At the Inter-Governmental Committee meeting in the central border province of Nghe An (August 1-3), Vietnam and Laos have agreed that human resources development is one of the key bilateral achievements to build on in the second half of 2009.
Chaired by Permanent Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Sinh Hung and his Lao counterpart, Somsavat Lengsavad, the conference also saw Vietnam pledging to continue extending educational assistance to Laos, including scholarships for Lao students, as well as further assistance to Laos in organizing the SEA Games 25 and in training referees and athletes.
Both sides agreed to proceed on a tariff reduction roadmap and to further streamline customs procedures with the aim of boosting bilateral trade revenue to US$1 billion by 2010. Bilateral trade reached $196 million in the first half of 2009.
Vietnam and Laos have achieved significant successes in bilateral cooperation in the first half of 2009. As a result, 75 students have gone on exchange programmes and scholarships were awarded as per the cooperation agreement.
Both countries have also signed six accords of cooperation in industry, trade, transport, exports and food hygiene and safety.
Vietnam is one of the three largest investors in Laos, with 186 projects worth over $2 billion. In the first half alone, the Lao government licensed 17 Vietnamese projects with a combined capital of $88 million.
Thanh Nien Daily, Vietnam, Laos strengthen comprehensive ties, 4 August 2009,
VOVNews.vn, Vietnam, Laos boost comprehensive cooperation, 4 August 2009,