Visitors are looking at Lao products on display at the ongoing Laos Goods Week in Ho Chi Minh City. (Photo: phunuvietnam.vn)

HCM City (VNA)
– A workshop was held in Ho Chi Minh City on January 26 to seek ways to enhance trade between the city and Laos, and to connect businesses from the two sides.

The event took place thanks to the coordination between the Consulate General of Laos in HCM City and the local Investment and Trade Promotion Centre (ITPC).

Addressing the workshop, Lao Vice Consul Vanxay Keovilay said Lao enterprises see HCM City and Vietnam at large as potential markets as Laos has an advantage in supplying traditionally farmed products with no use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides and handicrafts made from natural materials. Vietnamese consumers are very fond of organic agricultural products and handicrafts which is a good sign for Lao exporters, he noted.

As the two countries’ import and export goods are complementary with no direct competition with each other, they will well satisfy the consumers’ demand and aid production of both sides, said ITPC Director Pham Thiet Hoa.

However, the Vietnam-Laos trade exchanges, particularly border trade, have remained below expectations with limited support services for imports and exports and poor transport links between the two countries, he added.

Last year, two-way trade between HCM City and Laos was worth over 8 million USD. The city’s exports to Laos attributed 7.9 million USD to the amount.

Hoa advised the Lao side to develop standards for food products exported to Vietnam in terms of food hygiene and safety and country of origin that will help speed up the customs clearance.

The city’s retailers also suggested Lao businesses organize more trade promotion events and increase capacity to ensure stable supply of products so the two sides will be able to maintain long-term partnership.

Vietnam and Laos are looking to bring their bilateral trade up to 5 billion USD by 2020.-VNA