VIENTIANE — Viet Nam and Laos will focus on trade and economic co-operation to reach the target of US$1 billion in trade turnover this year and double it by 2015.
Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc made the statement yesterday in Vientiane while meeting with Lao Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong, noting that trade turnover between the two countries had increased rapidly in the recent past, as evidenced by $636 million in the first 11 months of 2011 – a 48 per cent increase over the same period in 2010.
The Deputy PM added that bilateral ties between the two countries in 2011 had deepened into more effective and practical sectors. New models in trade and investment had been used with the active operation of many large-scale and prestigious Vietnamese enterprises in Laos.
"So far, Vietnamese enterprises have invested more than $3.5 billion, ranking second among 52 countries and territories investing in Laos," he said.
Co-operation in education and human resources training as well as in infrastructure construction had also made progress, he added.
"Many cities and provinces in Viet Nam do not share borders with Laos, such as Quang Ninh, Vinh Phuc, HCM City and Ha Noi, but still pay a lot of attention to localities in Laos and offer them support," Phuc said.
In response, the Lao Prime Minister said that his government always supported and created the most favourable conditions for Vietnamese enterprises to invest and operate in Laos to contribute to the country's social and economic development as well as ensure social welfare for the people of Laos.
He asked the Vietnamese side to organise trade promotion conferences and meetings among Government officials and enterprises to review the development and find in-time solutions as problems arise in business.
On Saturday, co-chairs Phuc and his Lao counterpart Somsavath Lengsavad ended the 34th session of the Viet Nam-Laos Intergovernmental Committee on socio-economic, scientific and technological co-operation in Vientiane.
During the five-day session, the two sides reviewed implementation of agreements on socio-economic, scientific and technological co-operation signed in 2011.
In 2011, Viet Nam and Laos boosted co-operation in education and training, co-ordinated closely at multilateral forums and reached high consensus on international and regional issues. Both countries collaborated in implementing Vietnamese-funded projects in Laos.
The two countries' ministries, branches and localities also increased the exchange of experiences in culture, sports, museums and other fields.
Both sides agreed to effectively implement the statements and agreements they had signed and do their part to host the Year of Viet Nam-Laos Friendship and Solidarity in 2012.
They were unanimous in popularising the project on the history of Viet Nam-Laos special ties, increasing the exchange of information and jointly implementing commitments in co-operation programmes within the multilateral co-operation framework, including ASEAN, the Greater Mekong Sub-Region (GMS) and the East West Economic Corridor (EWEC).
The two sides also agreed to sign a new investment protection and encouragement agreement this year to replace the one issued in 1996.
They decided to focus on implementing their trade development scheme for the 2008-2015 period, complete construction of the Viet Nam-Laos border trade development master plan and co-ordinate with Cambodia to sign the tripartite road transport agreement in the near future.
Later the same day, Deputy PM Phuc and his Lao counterpart Somsavath Lengsavad signed the minutes of the session and a co-operation agreement for 2012. — VNS