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Last updated: Thursday, December 13, 2018


Building Indochina Economic Development Triangle

Posted: Friday, July 21, 2017

With its extremely important geopolitical position, as a bridge and exchange point of the Asian continent, all three Indochinese nations of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia are striving to build a prosperous country for peace and development. Based on long-standing good relations, trilateral economic ties have been growing rapidly. As the three nations define 2017 as “Vietnam - Cambodia Friendship Year” and “Vietnam - Lao Friendship Year”, this is a very important foundation for further tripartite cooperation expansion.

According to data from the Ministry of Planning and Investment, Vietnamese companies invested in nearly 1,200 projects with US$21.4 billion in 70 countries and territories in the world as of February 2017. In particular, top recipients of Vietnamese investment capital are Laos (over US$5 billion) and Cambodia (nearly US$3 billion).

Vietnam’s key investment fields are agriculture, forestry, telecommunication, mining and medical service. These strengths of Vietnam have high potential in cooperation with Laos and Cambodia. Rubber growing is the biggest investment in Vietnam’s agro-forestry investment projects in Laos and Cambodia. Vietnam currently has 72 rubber growing projects with a total registered investment of nearly US$2.2 billion. Vietnam Rubber Industry Group (VRG) currently has 23 rubber planting projects in Laos and Cambodia and Hoang Anh Gia Lai Joint Stock Company has four rubber planting projects.

Vietnam - Laos
Vietnam and Laos have a very fine traditional relationship which has been cultivated by the two countries’ leaders and peoples. It has become an invaluable asset for both peoples.

The bilateral economic cooperation in recent years has flourished and laid a stronger foundation to link and strengthen this special relationship. Vietnam's investment projects in Laos are concentrated effectively in hydropower, mining, transportation and industrial crop cultivation among others. Currently, the two sides are closely coordinating in carrying out Vietnam-funded ODA projects for Laos.

“Vietnam's investment is now ranking third in Laos and rising to No. 2. This is an impressive number. Vietnamese businesses should consider should not think of short-term benefits but long-term strategies to opt for best investments that bring benefits to both sides. As Laos does not have the sea or railway, they should think of effective investment projects and try to address existing difficulties and obstacles for development. The Lao government welcomes the efforts of Vietnamese businesses as well as the cooperation and support of the Party and the Government of Vietnam,” said Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith at a meeting with Vietnamese companies in Laos in October 2016.

Vietnam had 266 projects licensed to invest in Laos with a total registered capital of US$5.1 billion as of the end of September 2016.

In addition to economic cooperation, education, training and human resource development have also given special priority and attention by the two sides. Accordingly, some education and training projects have been carried out effectively, for example, the project “Enhancing the quality and efficiency of Vietnam-Laos education and human resource development cooperation in 2011-2020.”

Local cooperation of bordering localities is focussed and promoted, evidenced by the establishment of economic and commercial zones at international and national border gates. The two sides have actively implemented cooperation agreements signed by the governments, including signing the border trade agreement (in June 2015), applying one-stop single-window mechanism at Lao Bao - Densavan International Border Gate to boost connectivity, reduce procedures and facilitate human travelling and cargo transportation.

Recently, during the Laos visit by Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (April 26 - 27, 2017), the two sides agreed to enhance effective cooperation in many aspects, including economy, trade and investment, aimed to increase the two-way trade turnover by 10 per cent in 2017, increase investment projects and strengthening connectivity and complementarity between the two economies, especially in energy and transport connections.

Vietnam – Cambodia 
Sharing more than 1,000 km of borderline stretching across 10 provinces of Vietnam and nine provinces of Cambodia, the bilateral cooperation has kept thriving in all areas in recent years, especially economic, trade and investment relations. The two-way economic cooperation has achieved remarkable results. Vietnam is currently the third largest trading partner and the fifth biggest foreign investor in Cambodia.

On economic cooperation, the two-way trade value reached more than US$930 million in the first quarter of 2017, up 11 per cent year on year. Vietnam’s investment into Cambodia is on the rise year after year. At present, Vietnam has 190 projects with US$2.9 billion of investment capital in Cambodia. Vietnam's investment covers all sectors of Cambodia, led by agriculture and forestry, energy, finance, banking, insurance, post and telecommunication, processing, manufacturing, warehousing and transportation, export, import, health and construction. In tourism, Vietnamese tourist arrivals to Cambodia always stay on top. Cambodia’s investment in Vietnam has also increased, with 18 projects and US$58 million of investment capital.

In trade, cross-border trade is quite convenient, positively affected by rising number of vehicles, people and goods crossing the border. Cambodia is a big export market of Vietnam, with its main shipments being industrial products (iron and steel, fertilisers, textile and garment, machinery and spare parts, plastics.

The 9th Cambodia - Laos - Vietnam Development Triangle Summit (November, 2016) agreed on the Action Plan for linking Cambodia - Laos - Vietnam economies to 2030. This will be an important premise to connect and bring into full play the potential of Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam (with 13 border provinces).

Hoang Tham

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