Vientiane (VNA) – Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh had a bilateral meeting with his Lao counterpart Khemmany Pholsena in Vientiane on August 3 on the sidelines of the ongoing 48th ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Meeting and related meetings.

The two ministers expressed pleasure at the growing trade ties between the two countries over the recent years, with an average rise of 25.8 percent per annum in the 2010-2014 period.

Last year, two-way trade saw new progress with the conclusion of negotiations and signing of a bilateral trade agreement and the Vietnam-Laos Border Trade Agreement.

However, the ministers also pointed out that bilateral trade has seen a downturn recently, reaching 1.12 trillion USD in 2015, a drop of 12.6 percent compared to 1.25 trillion USD in 2014.

In the first half of this year, two-way trade was only 433.3 million USD, a decrease of 34.7 percent over the same period last year.

They attributed the situation to a lack of diversity in trading goods, together with poor border trade infrastructure, especially market and technology systems, as well as weak engagement of businesses of both sides in each other’s distribution networks.

The two ministers also agreed on a number of measures to boost bilateral trade, including close coordination in building a project to develop the Vietnam-Laos trade ties in the next ten years, and the popularisation of important trade deals between the two countries.

Earlier the same day, Minister Tran Tuan Anh also held a bilateral meeting with Brunei’s second Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Lim Jock Seng, during which they sought ways to foster bilateral trade ties.-VNA