Hanoi and Vientiane have been taking steps to bolster economic ties during the Vietnam-Laos 2022 Solidarity and Friendship Year.
|Overview of the “Hanoi-Vientiane Cooperation for Development” investment, trade, and tourism conference. Photo: The Hanoi Times|
At the investment, trade, and tourism conference titled “Hanoi-Vientiane Cooperation for Development” on August 10, Vice Chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee Nguyen Manh Quyen noted the cooperation between Hanoi and Laos’ provinces in general, and with Vientiane in particular, have been progressing in all spheres, including priority fields of economy, healthcare, education, agriculture, military, and people-to-people exchange.
Echoing Quyen’s view, Vice Director of the Hanoi’s Department of Planning and Investment Nguyen Ngoc Tu added since 2004, Hanoi has been funding several projects to aid socio-economic development in Laos’ provinces.
Some notable projects included the Vientiane-Hanoi Friendship Vocational School worth VND14.8 billion (US$632,000); the clean water system at Xay Xom Bun commune with funding of VND8 billion ($342,000); and a lighting system in Vientiane with financing of VND4.4 billion ($188,000).
In return, Laos businesses in the fields of trade, real estate, finance, banking, and automobile reparation have invested over $8 million in Hanoi.
According to Tu, Hanoi remains a safe, attractive, and stable investment destination for investors.
“The city has been constantly improving its business environment to help investors stay long term and gain successes, eventually contributing to the city’s socio-economic development,” Tu said.
A representative of the Laos-based ASEAN Mall called for more investment from Vietnamese businesses to the country, saying the business environment is friendly and stable for foreign businesses, especially those from Vietnam.
Meanwhile, Vice Chairman of the Hanoi Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (Hanoisme) Mac Quoc Anh noted Laos is facing a shortage of high-quality workforce, which could be a source of concern for foreign investors.
He also called for the Vientiane authority to support Vietnamese companies in creating brand awareness among the locals.
At the “Hanoi-Vientiane Cooperation for Development” conference, leaders from Hanoi and Vientiane witnessed the signing of three memoranda of understanding between businesses from the two sides, including the MoU on technical cooperation and expanding agricultural production for domestic and foreign distribution between Phan Phet Agricultural Development Company and Vilaconic; cooperation in the production and distribution of paper between Villa Paper Production and Trade and Vila Import-Export Sole; cooperation on transferring agricultural digital software and improving linkage in farm produce supply chain of Vietnam-Lao between Autoagri Software Tech and Sun Commercial Import-Export and Service.
Support Laos company entering Vietnam’s market
Given the huge potential for tourism development between the two cities, the Chairman of the UNESCO Hanoi Travel Club Truong Quoc Hung recommended travel agencies from Hanoi and Vientiane form a partnership and promote tourism in Vietnam and Laos.
“Laos authorities should further simplify immigration procedures to create convenience for tourists entering the city, especially via road and air,” Hung said.
On this issue, the Director of the Hanoi Promotion agency Nguyen Anh Duong said the agency is committed to holding tourism promotion events in Vientiane and laying the foundation for companies from the two cities to look for new business opportunities.
On August 11, a business delegation led by Vientiane Vice Mayor Phouvong Vongkhamsao surveyed Vinmart Smart City and Savico Megamall.
He called for the two shopping malls to set up a distribution network for Laos farm produce coming into Vietnam’s market.
Director of Vinmart Khuc Tien Ha said the company is always looking for high-quality agricultural products and would support Laos firms in this regard.
HPA Vice Director Nguyen Thi Mai Anh said in the coming time, the agency would help bring Laos products into Hanoi’s retail network, which could be done via online business matching events between Laos producers and major retailers in Vietnam, including Big C, AEON Mall, Hapro or Co.op Mart.