Vietnam, Laos seek to spur border trade development

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VOV.VN - Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Hong Dien and his Lao counterpart Khampheng Xaysompheng co-chaired the 12th Vietnam-Laos border trade development co-operation conference on April 11 in Vientiane.

Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Hong Dien and his Lao counterpart Khampheng Xaysompheng co-chair the 12th Vietnam-Laos border trade development co-operation conference (Photo:VNA)
Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Hong Dien and his Lao counterpart Khampheng Xaysompheng co-chair the 12th Vietnam-Laos border trade development co-operation conference (Photo:VNA)
 

In his speech at the conference, Minister Dien highlighted fresh developments in trade relations in general, specifically focusing on border trade between the two countries. Indeed, this has seen positive growth in import and export turnover, despite facing great difficulties and challenges caused by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last year's two-way trade turnover reached US$1.37 billion, an increase of 33.3% on-year, a figure far exceeding the target of 10% set by senior leaders from the two countries for their industry and trade sector.

Of the total, Vietnamese import turnover from Laos hit approximately US$780 million, a rise of 70% compared to 2020. This marked an extremely impressive growth in bilateral trade, as well as in trade turnover growth between the nation and many other regional countries.

However, according to Minister Dien, trade growth between both sides remains far below its full potential and has plenty of room for stronger development.

This conference can be viewed as an important step serving to unlock the potential and reach the two countries' set trade growth target of 10% to 15% per year.

This can be achieved by ensuring sustainable trade development, effectively exploiting the potential and advantages of each side, boosting hunger eradication, poverty alleviation, and improving people's living standards towards building a border of peace and friendship. This can therefore serve as a greater contribution to socio-economic development of both Laos and Vietnam, the Minister went on to say.

During the conference, the two sides jointly assessed the achievements and the shortcomings in areas such as the implementation of the Vietnam-Laos border trade agreement, trade and investment promotion, and border gate management. This is along with other activities such as anti-smuggling and trade fraud, and infrastructure development in border gate areas.

Participants used the platform to frankly point out the various weaknesses, limitations and reasons why joint trade has not developed in line with its potential, including ineffective investment in production, processing, infrastructure, traffic, and logistics in border gate areas.

Infrastructure development, especially in the construction of roads connecting to the border gate in some areas, remains slow and inconsistent with each other. As such it has failed to meet the potential and needs of trade exchange activities and circulation of goods in border areas, they analyzed.

The conference set out a total of seven orientations for co-operation in border trade development between the two countries moving forward, with a major focus on reviewing, researching, and proposing preferential mechanisms and policies. These plans aim to attract investment capital in infrastructure development in border-gate economic zones, and in production, processing, and trade activities in border areas.

The Governments of Vietnam and Laos will strive to speed up negotiations to sign a Memorandum of Understanding on the development and connectivity of border trade infrastructure.

They therefore consented to study, amend, and supplement signed documents such as the Vietnam-Laos Bilateral Trade Agreement and the 2007 Hanoi Agreement as a means of making them suitable to the actual situation in the time to come.

Moreover, a strategy is being put together as part of efforts to solve difficulties and obstacles in the process of implementing the Vietnam - Laos Border Trade Agreement.

Both sides agreed to facilitate the circulation and consumption of goods in each other's markets, especially agricultural products, whilst continuing to boost co-ordination in preventing and combating smuggling, trade fraud, and illegal cross-border transportation of goods. This move is being done in a bid create a healthy environment for border trade development moving forward.

At the end of the conference, Minister Dien and his Lao counterpart Khampheng Xaysompheng signed a Memorandum of Understanding on border trade development co-operation between the two countries, a move which will serve as a basis for both sides to perform their tasks in the near future.

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