VIENTIANE, Jan. 11 (Xinhua) -- The combined trade value of imports and exports between Laos and Vietnam rose and crossed the one billion U.S. dollars mark in 2018.
According to daily Vientiane Times on Friday, in 2018, Laos earned about 723.5 million U.S. dollars from goods exported to Vietnam and spent 552.2 million U.S. dollars on imported goods, according to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.
The main items exported to Vietnam were drinking water, minerals and wood products, and agricultural products such as rubber, coffee, maize, cassava, rice and cattle.
In contrast, imports were focused on key groups such as petroleum, fertilizer, steel, machinery, electrical equipment, construction materials and spare parts.
Vietnam remained Laos' third largest trading partner in 2018, trailing Thailand and China.
Vietnam has invested in 409 projects in Laos worth 4.1 billion U.S. dollars, mostly in hydropower, mining, transport, industrial tree plantations and services, which have played an important role in the development of both countries, said the report.
This year the Lao government expects a trade deficit of 259 million U.S. dollars with exports of 5,516 million U.S. dollars and imports of 5,775 million U.S. dollars, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Somdy Douangdy told the National Assembly in last December.
Laos' major export markets are Thailand, China, and Vietnam, followed by India, Japan, Germany and the United States.