Vietnam and Laos Sign Free-trade Agreement and Begin 1-stop Customs
to encourage trade between the two countries
According to the Vietnam Customs’ Trade Statistics, Vietnam always retained a big trade deficit in bilateral merchandise trade with Laos
Early March 2015, Laos and Vietnam signed a new agreement to eliminate tariffs in a move to encourage trade between the two countries. The agreement was signed in Vientiane in April 2015 by Lao's Industry and Commerce Minister Khemmani Pholsena and Vietnamese Minister Vu Huy Hoang, reported the Vientiane Times.
Deputy Director-General of the Lao Foreign Trade Policy Department Saysana Sayakone, told the Times that the zero-tariff pact will take effect two months after the signing and cover more than 95% of goods between the two countries. This will affect more than 9,000 items that will not face tax levies after it is implemented.
Vietnam Customs Statistics showed that Vietnam always retained a big trade deficit in bilateral merchandise trade with Laos for the previous years. Notably, the sharp increase in imports from Laos (up by 50.4% as compared to 2012) led to the trade gap of USD 245 million in 2013 which was 1.5 times higher than the previous year.
Vietnam’s main exported commodities to Laos include: iron and steel, petroleum products; machine, equipment, tools and instrument and corn. Wood and wooden products are the main commodity that Vietnam imported from Laos in recent years.