Minister Nguyen Hong Dien meets with Lao PM Sonexay Siphandone on cooperation in industry, energy, trade

WVR/VNA - On April 8, Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Hong Dien had a meeting in Vientiane with Lao Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone who asked relevant ministries of the two sides to focus on seeking ways to remove difficulties facing their businesses in exporting coal and electricity, thus improving the effectiveness of bilateral cooperation in trade, energy, and minerals in accordance with the needs and potential of each country.
Minister Nguyen Hong Dien meets with Lao PM Sonexay Siphandone on coal, electricity trade
Minister Nguyen Hong Dien meets with Lao PM Sonexay Siphandone on coal, electricity trade: An overview of the meeting (Photo: VNA)

The Vietnamese official briefed the Lao Prime Minister on the outcomes of his visit to Laos, during which he held talks with leaders of the Lao Ministry of Energy and Mines and Ministry of Industry and Commerce on measures to promote cooperation in industry, energy, mining, trade, and investment between the two countries.

In his talks with the Lao Minister of Energy and Mines, the two sides agreed on measures to be proposed to high-ranking leaders of the two sides to remove difficulties and facilitate bilateral energy partnership, he said.

Highlighting that Vietnam’s demand for electricity is likely to double in 2030, Minister Dien said that the Vietnam Electricity (EVN) has signed 19 power purchase deals to buy electricity from 26 hydropower plants of Laos with a total capacity of 2,689 MW, equivalent to 89.6% of the total electricity trade capacity following commitments until 2025.

The Vietnamese Minister affirmed that early in the second quarter of this year, the price framework for power purchase from Laos after 2025 will be officially issued.

With the good progress of major power transmission projects, the two ministers agreed to proposed to the two PMs to enhance the increase electricity import capacity to Vietnam to 5,000MW by 2025, create favourable conditions for investors in source development and transmission system development, and approve post-2025 projects in a timely manner, he said.

Regarding mining, Minister Dien pointed to the urgent need to lower coal prices exported from Lao to Vietnam to at least the world price for higher competitiveness.

The Vietnamese Minister also reported to the Lao Prime Minister on a number of measures to speed up some power projects.

Over trade cooperation, Minister Dien noted that Vietnam - Laos trade turnover has reached only 1.65 billion USD, equal to 10% of Laos's total foreign trade and 0.2% of Vietnam's total, which is far below potential and special relationship between the two countries.

He said that in order to promote trade partnership, he and his Lao counterpart agreed on specific measures to implement commitments and agreements reached by leaders of the two sides, and review, adjust, and supplement the Hanoi Agreement 2007 and the Vietnam-Laos Border Trade Agreement to suit the new situation.

Minister Dien said that his ministry is willing to support Laos in ensuring petrol supply.

Lao Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone asked the three ministries to actively exchange information and share experience.

Regarding power trade, he stressed that Laos will drastically supervise power projects to ensure their process and the supply of electricity following signed agreements.

The Lao leader suggested Vietnam issue a power purchase price framework at an early date, with the price not lower than that before 2025 at 6.95 cents.

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(Source: WVR/VNA)