Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc chairs a meeting with the Vietnam-Laos
Cooperation Committee,relevant ministries and sectors on January 13th. (Photo: VNA)

The event was also attended by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Binh Minh.

According to a report by the Ministry of Planning and Investment, the two nations exchanged more than 300 visits at all levels and saw significant progress in economic cooperation in 2017. They have worked together to promptly remove obstacles and step up trade and investment promotion activities.

Vietnam now ranks third among countries and territories investing in Laos with 276 projects worth about USD5 billion in total. Accumulative disbursement has been estimated at over USD1.6 billion so far, accounting for 32.5 percent of the total Vietnamese investment.

Vietnam-Laos trade in the first 11 months of 2017 exceeded USD808 million, up roughly 10 percent from 2016.

Joint projects in transport infrastructure and connectivity have been developed between the two countries and within the region. The two sides are continuing to seek funding for key projects, such as 725-km Hanoi – Vientiane Highway and a railway connecting Vung Ang, Tan Ap, Mu Gia (Vietnam) and Thakhec, Vientiane (Laos).

Last year, Vietnam granted 1,246 scholarships to Lao students, 246 higher than the number pledged by the two Governments.

PM Phuc said that 2017 was a year of solidarity between the two countries and both sides successfully organised grand ceremonies to mark 55th founding anniversary of diplomatic ties and 40 years since the signing of the Vietnam-Laos Treaty on Amity and Cooperation.
The two nations should promote bilateral cooperation in various fields, he said, asking relevant sides to effectively coordinate to carefully prepare for the 40th meeting of the Vietnam-Laos Inter-governmental Committee for Bilateral Cooperation to be held later this year. 

Vietnam will continue its support for Laos in socio-economic development, he noted, adding that inspections must be carried out to accelerate the progress of some key cooperation projects./.