The Vietnam-Laos Inter-governmental Committee for Economic, Cultural, Educational, Scientific and Technological Cooperation convened its 36 th session in Laos’ capital city, Vientiane, on December 17.

Last year, the two sides well deployed joint statements and high-level agreements, conducted exchanges of high-ranking delegations, and effectively coordinated with each other in organising a theoretical seminar between the two Parties, as well as at regional and international forums.

They also maintained close ties in enhancing national defence and security, and ensuring political and social stability, national territorial integrity and each country’s development policies.

The two countries have always given priority to human resources development. Last year, the Vietnamese Government granted 825 scholarships to Lao officials and students. In response, the Lao Government presented 48 scholarships to Vietnamese officials and students.

So far this year, the Lao side has granted investment licences to 12 projects worth 138 million USD of Vietnamese businesses, raising Vietnam’s leading invested projects in the country to 412 worth over 5 billion USD.

By October 2013, two-way trade between Vietnam and Laos reached 817 million USD.

Positive results have been seen in cooperation in transport, science and technology, information, culture, tourism and sports, significantly contributing to consolidating and enhancing the traditional friendship and special solidarity between the two countries.

At the session, the two sides agreed to continue deploying their joint cooperative strategy during the 2011-2020 period and the 2011-2015 cooperative agreement.

Priority will be given to the implementation of joint statements and agreements reached by the two nations’ high-ranking Party and State leaders and the exchange of delegations at all levels.

They also consented to closely partner with each other in the effective and sustainable management and use of water resources in the Mekong River, at regional and international forums, and in building a common border.

On the plane of economics, the two sides agreed to continue implementing the 2008-2015 trade project, striving to expand bilateral trade by 20 percent in 2014.

At the end of the session, the two sides signed an agreement on economic, cultural, educational, scientific and technological cooperation in 2014 and other important documents.-VNA