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Jan 11, 2022 / 15:23

Vietnamese investors assigned to help improve livelihoods in Laos

Over the past five years, Vietnamese investors have contributed more than US$1 billion to Lao state coffer and approximately $80 million to social welfare programs.

Vietnamese businesses investing in Laos are tasked with political missions of helping improve livelihood in this country and strengthen bilateral relations, Vietnam’s Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh reiterated the message when he and his Lao counterpart chaired the business forum in Hanoi on January 10 during the visit paid by Laotian PM Phankham Viphavanh.

Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and Lao counterpart  PM Phankham Viphavanh in Hanoi on Jan 10. Photos: VGP

The missions, which have been mandated before, would be strongly promoted in the future to make Vietnam the second or largest investor in Laos as the Lao PM expected.

Making a speech at the meeting attended by 14 ministers of both countries and 37 Vietnamese corporations, Chinh said ưhen investing in Laos, in addition to the economic mission, there is also a political mission to show gratitude and responsibility to the merits made by previous generations for the independence and sovereignty of each country; for the cause of developing an independent and self-reliant economy of each country; for the prosperity and happiness of the two peoples.

The PM suggested that Vietnamese companies investing in Laos should focus on technology, supporting Lao partners for sustainable development, upholding corporate social responsibility, creating jobs, and protecting the environment.

“I hope that Vietnamese businesses investing in Laos would become typical examples in all aspects in our neighboring country,” he said.

PM Chinh asked Vietnamese agencies to speed up transport projects connecting the two countries and those connecting the East-West Corridor and to ASEAN member states, and Greater Mekong Subregion. Among those, special care is required for the Hanoi-Vientiane Expressway and the Vientiane-Vung Ang Railway projects.

On granting Laos facilities at Vung Ang Port, Chinh gave a deadline for domestic authorities in helping Laos have access to the sea by the end of 2022.

The sea trade route is significant for Laos to transform the land-locked country into a maritime one and boost connectivity within the region and beyond.

Vung Ang Port, which facilitates cargo transportation from Vietnam to Laos, Thailand’s northeast, and Vietnam’s central region, is a deep-water port with an average depth of between 10-15 meters and capable to accommodate 50,000-dwt class vessels.

Currently, Vietnam is running 209 projects with an investment of US$5.2 billion in Laos, ranking 3rd (behind China and Thailand) among investors in the “Land of a Million Elephants”. In 2021, the investment value rose 33% to $118 million.

According to the Vietnamese Minister of Planning and Investment, Nguyen Chi Dung, Laos always ranks 1st among 78 countries and territories that Vietnam is investing in. The Vietnamese investment is channeled to finance and banking, electricity, telecommunications, agro-forestry, and mining.

Projects run by Vietnamese investors have contributed more than $1 billion to Lao state coffer and $80 million to social welfare in the recipient country over the past five years. In addition, they have created dozens of thousands of jobs.

Chairman of Military-run Viettel Group Tao Duc Thang shared a plan to make Unitel (Viettel in Laos) a symbol of bilateral relations. Viettel expects to participate in digital transformation projects and provide hi-tech products in Laos at competitive prices.

Meanwhile, Huong Tran Kieu Dung, Deputy Chairwoman of FLC Group, paid special attention to the railway project connecting Cha Lo Border Gate in Vietnam’s Quang Binh Province and Thakhek in Lao Khammouane Province with transit to Vung Ang, Ha Tinh Province, and high-end tourism facilities in Laos.

 The 44th Meeting of the Vietnam-Laos Inter-government Committee was held in Hanoi on Jan 10. 

During Phankham Viphavanh’s three-day visit to Hanoi, the two PMs attended the 44th Meeting of the Vietnam-Laos Inter-government Committee, which aimed to promote multisectoral cooperation.

In 2021, the two sides inked 25 important agreements during the high-ranking visits.

In terms of trade, the turnover rose 30.3% to $1.3 billion in 2021. Typically, the Vietnam-Laos Bilateral Trade Agreement that was expired in October 2020 has been extended for another three years.

Regarding electricity, the two countries signed 20 power purchase agreements (PPA) with investors in Laos.