50 years of Vietnam-Laos economic and trade cooperation

50 NĂM QUAN HỆ HỢP TÁC KINH TẾ, THƯƠNG MẠI VIỆT-LÀO

dịch từ báo Thế giới (2016)

The interconnectedness between the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and Lao People’s Democratic Republic is manifested in the time-honored, specially united, faithful and pure relationship between the two parties, governments, national assemblies and people. Since the establishment of the diplomatic ties 50 years ago, the relations between the two countries have been consolidated in depth and width / in a constant/uninterrupted, wide and comprehensive manner. One of the important driving forces/ factors for bilateral relations is the successful cooperation in economy and trade.

Two-way trade exchange

The P.D.R of Laos, which shares a 2000 km – long border line with Vietnam, is rich in natural resources regarding agriculture, foresting, hydroelectricity and minerals; its main exports are minerals and timber. In recent years, Laos economy has made much progress/ make a headway/ an achievement/ has dynamically developed. The economic-social goals set out in the recent national Congresses of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party have been realized and the 5-year plan have been carried out/ implemented effectively. The GDP growth in 2009 and 2010 reached 7.56% and 9.44% respectively. In 2011, in spite of severe damages in agriculture due to floods, its GDP growth was 7.8%, the highest figure in the region. Laos is making the best use of opportunities, making great steps forwards, laying foundation for the fast-growing period stage. Up to now/ By now, Laos has established trade ties with 60 countries, signed Trade Agreements with 19 countries and enjoyed the GPS (General Scheme o f Preferences) from 39 countries.

Under the leadership of the leaders from both sides/ with the guidance of leaders from both sides, Vietnam-Laos relationship has developed in all fields. One notable/ striking / remarkable aspect is the trade exchange. Two-way trade between the two countries has continuingly increased/ risen every year, by about 30-40% on average, from 45 million USD a year in the early 1990s to 490 million USD a year in the early 2000s. The two countries are working towards 2 billion USD trade by 2015.

In 2011, the two-way trade between the two countries reached 734 million USD, an increase of 50% in comparison with the same period in 2010 in which export from Vietnam to Lao increased by 38% to 274 million USD. Import from Lao increased by 58% to 460 million USD compared with the same period in 2010. The largest item/ product in Vietnam’s export to Lao is re-exported fuel (about 24%), followed by iron, steel, transport vehicles, textiles, coal, machinery and equipments, wires and cables.

Vietnam mainly imports wood products/ timber and base metals from Laos. Import in 2011 increased dramatically by 93% compared to the same period in 2010, accounting for 68% of import value/ turnover from Laos.

In order to create favorable conditions for the two countries’ enterprises to exchange views and find trading partners, Vietnam-Laos Foreign Ministries have jointly held Vietnamese fairs in Laos annually, and at the same time carried out the exchanges of trade activities between enterprises from two countries. For years the organizing of Vietnam-Lao Trade fairs has become a brand for the connections between the two countries, where the enterprises can find various business opportunities. In addition, a number of trade promotion events/ activities have been organized, such as border trade fair between provinces in triangle development area; the Laos’s Southern Provinces Fair, the Trade exchanges between the businesses from the two countries in Central and Northern Laos.

The two countries’ Ministry of Foreign Trade have exchanged views and agreed to give/ offer preferential treatment to products from each other. Accordingly/ in accordance to which, the two sides have agreed to give 0% – 5% preferential tariff to most of the products originating from each other. In addition, a number of projects designed to promote/ widen/ broaden border trade have been strongly promoted such as the project on developing Viet-Lao border market network to 2020, the project on upgrading the border market of Din Dam in Din Dam hamlet, the development plan for Lao Bao, Tay Trang, Boy.. border economic zone.

Further promoting investment cooperation

Laos is rich in various natural resources with ¾ of its area covered by forest, with various kinds of valuable timber, minerals, which draws/ attracts much attention from foreign investors, including those from Vietnam.

According to the statistics on foreign investment in Laos from the Laos Ministry of Plan and Investment, by the end of the fiscal year 2010-2011, Vietnam has ranked second with 424 projects of the total value of 3.34 billion USD with focus on 4 main areas: hydroelectric power plant construction, mineral exploitation, agricultural-silvicultural development and service developments.

In addition, Vietnam’s investment in Lao goes to other projects aimed at developing socio-economic infrastructures, such as the project on building high roads, which has contributed to increasing Viet-Lao trade. Besides, investment promotion receives much invest from the two governments, which is indicated in the cooperation to hold with large attendance from / of various enterprises.

Apart from the strengths/ advantages in agriculture, minerals, wood processing…, Laos has several untapped areas that greatly need investment such as hotel building, shopping centers, historical and eco-tourism destinations. The Laos government has affirmed that it will adjust policy, create most favorable conditions for the foreign business, especially those from Vietnam to invest in Laos.

With the political and economic foundation that has been developed by the two parties, countries and people over the past 50 years, and with the great efforts of the businesses from both sides, it is certain that we shall record greater achievement, thus contribute more actively to the national development in the two countries and preserve/ maintain and further develop the existing special relation between two nations.

 

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