||Asean Affairs 8 July 2013
Petroleum, metals key exports to Laos
Petroleum, steel and iron account for the biggest portions of Vietnamese exports to Laos, Vietnamplus has reported.
The two-way trade between Viet Nam and Laos was estimated to have reached US$520 million in the first half of 2013, 11.6 per cent higher than expected.
In the Jan-May period, bilateral trade reached $434 million, up 5.6 per cent year-on-year.
Of this, exports from Viet Nam to Laos were worth $205.4 million, up 16.5 per cent against last year.
A total of $56.3 million was spent on steel and iron, $43.6 million on petroleum, $14.9 million on vehicles and spare-parts and $13 million on electrical wires and cables.
Exports from Laos to Viet Nam reached $228.4 million in the first five months, down 2.6 per cent year-on-year. The major import commodity was wood, worth $147.6 million and accounting for 64 per cent of the total import value.
According to Tran Bao Giam, Trade Counsellor at the Vietnamese Embassy in Laos, it is expected that Viet Nam-Laos bilateral trade will touch $1 billion this year.
He pledged that the two countries would do their best in the second half of the year to support enterprises and speed up trade promotion to reach the ambitious target.
A Viet Nam-Laos trade fair will be held from July 18-22 in Vientiane, with more than 300 Vietnamese booths displaying household electronic products; industrial machinery; agriculture, forestry and fisheries products; garments and clothes; processed food; wooden products; handicrafts; pharmaceuticals and medical equipment.
The fair will be held to promote Viet Nam's image and Vietnamese brands, contributing to further trade between the two countries.
Among the countries that neighbour Viet Nam, Laos has been named as a particularly attractive destination for Vietnamese investors who are looking to do long-term business in the region.
The HCM City Investment and Trade Promotion Centre (ITPC) and the Lao Consulate in HCM City recently held a conference to introduce investment opportunities in the Lao market and promote trade and tourism in the country.
Viet Nam has a lot of potential to penetrate the market, as a great number of overseas Vietnamese live and work there, said ITPC Director Pho Nam Phuong.
She said that despite Vietnamese exports to Laos posting a year-on-year increase in H1, the figure only accounted for 16.4 per cent of the country's imports, according to Viet Nam's Trade Mission in Laos.
The ITPC will organise the 2013 HCM City Investment, Trade and Tourism Exhibition later this month to further explore opportunities for investment in Laos.
The programmes will prioritise businesses operating in the garment, cosmetics, household products, food, electronics and construction materials sectors.
Lao Government statistics show that Viet Nam has 224 valid investment projects in the country, with a total registered capital of over $4.2 billion.