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42nd meeting of Vietnam-Laos Inter-governmental Committee convenes in Hanoi

 Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and his Lao counterpart Thongloun Sisoulith co-chaired the 42nd meeting of the Vietnam-Laos Inter-governmental Committee in Hanoi on January 4.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc expressed his delight at the development of the great friendship, special solidarity and comprehensive cooperation between Vietnam and Laos in all areas.

Lao PM Thongloun Sisoulith congratulated Vietnam on its impressive achievements in socio-economic development in 2019, especially the economic growth of 7 percent. He spoke highly of outcomes of comprehensive cooperation between the two countries, expressing his belief the meeting will create a new momentum for the bilateral ties in 2020 when Vietnam and Laos are celebrating important events and preparing for the National Party Congress of each country in 2021.

Both sides expressed their pleasure with the implementation of cooperation programme between the two governments in all areas over the past year. The political ties and cooperation in defence – security have been strengthened, contributing to maintaining political stability and social order and security in each country.

Regarding economic collaboration, the two-way trade hit 1.2 billion USD, up 12.5 percent. Vietnam remained a big foreign investor in Laos with nearly 430 projects with combined capital of nearly 5 billion USD.

Cooperation in education has been promoted with the increasing number of Vietnam’s scholarships for Laos. There are 17,000 Lao students studying in Vietnam.

The two sides agreed on cooperation orientations for 2020, with a focus on increasing pillar collaboration on politics, external affairs, defence, security; strengthening experience sharing in building policies on stabilising macro-economy stability and promoting sustainable development; while enhancing connectivity and supplementation between the two economies, especially in transport and energy.

Besides, the two nations will coordinate to improve business and investment environment, and transport infrastructure connectivity, while creating more favourable conditions for businesses and striving to expand two-way trade by at least 10 percent this year.

Vietnam and Laos will work together to build their cooperation strategy in the next ten years, while the two countries’ ministries, sectors and localities continue promoting substantial and effective cooperation in the fields of culture, science, social affairs, information and communications, sports, healthcare, internal and judicial matters.

The two sides agreed to strengthen coordination and mutual support at regional and international forums and join hands to further deepen the cooperation and connectivity of the ASEAN Community as well as promote the bloc’s solidarity, central role, and common voice in regional strategic issues, including the East Sea matter.

They were unanimous in making effective and sustainable use of water resources in the Mekong River. Laos affirmed to support Vietnam’s assumption of the roles of the ASEAN Chair 2020 and a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for 2020-2021 tenure.

Concluding the meeting, the two PMs stressed they will direct ministries, sectors, localities and businesses of both countries to closely coordinate to realise effectively the freshly-reached agreements.

After the meeting, the two PMs witnessed the signing ceremony for important cooperation documents, including the agreement on cooperation plan for 2020 between the governments of Vietnam and Laos, the minutes of the 42nd meeting of the Vietnam-Laos Inter-governmental Committee, the agreement on transfer of sentenced persons, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Vietnam’s Transport Ministry and the Lao Ministry of Public Works and Transport, and the agreement on education cooperation plan between the two education ministries.