An overview of the 40th meeting of the Vietnam-Laos Inter-Governmental Committee in Vientiane on February 5 (Photo: VNA)

Vientiane (VNA) – Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and his Lao counterpart Thongloun Sisoulith co-chaired the 40th meeting of the Vietnam-Laos Inter-Governmental Committee in Vientiane, Laos, on February 5.

The Lao PM congratulated Vietnam on its socio-economic achievements in 2017, and showed his deep gratitude to the Party, State, Government and people of Vietnam for supporting Laos’s revolution.

He highlighted the significance of the committee’s 40th meeting, especially after Vietnam and Laos completed the Laos-Vietnam, Vietnam-Laos Solidarity and Friendship Year 2017 as well as activities marking the 55th anniversary of their diplomatic ties and 40 years of the bilateral Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation.

He showed his belief that following the meeting the partnership between the two countries will be deepened and the traditional friendship, special solidarity and comprehensive cooperation between the two countries will be brought to a new height.

PM Phuc expressed his delight at major attainments of Laos in the past year, saying that he believes the Party, State, Government and people of Laos will continue successfully implement the resolution of the 10th Congress of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party and the country’s socio-economic plan in the 2016-2020 period.

He underlined that the ties between Vietnam and Laos are special and need to be unceasingly reinforced and developed, affirming that Vietnam always attaches special importance to boosting the partnership with Laos during the national construction, and will exert every efforts to enhance the ties in all fields.

In 2017, the two countries realized bilateral agreements efficiently, the leaders noted, adding that affiliation in politics, external relations, defence, security, economy, culture, society, and people-to-people exchange was also expanded. Currently, Vietnam is hosting over 14,000 Lao students.

Meanwhile, the mechanisms in coordinating and strengthening cooperation between the two sides showed effectiveness. Vietnamese enterprises have registered to invest in 411 projects worth about 3.7 billion USD in Laos, 43 percent of which, or 1.6 billion USD, have been disbursed.

In 2017, two-way trade hit over 935 million USD, a rise of nearly 13.6 percent over 2016, surpassing the yearly target.

In 2018, the two sides will focus on implementing the joint statement and agreements reached by senior leaders, as well as deals between ministries, sectors and localities, including those reached during this meeting.

They will double efforts to achieve a 10 percent growth in two-way trade, while expanding collaboration in human resources training, investing in transport infrastructure projects to connect the two countries, and coordinating in managing the sustainable use of water and natural resources.

They will also support and cooperate with each other at regional and international organisations and forums.

This is the second time the Vietnamese and Lao PMs have co-chaired a meeting of the bilateral Inter-Governmental Committee, showing the determination of leaders of both countries in effectively implementing cooperation agreements in 2018.   

After the meeting, the two PMs witnessed the signing of 12 cooperation documents of ministries, departments and localities in the fields of economics, trade, investment, education-training and energy.

The documents include a deal on Vietnam-Laos cooperation plan in 2018 and the minutes of the 40th meeting of the Vietnam-Laos Intergovernmental Committee.

The Vietnamese and Lao governments inked an agreement on investment cooperation to develop Vung Ang port. 

Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade and Laos’s Ministry of Energy and Mines inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on collaboration in energy and mining, while Vietnam’s Ministry of Education and Training and Laos’s Ministry of Education and Sports signed a bilateral cooperation plan in 2018.

An agreement implementing the mineral survey and geological mapping project in Borikhamxay-Xaysomboun region was signed between Vietnam’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and Laos’s Ministry of Energy and Mines.

The Vietnamese northern province of Hoa Binh and the Lao eastern province of Houaphanh reached an agreement on the construction of a high school in Huameuang district, Houaphanh province.

The Military Zone 4 High Command of Vietnam People’s Army inked an agreement carrying out projects in Laos’s Xaysomboun province.

Other documents include a MoU on the trade of electricity from the thermal power plant in Bualapha district, Khammouane province, between Laos’s Lanxang power development and real estate company and the Electricity of Vietnam (EVN); and another on the purchase of electricity from some hydropower projects of Laos’s Phongsapthavy Group between EVN and Phongsapthavy road-irrigation construction company.

The EVN along with the Lao power company, Hanoi-Vientiane infrastructure and power development joint venture company, and Phongsapthavy group signed a MoU on studying the development of a 500kV super-cable line connecting electricity from Laos to Vietnam.

The PetroVietnam Power Corporation and the Lao PT company sealed a cooperation framework agreement on hydropower development in Luang Prabang, whilst Laos’s Chaleun Sekong company and Vietnam’s Song Da 5 company secured a cooperation agreement on investment in hydropower projects.

After the signing ceremony, the Vietnamese and Lao government leaders chaired a joint press conference informing the outcomes of the 40th meeting of the Vietnam-Laos Intergovernmental Committee and attended a ceremony to honour units and individuals for active contributions to Vietnam-Laos and Laos-Vietnam Year of Friendship and Solidarity in 2017.-VNA