Laos-Vietnam trade cracks US$1 billion mark
VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - The combined trade value of imports and exports between Laos and Vietnam shot up by 13 percent in 2018, crossing the US$1 billion mark, officials from the two countries announced.
The figure was reported at the 41st session of the Laos-Vietnam Inter-Governmental Committee meeting held in Hanoi last weekend.
In 2018, Laos earned about US$723.5 million from goods exported to Vietnam and spent US$552.2 million on imported goods, according to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.
The main items exported to Vietnam were drinking water, minerals and wood products, and agricultural products such as rubber, coffee, maize, cassava, rice and also cattle.
In contrast, imports are focused on key groups such as petroleum, fertiliser, steel, machinery, electrical equipment, construction materials and spare parts.
Vietnam remained Laos’ third largest trading partner in 2018, trailing Thailand and China.
Vietnam has invested in 409 projects in Laos worth US$4.1 billion, mostly in hydropower, mining, transport, industrial tree plantations and services, which have played an important role in the development of both countries.
In 2019, the Lao and Vietnamese governments have agreed to cooperate in education and sports, human resources development, energy and mining, as well as information, culture and tourism.
Both governments have agreed to boost cooperation in industry and commerce and agricultural technology.
This year the Lao government is expecting a trade deficit of US$259 million with exports of US$5,516 million and imports of US$5,775 million, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Mr Somdy Duangdy, told the National Assembly recently.
The government expects to have a trade surplus of about US$37 million in 2018, with exports worth US$5,015 million and imports worth US$4,978 million.
The main exports were electricity, copper, camera parts, electrical appliances, clothes, gold, coffee, livestock, bananas and plastics, the Import and Export Department under the Ministry of Industry and Commerce said.
Meanwhile, the main products imported were fuel (aviation, diesel, and petrol), electrical appliances, vehicles and parts, mechanical equipment and steel.
Laos’ major export markets are Thailand, China, and Vietnam, followed by India, Japan, Germany and the United States.