|Lao people access the internet through 3G services provided by Unitel - a joint venture between Lao Asia Telecom and Vietnamese Viettel Group. — VNA/VNS Photo Hoang Chuong
HA NOI (VNS) — Viet Nam and Laos should achieve breakthroughs in policies to improve the efficiency of bilateral trade and investment relations.
Tran Bac Ha, chairman of the Association of Vietnamese Investors in Laos (AVIL) and concurrent chairman of the Bank for Investment and Development of Viet Nam (BIDV), made this statement at a seminar held in Binh Dinh Province recently on economic co-operation between the south central and central highlands provinces of Viet Nam and the central and southern provinces of Laos, according to Dau tu (Vietnam Investment Review) newspaper.
Ha said Laos has so far granted investment licenses to 413 Vietnamese projects worth US$5 billion, including 90 per cent of projects in the central and southern Laotian provinces. This has made Viet Nam the second largest investor in Laos after China.
Vietnamese investors have disbursed $1.5 billion of total investment capital to projects in Laos, he added.
He noted that bilateral trade value between Viet Nam and Laos in the first nine months of 2014 reached $995 million, and the total bilateral trade value was expected to reach $1.4 billion for the entire year.
The association expects total registered investment capital of Viet Nam in Laos to reach $5.8 billion next year and total trade value between the two countries to reach $2 billion in 2015, according to the Thoi bao Kinh te Viet Nam (Vietnam Economic Times) newspaper.
To achieve these targets, "the governments of Viet Nam and Laos should team up with the government of Cambodia to build special economic co-operation among the three countries by 2020 and until 2030, developing further comprehensive economic co-operation in the Indochina region," Dau tu quoted Ha as saying.
"The two countries should sign the bilateral trade agreement of Viet Nam and Laos this year to create favourable conditions for promoting goods circulation and increasing total trade value between the two countries," he added.
The association also suggested that Laos increase the percentage of foreign workers in Laos above the 10 per cent limit set for each project because the skills of Lao workers have yet to satisfy demand, Ha explained.
He suggested that the governments of the two countries unify procedures in granting licences, statistics and management of Viet Nam's projects in Laos and simplify customs procedures.
The two countries should also promote investment to build infrastructure for trade activities via border gates such as transit warehouses, Ha said.
Nguyen Chi Dung, deputy minister of planning and investment, agreed with Ha about difficulties resulting from policies that Vietnamese investors have faced.
Dung said the two countries should sign the bilateral trade agreement as soon as possible to solve difficulties in hiring workers, granting investment licences and implementing customs procedures.
The two countries should also have specific co-operation programmes to take full advantage of cordial relations between the two countries, he added.
Dung also suggested that the Lao government offer incentives to attract Vietnamese investment in difficult regions and in large-scale projects.
Ha said the governments of the two countries need to review Vietnamese-invested projects in Laos to provide needed support and help solve the difficulties of these projects.
He suggested that the enterprises of the two countries implement projects along their borders, For projects that were implemented too slowly, Laos should revoke the investment licenses and choose other eligible Vietnamese or Lao enterprises to develop those projects, Ha added. — VNS