May 7, 2008 VNA (Hanoi)
The voluntary association aims to boost support among members and raise the efficiency of economic and investment co-operation between member countries.
It will also gather members’ opinions on strategies and policies relating to economic and investment co-operation.
Beginning operation in August last year, the association now has 500 members, including 200 Vietnamese organisations and enterprises currently working with Laos and Cambodia or aspiring to co-operate and invest in the countries.
Under its five-year action plan, the association will organise forums and fairs and provide opportunities for members to exchange experiences and information on economic and investment co-operation.
The association plans to implement consultancy and legal assistance services for enterprises following the three countries’ local and international law.
According to the Ministry of Planning and Investment, the association will further economic and investment relations between Vietnam and the two neighbouring countries and contribute to improving economic development and people’s living conditions.
Vietnam and Laos currently have five-year trade agreements and annual trade protocols that have opened legal corridors for economic and commercial co-operation between the two countries.
As a result, bilateral trade turnover increased rapidly from US $167 million in 2005 to US $312 million in 2007 and is expected to hit US $1 billion in 2010.
In addition, the two governments have issued several policies to support and encourage investment. By late 2007, Vietnam’s registered investment capital in Laos was more than US $1 billion, ranking third among 40 countries and territories investing in the country. Meanwhile, Laos’ investment capital in Vietnam reached US $48.3 million.
Vietnam and Cambodia also agreed to support enterprises investing in specific economic fields and boost economic co-operation between border provinces.
In 2006-07, the value of goods exchanged between the two countries increased 30%. Last year, Vietnam earned US $991 million from exports to Cambodia and imports came in at US $202 million. Trade between the two countries is expected to reach US $2 billion by 2010.
Vietnam’s direct investment in Cambodia reached US $90 million last year, while Cambodian enterprises invested US $5.2 million in Vietnam.
As members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia have also boosted co-operation and support within regional and international frameworks.