Vietnam’s central province of Thanh Hoa and Laos’ Houaphanh province jointly held a meeting in Thanh Hoa on August 13 to mark the 2012 Vietnam-Laos Friendship Year and 45 years of the two provinces’ twinning relationship.

The meeting also celebrates 50 years of the establishment of Vietnam-Laos diplomatic ties and the 35 th anniversary of the Friendship and Cooperation Treaty between the two countries.

As part of the Vietnam-Laos Friendship Year, Thanh Hoa and Houaphanh are hosting a Vietnam-Laos Culture Week from August 10-16.

Since 2006, the two localities have signed a host of agreements on socio-economic, national defence and security cooperation.

Annually, the two sides maintain high-ranking meetings reviewing their activities in all fields of cooperation as well as signing cooperation agreements for the next year.

In terms of economic and trade ties, two-way trade has seen a constant rise over the recent time. The export-import turnover between the two localities reached nearly 10 million USD in 2011, a five time increase against that in 2005.

Thanh Hoa province’s enterprises have invested 13.5 million USD in 42 projects in Houaphanh, representing 70 percent of total Vietnamese investment in the Lao locality.

Over the last five years, Thanh Hoa province has provided 31 billion VND to help Houaphanh build schools and infrastructure works.

The two localities have also promoted many meaningful activities in culture and social affairs.-VNA