Laos and Vietnam will strive for a 20 percent increase in bilateral trade after senior officials of the Vietnam-Laos and Laos-Vietnam commissions met here in Vientiane, according to state-run daily Vientiane Times on Tuesday.
During two days of meetings concluding Tuesday, officials from the two sides reached a consensus about the growth target and discussed measures that would act to drive the growth.
Bilateral trade between Laos and Vietnam for the first 10 months of 2013 reached 817 million U.S. dollars, up 13 percent on the previous year. Additionally Vietnamese businesses have invested in approximately 412 projects in Laos totaling some 5 billion dollars, making Vietnam the country's second largest foreign investor.
Since the start of the year, the Lao government has approved 12 projects from investors in Vietnam encompassing fields from banking to hydropower, mining and agriculture.
Deputy Chairman of the cooperation commission for Laos Phonsouk Khounsombath led the Lao delegation at the talks and called for collaboration between the two countries to sign a new Laos-Vietnam trade agreement by 2014.
Khounsombath suggested that both sides strive to create better conditions for the export of Lao-made Vietnamese products back to Vietnam in order to increase trade volume. Possible products include electricity, rubber and sugar. Vietnam's Anh Gia Lai Group has proposed to export 100,000 tonnes of Lao sugar to Vietnam annually.
The meeting also addressed measures regarding effective investment in Laos after the discontinuation of some projects after their approval by the Lao government.