Vietnam and Laos have agreed to foster economic cooperation, with a focus on growing two-way trade by at least 10% this year from current US$1 billion.
Vietnamese PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Laotian counterpart Thongloun Sisoulith. Photo: Chinhphu
The goal has been set at the 41st joint-governmental meeting in Hanoi on January 6, chaired by Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and his Laotian counterpart Thongloun Sisoulith.
In 2018, bilateral trade rose 14% on-year.
Trade cooperation is a component of the multifaceted relations between the two neighboring countries with an average rise of more than 10% annually, notably 26.1% in 2013 and 17.9% in 2014.
Vietnam’s main staples sold to Laos are steel, petroleum, transport vehicles and spare parts, plastics, cement and clinker, while Laotian export items to Vietnam include fertilizer, woodwork, iron and minerals.
In terms investment, Vietnamese investors have committed to pour as much as US$4.1 billion into more than 400 projects in Laos, mainly in energy, mine extraction, infrastructure, agriculture and forestry, telecommunications, and banking.
Laos is the top destination of Vietnam’s outbound investment and it contributes a large part to the neighboring country’s socio-economic development as the top leaders stated at the meeting.
Vietnamese PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc with Laotian students. Photo: VNS
Education cooperation emphasized
Among the issues discussed at the meeting, education has been put one of the pillars of the cooperation. Over the past years, the Vietnamese government has been funding dozens of educational projects in Laos and offering thousands of scholarships to Laotian students to study in Vietnam.
Currently, the number of Laotian students in Vietnam reaches more than 14,200.
At the meeting, the two sides inked six agreements, focusing on (i) cooperating between the two governments in 2019, (ii) funding 300 tons of unhusked rice to Laos, (iii) cooperating in education, (iv) handing over radio and television station in Laos’ Savanakhet province, (v) handing over Vietnamese faculty at Laotian Suphanouvong and Champasak universities, and a dormitory at Laotian National University and Vietnam – Laos Friendship High School.
Vietnamese PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc said he would require ministers and localities’ leaders to implement the newly-signed agreements for further economic ties ahead.