The governments of Laos and Vietnam have agreed to eliminate tariffs on more than 95 percent of goods moved between the two countries.
A document to this effect was signed by Minister of Industry and Commerce Ms Khemmani Pholsena and her Vietnamese counterpart Vu Huy Hoang on March 3 in Vientiane.
The 2015 trade agreement replaces the 1998 trade agreement.
More than 9,000 lists of goods from the two neighbours will enjoy zero tariffs under the agreement, Deputy Director General of the Foreign Trade Policy Department under the Lao ministry, Mr Saysana Sayakone, told Vientiane Times yesterday.
The agreement is to be put into implementation after two months following its signing.
“Both sides are given 60 days to prepare and work out their respective internal procedures, after which the agreement will be put into implementation,” Mr Saysana said, citing the agreement.
Deputy Prime Minister in charge of economic affairs, specifically production and goods circulation, Mr Somsavat Lengsavad and senior officials from line ministries of the two countries witnessed the signing of the agreement.
Ms Khemmani said at the signing ceremony that the two ministries have paid close attention to implementing the bilateral agreement to boost and enha nce the special relationship and comprehensive cooperation between the two countries.
Addressing the signing ceremony, the Vietnamese minister said once the new agreement comes into effect, it will form the legal framework for bilateral cooperation in goods and services trading and make a significant contribution to fostering the relationship between Vietnam and Laos, according to the Vietnam News Agency .
DPM Somsavat hailed the signing of the bilateral trade agreement and urged relevant ministries and sectors to work closely with Vietnamese counterparts to effectively implement it.
Officials said the agreement will add fuel to the efforts of the two governments to increase trade and investment between the neighbouring countries.
Laos and Vietnam have set an ambitious target to increase Vietnamese investment in Laos to US$5.8 billion in 2015, an increase on the current total value of about US$5 billion. Laos has granted investment licences to 413 Vietnamese projects with a combined capitalisation of around US$5 billion.
Vietnam is one of the top three foreign investors in Laos and one of the country’s top five trading partners.
Bilateral trade value bet ween Vietnam and Laos in the first nine months of 2014 reached US$995 million, with the figure expected to reach US$1.4 billion for the entire year.
Total trade value between the two countries is expected to reach US$2 billion in 2015.
Source: Vientiane Times