to the bilateral relations.-VNA