By VIENTIANE TIMES
ASIA NEWS NETWORK
More cooperation documents are expected to be signed during next month’s 40th meeting of the Laos-Vietnam and Vietnam-Laos cooperation committees, a source from the Laos-Vietnam Cooperation Committee said.
The documents include deals on electricity trade, with Laos seeking to export power to Vietnam.
“Laos is encouraging the signing of these documents,” the source said. The Laos-Vietnam Cooperation Committee would meet in Vientiane in preparation for the 40th intergovernmental committee meeting, according to the source.
Meanwhile, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc told the relevant ministries and sectors of Vietnam to make thorough preparations for the upcoming intergovernmental committee meeting, Vietnamese media reported.
PM Phuc made the request at a meeting with the Vietnam-Laos Cooperation Committee and relevant ministries and sectors in Hanoi, Nhan Dan reported.
He stressed that in 2018 the two sides will bolster their cooperation in all fields, with priority given to electricity and the Vung Ang port – a cooperation project in Vietnam’s central Ha Tinh province which will enable land-locked Laos to access sea trade routes.
The two sides are continuing to seek funding for key projects, such as the 725-km Hanoi- Vientiane highway and a railway connecting Vung Ang, Tan Ap, Mu Gia (Vietnam) and Thakhaek, Vientiane (Laos), according to the Voice of Vietnam (VoV).
In addition, a number of joint projects on transport infrastructure and connectivity have been undertaken between the two countries and within the region.
The two countries have just concluded the Laos-Vietnam friendship and solidarity year 2017, in which a number of activities were organised to mark the 55th anniversary of diplomatic relations and the 40th anniversary of the signing of the Laos-Vietnam Treaty on Amity and Cooperation.
Vietnam is now the third largest foreign investor in Laos with 276 projects worth around US$5 billion in total.
Accumulative disbursement has been estimated at US$1.6 billion so far, accounting for 32.5percentof total Vietnamese investment, according to VoV.
Vietnam-Laos trade in the first 11 months of 2017 surpassed US$808 million, up roughly 10 percent from 2016.
Last year, Vietnam granted 1,246 scholarships to Lao students, 246 more than the number pledged by the two governments.