Vietnamese, Laos PMs co-chair 44th meeting of inter-governmental committee
Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and his Lao counterpart Phankham Viphavanh co-chaired the 44th meeting of the Vietnam - Laos Inter-Governmental Committee on Bilateral Cooperation in Hanoi on January 10.

Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and his Lao counterpart Phankham Viphavanh co-chaired the 44th meeting of the Vietnam - Laos Inter-Governmental Committee on Bilateral Cooperation in Hanoi on January 10.

PM Chinh congratulated the Lao Government on the past socio-economic achievements, especially in controlling COVID-19 pandemic, maintaining economic growth and successfully holding sub-regional cooperation conferences, contributing to improving the country’s role and position in the region.

At the meeting__Photo: VNA

He also thanked Laos for working closely with Vietnam in the fight against the pandemic.

Viphavanh, for his part, thanked the Vietnamese Party, State and people for offering timely support to Laos to combat the pandemic.

Both sides expressed their delight at successes in joint work in various areas, including bilateral political – diplomatic ties with mutual support at regional and global forums, the signing of 25 important deals between the two countries’ ministries, localities and businesses during visits, and close national defense-security links with effective fight against crimes, especially trans-national crimes.

With 209 valid projects worth nearly 5.18 billion USD in Laos, Vietnam remained the third biggest investor in the country, behind China and Thailand. Last year, there were five new Vietnamese projects and four others registering additional capital with a total registered capital of 112.84 million USD, up 27 percent annually. Around 2.5 billion USD was disbursed, or 48.4 percent of the total.

Over the past five years, the Vietnamese firms have contributed more than 1 billion USD to the Lao State budget and roughly 80 million USD to social welfare services.

Two-way trade was estimated at 1.3 billion USD last year, up 30.3 percent year-on-year. The Vietnam – Laos Bilateral Trade Agreement, which was signed in 2015 and took effect till October 2020, has been extended to October 2023.

As many as 20 power purchase agreements were signed with investors to buy electricity from Laos with a total capacity of nearly 1,500MW. Other projects are ongoing and the transmission of electricity from Laos to Vietnam is likely to meet schedule.

About 2022 cooperation orientations, the two sides worked out practical measures to deepen bilateral political and diplomatic relations strengthen the pillar of national defense-security ties, continue giving special priority to education-training links, reinforce economic ties as well as connectivity and supplementarity of the two economies, particularly in transportation, infrastructure and telecommunications.

Host and guest pledged to improve the efficiency of cooperation mechanisms, the effectiveness of joint statements, agreements, visits and exchanges by leaders of the two Parties, States, ministries, agencies and localities.

They vowed to enhance consultations and mutual support, improve national self-reliance, especially in regional security issues, including the East Sea issue. They expressed high consensus on ASEAN’s principled stance on the East Sea issue mentioned in the ASEAN Joint Statement.

The two PMs promised to offer all possible support to the two countries’ firms and believed that success of the meeting will create a new driving force for bilateral ties.

At the event, the leaders witnessed the signing and exchange of nine cooperation documents between the two countries' Governments, ministries, agencies and localities.

Vietnamese Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung told a press conference following the 44th session of the Vietnam-Laos Inter-governmental Committee that a major task for Vietnam and Laos in 2022 is to connect their economies in terms of both institutions and infrastructure.

Dung, who is Chairman of the Vietnam-Laos Cooperation Committee, said during the 44th session, the two sides discussed and agreed on concrete contents under the conclusions by the two Politburos to be incorporated into the agreement on cooperation plan between the two countries for 2022, he noted.

On the occasion of the session, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and his Lao counterpart Phankham Viphavanh witnessed the signing of the agreement on cooperation plan for 2022, the minutes of the session, an agreement on the implementation of an agriculture project, and five others on the implementation of construction projects.

Dung and Lao Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Planning and Investment Sonexay Siphandone, who is also Chairman of the Laos-Vietnam Cooperation Committee, exchanged commitments between three Vietnamese and Lao shareholders regarding the increase of the Lao Government’s stake in the Lao-Viet International Port JSC from 20 percent to 60 percent.

The two sides expressed their resolve to boost cooperation in politics, external affairs, national defense and security, and investment-trade since the beginning of the year.

Dung said after the session, the Vietnamese Government will ask ministries, agencies, localities and businesses to closely coordinate with the Lao side to materialize the commitments.

The Government will also create the best possible conditions for Vietnamese businesses operating in the neighboring country, he affirmed.

For his part, Sonexay Siphandone said the two sides consented to focus on implementing joint statements and agreements reached by the two Politburos, and others, including those signed at the 44th session of the Vietnam-Laos Inter-governmental Committee.

Notably, they will give more heed to trade promotion activities this year, aiming to increase the bilateral trade value by 10 percent.

The two sides will work to attract more investments from big groups and companies, especially in green agriculture, processing and manufacturing and in localities with good potential along the common border.

They will also assess difficulties facing large-scale projects and help the investors in those projects to remove them. Meanwhile, Vietnam will continue to support projects newly licensed by Laos.

Vietnam and Laos will further roll out the memorandum of understanding between the two Governments on the transport cooperation strategy in 2016-2025, with a vision towards 2030.

Along with economic collaboration, the agreement on cooperation plan also covers cooperation in politics, diplomacy, national defense and security, education, human resource development and vocational training, among others.

The two countries will organize the Vietnam-Laos Solidarity and Friendship Year, and mark the 60th anniversary of the bilateral diplomatic ties, and 40 years of their Treaty of Amity and Cooperation this year.

Both sides shared the belief that the outcomes of the 44th session of the Vietnam-Laos Inter-governmental Committee will help to drive the bilateral cooperation forward, contributing to consolidating and enhancing the traditional friendship, special solidarity and comprehensive cooperation between the two countries.- (VNA/VLLF)

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