Lao People's Democratic Republic is Vietnam's largest overseas investment market. The economic, trade, and investment cooperation relations between Vietnam and Laos have been well maintained for many years. As of October 2022, Vietnam had 219 valid investment projects in Laos, with a total registered capital of about USD 4.7 billion, maintaining the third position after China and Thailand. After October 2022, Vietnam's investment in Laos increased by 04 new projects and 03 adjusted projects to increase capital with a total value of USD 66.42 million, and two-way trade turnover between the two countries reached USD 1.22 billion. Particularly, agriculture currently has 49 projects with a total investment of about USD 1 billion. The agricultural enterprises investing in Laos are Vietnam Rubber Group, Hoang Anh Gia Lai Joint Stock Company, and Vietnam Milk Joint Stock Company...
During the official working trip to Laos from December 27-28, 2022, the Ministers of Agriculture of the two countries co-chaired the annual meeting in Vientiane, Laos. The two sides agreed to closely and comprehensively coordinate to strongly promote the agricultural cooperation between Vietnam and Laos, especially, the two ministers agreed and included in the meeting minutes the content "The two sides will report to the relevant agencies of each country towards the establishment of the Vietnam-Laos Association of Agricultural Enterprises and the Laos-Vietnamese Association of Agricultural Enterprises”.
On February 27th, 2023, a workshop to promote agricultural cooperation between Vietnam and Laos was chaired by Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Mr. Le Minh Hoan. The goal of the workshop was to promote agricultural cooperation between the two countries Vietnam - Laos and move towards the establishment of the Vietnam - Laos Business Association.
At the workshop, Mr. Vu Van Chung - Deputy Director of the Foreign Investment Department, Ministry of Planning and Investment assessed that there were many advantages to investing in the agricultural sector of Laos. The land was large, the agriculture was still mainly cultivated according to traditional methods, which was a great opportunity for Vietnamese businesses to invest in the development of production. He also noted the difficulties when investing in Laos for businesses that were limited in terms of infrastructure, human resources, and investment environment... Laos also had no land use planning and preferential policies or long-term agricultural development strategy. The Ministry of Planning and Investment would continue to work with Laos on solutions for creating favorable conditions for Vietnamese businesses to invest in Laos.
Senior Lieutenant Colonel Mr. Bui Van Quy - Deputy General Director of Saigon Newport Corporation, said that if the trade between Vietnam and Laos became strong and close, we would be protected. Saigon Newport was accounting for 55% of the country's import and export market share in the supply chain. The Saigon Newport committed to being ready to support logistics businesses to promote Vietnam - Laos trade to develop, especially in the agricultural sector.
Chairman of the Board of Directors cum Director-general of Dong Giao Foodstuff Export JSC., Dinh Cao Khue shared that the business didn't have enough sources of goods to export while the Chinese market demand was very large. We were planning to expand our investment in planting pineapple and maize in Xieng Khouang and Hua Phan provinces of Laos because the land fund for agricultural production in the Central Highlands had been exhausted. Through the study, we found that the climate and soil conditions were perfectly suitable for agricultural production development.
With a geographical position bordering our country, Laos - China high-speed railway has come into operation, Laos will be a very convenient gateway for importing and exporting goods to China and ASEAN countries. Moreover, Laos is prioritizing the development of export-oriented organic agriculture to increase income for the economy, so the agricultural development cooperation between the two countries Vietnam - Laos still has a lot of untapped potentials.
Minister Mr. Le Minh Hoan affirmed that the investment cooperation in agricultural development between Vietnam and Laos must start from the mindset that "the far market is when we go to sell, the near market is to create raw material areas and sources of goods together to sell”. Expanding the economic space with a win-win cooperation mindset would be difficult but would be more sustainable.
In the coming time, the Ministry of Agriculture will establish an Association of Vietnamese Enterprises to invest in Laos, and the Lao side will also establish a Lao Business Association to cooperate with Vietnam to develop together. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development will carry out the procedures and submit them to the competent authorities to establish the Vietnam - Laos Association of Agricultural Enterprises. This will be the official working channel to connect businesses of the two countries to exchange, cooperate and help each other develop production and business in the field of agriculture, contributing to the economic development of Vietnam and Laos.