Laos and Thailand have committed to increasing bilateral trade volume by 10 to 15 per cent annually as the two governments expect to meet the target of $12 billion in 2021, according to the Lao trade minister.
As part of promoting an increase in two-way trade volume, the Lao and Thai governments have closely cooperated in organising trade and investment promotion activities including trade fairs at the local and central levels.
One such initiative to promote trade is Top Thai Brands 2019, which was officially launched in Vientiane on Wednesday and ran until Sunday.
Speaking at the event’s opening ceremony, Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce, Phanthong Phitthoumma, said the governments of Laos and Thailand have made a strong commitment to markedly increase bilateral trade over the next five years.
“Significantly, Thailand has been one of Laos’ leading trade partners with an outstanding increase in the annual trade value. However, the target planned is quite challenging and we will also focus on trade and investment promotion,” he said.
Strengthen trade and investment Phanthong said the event is co-organised annually by the Lao Ministry of Industry and Commerce and the Ministry of Commerce of Thailand and will provide an opportunity for the two countries to meet the goal.
Charge d’Affaires of the Royal Thai Embassy to Laos, Chatchawan Sakornsin, noted that the event would strengthen trade and investment ties between Thailand and Laos based on equality, sincerity and cooperation.
“This will also support Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith’s ‘three opens’ policy, like ‘open door, open barrier and open mind’, in a bid to promote economic integration,” he said.
Meanwhile, Minister Counsellor of the Thai Embassy to Laos, Yanee Srimeechai, said the event was not only aimed at promoting trade cooperation between Thailand and Laos in terms of volume and value, but it also allowed Thai producers to introduce the best products and services to local customers.
“To be frank, the introduction of the best Thai-made goods will enable business cooperation when the market segment is open wider and then it will give Lao and Thai businesses a chance to network and share business lessons,” she added.
She also said that new trends for this year were “food truck businesses” and online commerce.
“Many successful Thai businesspeople will be on stage to share their experiences and provide tips for interested entrepreneurs.”
Yanee said this event would draw public attention with more than 70,000 visitors expected and generate over 50 million baht ($1.576 million).
The trade ministries of Laos and Thailand have been working hard to promote bilateral trade and investment over the past few years through numerous initiatives while seeking to address Laos’ trade deficit with its southern neighbour.
Last year, Laos’ trade deficit stood at $373 million in the first quarter of the year due to a large influx of imported materials to supply infrastructure and hydropower development and domestic production, according to a report from the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. VIENTIANE TIMES/ANN