Vientiane (VNA) – A Vietnamese delegation attended the Vietnam – Laos conference for the development of the industry-trade, energy and mining sectors in the Lao capital of Vientiane from August 16 to 18.
The conference was an annual event of Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade, and the Ministries of Industry and Commerce, and Energy and Mines of Laos. It was an occasion for the sides involved to clear hurdles to and reach agreements on solutions to boost their cooperation.
Within the framework of the event, on August 17, Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh, who was head of the Vietnamese delegation, held talks with his Lao counterpart Khemmani Phonsena.
Anh highlighted positive impacts of the Vietnam – Laos trade and border trade agreements which have contributed to the average annual trade growth of 10 percent and the completion of goals set at the 41st meeting of the Vietnam – Laos intergovernmental committee.
He said the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade held a conference to review three-year implementation of the border trade agreement and pointed out a number shortcomings raised by enterprises such as time-consuming origin checks and customs clearance at border gates and quarantine work causing difficulties to firms.
The minister also pointed to obstacles facing Petrolimex Laos, a subsidiary of the Vietnam National Petroleum Group (Petrolimex), due to the host nation’s regulations on petrol and oil standards and retail prices.
The Lao minister said both sides will work closely to clear such problems.
The same day, the Vietnamese minister had talks with Lao Minister of Energy and Mines Khammani Inthilath, where both lauded the significant achievements of bilateral cooperation between the two countries in the field of energy and mining.
Vietnam and Laos signed a cooperation agreement on developing energy and mining projects in February 2019 after two years of negotiations. The sides also signed electricity trading contracts and established the Luangprabang energy limited company to continue implementing their Luang Prabang hydropower project, providing favourable conditions for the improvement of Laos’ grid capacity and the operation of Vietnamese-funded electricity projects in Laos to sell power for the Vietnamese market.
Anh said his ministry is willing to share its experience on running the information portal with the Lao Ministry of Energy and Mines and help the body build its management system for electronic documents.
For his part, the Lao minister mentioned the possibility of power purchase from the thermal power projects in Sekong and Khammuan provinces of Laos, as well as a wind power project in Sekong, among others.
Regarding these projects, Anh said the Vietnam Electricity (EVN) group has been assigned to negotiate with Lao contractors on relevant cooperation options, prices, and electricity capacities and outputs in line with both sides’ regulations and benefits.
At these talks, the two sides agreed to amend the Vietnam – Laos trade and border trade agreements; build a plan for the implementation of the revised Vietnam – Laos cooperation agreement on developing energy and mining projects; and design and negotiate a memorandum of understanding on developing and connecting the two countries’ border trade infrastructure.
They also agreed to collaborate in carrying out research on grid planning and electricity prices for trade between the two nations.
They said Vietnamese and Lao businesses will be facilitated to launch and join trade promotion activities in their respective nations, while bilateral power plant and electricity trade projects will be boosted further./.