Acting Director of the Hanoi Department of Industry and Trade Tran Thi Phuong Lan told Hanoimoi newspaper about outstanding activities to strengthen the cooperation between the two capitals of Vietnam and Laos.
|Phung Thi Hong Ha (R), Deputy Chairwoman of the Hanoi People's Council, and Tran Thi Phuong Lan (M), Acting Director of the Hanoi Department of Industry and Trade, attend an event to promote consumption in Laos. Photo: Van Ha/The Hanoi Times
Can you tell us about the outstanding results of the recent working visit of the Vientiane Industry and Trade delegation to Hanoi?
The cooperation in industry and trade between the two capitals of Hanoi (Vietnam) and Vientiane (Laos) is not for economic values but also embodies a friendly tradition in the spirit of benefit sharing and mutual development.
During this visit, the Lao delegation made field trips to some commercial centers, supermarkets, wet markets, and handicraft villages in Hanoi and learned experiences in the field.
The Lao officials were also interested in learning about the distribution models of Vietnam and other countries. They found that Vietnamese products hold a big market share in the Vietnamese market, especially in supermarket chains such as AEON Mall, Lotte, and Big C, through their surveys at AEON Mall Ha Dong commercial center.
What can Hanoi's enterprises and handicraft villages gain from a cooperation agreement signed last year between the Hanoi and Vientiane Industry and Commerce Ministries?
To implement the Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation between the two departments, the Hanoi Department of Industry and Trade organized a trade promotion in Laos this year, which included representatives from handicraft villages and enterprises, on the occasion of the Hanoi delegation's visit to Vientiane, led by the Standing Vice Chairwoman of the Hanoi People's Council, Phung Thi Hong Ha.
As part of the program, Hanoi and Lao businesses signed 13 memoranda of cooperation, which are expected to provide more raw material development opportunities for handicraft villages and businesses in Hanoi, Vientiane, and Luang Prabang province. In addition, goods from the capital city of Vientiane and Luang Prabang province (Laos) will be sold in Hanoi's distribution system and vice versa.
We call for investment in trade systems in the two countries and bring Vietnamese and Lao products into the distribution channels of the two capitals.
What should Hanoi do to increase its exports to Laos despite declining exports to key and traditional markets?
We are strengthening trade promotion to help Hanoi's enterprises connect with the Lao market, which is potential in the field, especially in handicraft villages.
In the past few years, the decreasing demand in some European countries has prompted Hanoi to look for new export markets, such as Laos.
Trade between Hanoi and Lao localities has increased in recent years. In 2022, Hanoi's exports to Laos expanded by 20% year-on-year to US$200 million, while Hanoi imported US$211 million worth of Lao products, up 12.6% year-on-year.
|Lao products on display at an event in Hanoi in November 2022. Photo: Hoai Nam/The Hanoi Times
What are the opportunities for Vietnamese products in the Lao market?
It's not so hard for Vietnamese goods to enter the Lao market thanks to Lao consumers' good sentiment towards Vietnamese products, especially handicrafts, ceramics, pottery, and bamboo products.
There remains room for expansion as they are not yet widely available. To tap into this market, Vietnamese businesses must understand its requirements and adapt their designs and products accordingly.
How will industrial and trade cooperation between the two countries be strengthened?
We remain committed to supporting both sides in implementing the contents of the 13 Memoranda of Understanding on cooperation signed at a conference on developing resource areas and linking consumption between Hanoi and Vientiane in April.
Hanoi will continue facilitating enterprises to source bamboo and rattan for bamboo weaving and develop raw material zones for bananas, ginger, chili peppers, and broom grass while providing technical assistance and technology transfer to Lao enterprises to make export standard goods.