Vietnam and Laos sign new trade pact

Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Hong Dien and Lao Minister of Industry and Commerce Malaithong Kommasith signed a new Vietnam-Laos trade agreement on April 8. — VNA/VNS

HANOI: Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Hong Dien and Lao Minister of Industry and Commerce Malaithong Kommasith signed a new Vietnam-Laos trade agreement following their talks in Vientiane, Laos, on April 8.

At the talks, Minister Dien described industry and trade ties as a pillar of bilateral relationship. In the first three months of this year, two-way trade between Vietnam and Laos hit US$417.8 million, down 1.8 per cent annually. Việt Nam mostly exported petroleum products, iron and steel, machinery and equipment to Laos while importing rubber, wood, ore and minerals from the neighbouring country.

Dien acknowledged Laos's growing production capacity, evidenced by its transition from a trade deficit to a surplus with Vietnam in recent years. He also underscored Laos's increasing importance as one of the important suppliers of raw materials for Vietnam's manufacturing within Asean.

According to him, Vietnam has a significant demand for imported raw materials and electricity, including those from Laos.

Dien affirmed the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade’s readiness to help Laos secure a stable supply of petroleum products.

Both sides agreed to hold more trade promotion activities such as business forums, networking conferences, trade fairs and market information seminars; as well as develop border trade infrastructure.

They called for effectively implementing the Memorandum of Understanding on the development and connectivity of Vietnam-Laos border trade infrastructure signed in January 2024 while reviewing to amend and supplement the 2007 Hanoi Agreement and the Vietnam-Laos Border Trade Agreement to align with the current realities.

Following the talks, the two ministers signed the new Vietnma-Laos trade agreement, and witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the General Department of Market Surveillance (GDMS) and the Department of Business Competition and Trade Inspection under the Lao Ministry of Industry and Commerce, and another MoU between the GP Holdings – the National Research Institute of Mechanical Engineering and Phonesack Group on building warehouses and conveyor belts for coal transportation.

Under the MoU between the GDMS and the Department of Business Competition and Trade Inspection, both sides will update each other about respective policies and laws, offer support in market management training for officials, share the best practices in enforcing administrative penalties on business and trade violations while combating cross-border smuggling, commercial fraud and illegal transportation of goods between the two countries.

Specific cooperation plans will be determined annually or periodically, taking into account each country's legal frameworks and strategic priorities. — Vietnam News/ANN

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