VIENTIANE, Oct. 3 (Xinhua) -- Trade authorities in six northern Lao provinces and Dien Bien Phu province in Vietnam agreed to hold a business dialogue in 2020 to boost trade.
The planned dialogue is part of the cooperation plan for 2019-2020 and was discussed at a recent meeting between the two sides in northern Lao Luang Prabang province, some 180 km north of Lao capital Vientiane, local daily Vientiane Times reported on Thursday.
Deputy Director of the Industry and Commerce Department of Luang Prabang province, Somsack Bounmaphet, told local media on Wednesday that the date for the business dialogue was yet to be finalized.
The business dialogue is expected to open up close cooperation and exchanges among business operators from Laos and Vietnam and boost investment, production and trade.
Somsack said Vietnamese traders mostly buy farm produce from Lao farmers and ship them to Vietnamese markets.
"The six northern Lao provinces really want to encourage Vietnamese companies from Dien Bien Phu province to run agro-processing industries and farming there," he added.
Lao authorities would like Vietnamese investors to make products and export them to Vietnamese markets, especially in areas with large populations.
Production by local farmers is on a small scale, and the quantity they produce is currently not sufficient to fulfill large orders.
All six northern Lao provinces are keen to encourage foreign investors who have adequate capabilities and funding and are willing to comply with the regulations to make or process goods in line with the Lao government's commercial production policy.
Lao government has drawn up investment promotion policies to facilitate border trade and commercial production.
Somsack said exporters based in districts and border with Vietnam can get permission to exports goods from district authorities. It is not necessary for them to ask for permission from provincial authorities.
"This process eases business operations and production. It also creates confidence among entrepreneurs and investors," he said.
The Lao and Vietnamese governments plan to increase bilateral trade to 1 billion U.S. dollars in 2019 and subsequently increase it by 10 percent.
In addition, trade authorities on both sides discussed trade barriers, including border checkpoint processes.
Vietnam is among the top 10 sources of foreign direct investment in Luang Prabang. China tops the list, followed by Thailand, according to provincial officials.