Vietnam’s investment in Laos has reached around US$5 billion with over 400 projects OK’d by the Lao government, the Vietnamese Ministry of Planning and Investment said Sunday.
Laos has licensed 423 investment projects worth roughly $5 billion for Vietnamese businesses, most of which, or 95 percent, have been implemented in the central and southern regions, the ministry said at a seminar in the south-central Vietnamese province of Binh Dinh.
The second annual economic discussion, hosted by the Association of Vietnamese Investors in Laos, gathered businesses from Vietnam’s Central Highlands and south-central provinces, and their counterparts from the bordering central and southern parts of Laos.
Realty developer Hoang Anh Gia Lai stands out from other Vietnamese businesses in Laos with total investment of $1.2 billion, mostly in the agricultural and hydropower sectors.
As of the end of September, bilateral trade between Vietnam and Laos reached nearly $1 billion, according to newswire VnExpress.
Vietnamese-run projects in Laos have generated 30,000 stable jobs for locals.
Delegates at the seminar noted that some projects, particularly those in the energy and mining sectors, have been carried out slowly.
Nguyen Chi Dung, deputy head of the planning and investment ministry, suggested that the two governments offer incentives and policies to attract investment, as well as upgrade and improve traffic and utility infrastructure.
Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said there are advantages for Lao and Vietnamese businesses to boost bilateral investment and cooperation.
Vietnam has favorable conditions and strong financial muscles in seaports and tourism, while Laos has potential in natural resources, Deputy Prime Minister Phuc said.
He urged the ministries and investors from both countries to speed up the implementation of the licensed projects, adding that the local administrations of the border areas between Laos and Vietnam should strengthen cooperation to “take the best advantage of their potential.”
Lao Deputy Prime Minister Somsavat Lengsavad said the Lao government will work harder to tackle difficulties and create favorable conditions for Vietnamese investors, according to the Vietnam News Agency.
The Lao official said the two governments will work together closely to instruct ministries on both sides to review bilateral cooperation agreements and solve any issues that arise.
He added that Laos particularly appreciated projects run by Hoang Anh Gia Lai, the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam, and military-run mobile network operator Viettel in the southern region, according to the Vietnam News Agency.