Trade between Laos and Vietnam is expected to grow this year even as the two countries continue to battle the Covid-19 pandemic, inflation, and the spiralling price of fuel.
The two governments have set a target to increase the value of year-on-year two-way trade by 10-15 per cent this year after the value of trade reached $1.34 billion in 2021, an increase of 30.2 per cent on the previous year.
The value of exports between Laos and Vietnam in January and February this year rose to $195 million, while the import value was estimated at $60 million, according to the Lao Ministry of Industry and Commerce.
Vietnam is a major foreign investor and a key trading partner of Laos after China and Thailand.
Prime Minister Phankham Viphavanh visited Vietnam in January, when the two governments agreed to expand cooperation in trading, investment, education, communications and transport, as well as in hydropower development, electricity transmission, and the purchase of energy.
The two sides also agreed to jointly celebrate the 60th anniversary of their diplomatic ties and the 45th year since the signing of the Vietnam-Laos Treaty of Amity and Cooperation, with events planned to mark these important anniversaries this year.
After the Inter-governmental Committee meeting, the two prime ministers chaired a meeting of their business sectors, aiming to spur investment cooperation between business leaders in both countries.
This will create conditions conducive to success for while also addressing challenges for Vietnamese companies investing in Laos and Lao entrepreneurs with business interests in Vietnam.
As of 2020, Vietnamese businesses had invested in more than 400 projects in Laos worth over $4 billion, with most being in agriculture, electricity and mining. Vietnam is the third largest investor in Laos after China and Thailand.
Laos and Vietnam have signed a raft of cooperation agreements, intending to deepen relations and special solidarity between the two countries.
Vietnam last month agreed to continue to assist the investment sector in Laos, especially through technical training for planning and investment officials.
This cooperation promotes investment by businesses in each country, as well as encouraging enterprises that have entered into agreements to fulfil set plans and resolve outstanding issues concerning investment projects that have been approved.
Vietnam will also continue to be a bridge for mobilisation and information sharing, with a view to attracting more Vietnamese companies to invest in Laos.
VIENTIANE TIMES/ASIA NEWS NETWORK