PM Nguyễn Xuân Phúc chairs the meeting. — VNA/VNS Photo
HÀ NỘI — Trade co-operation was the highlight of Việt Nam-Laos relations in the first ten months of the year, with revenue reaching US$940 million.
The figure was unveiled at a meeting of permanent cabinet members in Hà Nội on Saturday under the chair of Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc.
Two-way trade is projected to hit $1.1-1.2 billion in 2019, up 12.6 per cent year-on-year, surpassing the targets of $1 billion and 10 per cent respectively set by the Government.
Việt Nam has become the third biggest investor in Laos with 413 projects valued at $4.22 billion, with joint ventures involving Viettel, the Vietnam Rubber Group, Mường Thanh Hotel, Crown Plaza, LaoViet Bank and the Xekaman 1 Hydropower Plant.
Việt Nam has committed to providing VNĐ3.25 trillion ($139.8 million) in non-refundable aid for Laos from 2016-20, including VNĐ707 billion in the 2019 fiscal year, up 18.4 per cent against the previous year, aiming to help the neighbouring country implement infrastructure projects in transport, energy, personnel training and social welfare.
In early 2019, Việt Nam provided 300 tonnes of seeds for Laos to support locals hit by natural disasters.
Over 1,000 scholarships have been granted to Lao students, and Việt Nam has also dispatched teachers to Laos and financed Vietnamese language teaching courses in the country.
This year, five Vietnamese-funded projects have been completed in Laos and two others have been launched.
At the meeting, cabinet members also pointed out slow capital disbursement of these projects, along with bottlenecks in procedures.
The PM and cabinet members called for efforts to remove these difficulties to speed up the implementation of the work and prepare for the meeting of the Việt Nam-Laos Inter-Governmental Committee slated for January 2020.
Ethnic work boosted
The same day, a Việt Nam – Lao conference was held in the central province of Nghệ An to seeks ways to continue nurturing the bilateral relations and friendship and to share experiences in the ethnic work between the two countries.
With the participation of more than 300 delegates from Việt Nam – Laos bordering provinces, the event is a chance for them to analyse deeply and comprehensively the issues on the role of the political systems and ethnic minority communities along the border line in nurturing the tradition of the great relations between the two neighbouring countries.
Speaking at the function, Politburo member and Permanent Deputy Prime Minister Trương Hòa Bình stressed that the conference is another chance for the two countries to further strengthen the ties between them as well as the closeness between the ethnic groups living along the sides of the Trường Sơn mountain range.
For his part, Politburo member and President of the Central Committee of the Lao Front for National Construction Saysomphone Phomvihane held that the traditional and long-lasting solidarity and friendship between the two countries have become an exemplary and rare model in the international relations in the current context of the changing world.
Presentations at the conference touched upon the poverty easing and sustainable development in mountainous and ethnic minority areas, lessons on preservation and bringing into full play traditional cultural values of the ethnic minority communities along the Việt Nam – Laos border line, and experiences in the building of the unity among those communities in the context of international integration.
Earlier, the Lao delegation offered incense at the Việt Nam – Laos international cemetery in Nghệ An Province for over 11,000 Vietnamese voluntary soldiers and military experts who laid down their lives in Laos. — VNS