Remarkable progress in Vietnam-Laos investment co-operation

Tuesday, 2016-11-22 17:45:10
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At the Vietnam-Lao Trade Fair
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NDO—Thanks to the two countries’ time-honoured friendship and special solidarity, the comprehensive co-operation between Vietnam and Laos has seen remarkable progress in recent years, especially in economics, trade and investment. The Lao Government has recently affirmed it would devise more effective measures to facilitate Vietnamese investment in Laos, which is currently the country’s third-largest source of foreign investment.

Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith vowed that the Lao Government will create the most favourable conditions possible for Vietnamese investors during his first-ever dialogue with the Vietnamese business community in Laos. The talks provided a venue for Vietnamese investors to talk directly with the Lao Government about difficulties and obstacles they face when doing business in Laos.

Thanks to the due attention of the two Parties and Governments, as well as the close co-ordination between and efforts of ministries, local governments and the business communities of the two countries, the trade relations between Vietnam and Laos have seen remarkable progress, with an annual growth rate of 20% over the last five years.

Currently, Vietnam is the third-largest foreign investor in Laos. Vietnamese investment in Laos has continuously increased in the 2011-2015 period in terms of both the number of projects and the value of capital. As of the end of September 2016, Vietnam has 266 licensed projects in Laos with a total registered capital of US$5.1 billion, up 1.3 times and 1.26 times respectively from the figures for 2011.

There are Vietnamese-funded projects in sixteen of Laos’s eighteen provinces and municipalities, many of which have contributed significantly to local socioeconomic development. The projects pay US$240-260 million to Laos’ State budget each year and have created jobs for 35,000 workers. These figures are expected to increase to US$350-400 million and 45,000 workers, respectively, in 2017 and to continue to rise in the future.

PM Thongloun emphasised that his presence, along with more than half of Laos’s Cabinet, at the meeting showed the importance they attach to the Vietnamese investors and their desire to find out about problems hindering Vietnamese firms’ operations so as to find timely solutions. The PM also asked the Vietnamese investors to cooperate with Laos in improving its working mechanisms and management capacity.

The signing of an agreement on border trade between Vietnam and Laos in June, 2016 also added an important legal tool to help the bilateral trade increase in the near future. The establishment of the ASEAN Community by the end of 2015 together with the development of transport corridors in the Mekong Sub-Region and regional economic links will also open up new space for development for businesses and investors from the two countries. The two sides have pledged to continue co-operation to further promote socioeconomic development, regional integration and sustainable development in each country.