A​n overview of the conference (Source: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – The trade treaty signed between Vietnam and Laos in March 2015 and the border trade agreement inked in June 2015 offer special tariff preferences for the two nations’ businesses, heard a conference in Hanoi on August 5.

The special tariff preferences under these trade pacts are not applied to any other countries, deputy head of the Asia-Pacific Market Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade Le An Hai said, adding that numerous goods made in Vietnam and Laos will be subject to zero percent or a 50 percent tax reduction.

The Vietnam-Laos bilateral trade deal in March 2015 replaced the old one in 1998, he noted.

The establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community at the end of 2015 will provides both opportunities and challenges for businesses, he said, adding that bilateral trade activities will be boosted if business players take advantage of the aforesaid agreements.

The two trade deals have paved the way for new commodities to enter their respective markets, he said.

Lao Ambassador to Vietnam Thongsavanh Phomvihane said the Vietnamese and Lao Ministries of Industry and Trade are willing to help businesses promote trade and investment.

The bilateral border trade agreement, in particular, will make it easier for cross-border goods exchanges, he added.

Two-way trade recorded a constant increase between 2010-2014 with an annual growth of 25.8 percent.

However, in recent times, two-way trade has been on the downward trend, which only reached 1.12 billion USD in 2015, down 12.6 percent against 2014. In the first six months of 2016, bilateral trade topped 433.3 million USD, a year-on-year decline of 34.7 percent.

Participants proposed several measures to boost two-way trade, including building a joint trade development project for the next 10 years.-VNA