Future Cooperation Directions Discussed by Nine Vietnamese, Lao, and Thai Localities

Representatives from three Vietnamese provinces, along with delegates from four Thai provinces (Bueng Kan, Sakon Nakhon, Nakhon Phanom, and Nong Khai), and two Lao provinces (Bolikhamxay and Khammouane), gathered for a conference to explore opportunities for enhancing cooperation among the nine provinces.

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The 23rd conference of the nine provinces of Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand that share the use of Road 8 and Road 12 was held from February 27 to February 29 in the northeastern Thai province of Sakon Nakhon to review cooperation in 2023 and outline orientations for future collaboration, as reported by VOV.

The event was attended by representatives from the central provinces of Ha Tinh, Nghe An, Quang Binh of Vietnam; Bueng Kan, Sakon Nakhon, Nakhon Phanom, and Nong Khai provinces of Thailand; and Bolikhamxay and Khammouane province of Laos. Representatives of dozens of businesses from the three countries also participated in the event.

At the event. Photo: NDO

In his speech, Chu Duc Dung, consul general of Vietnam in Khon Kaen, stated that the agency is actively strengthening ties with provinces in northeastern Thailand, especially those with overseas Vietnamese communities and bordering Laos. The focus is on trade, investment, tourism, culture, education, and healthcare in provinces along Road 8, Road 9, and Road 12, as well as promoting development in the nine provinces.

The participants agreed to further enhance cooperation in education, healthcare, culture, sports, tourism, science, and technology. This includes expanding partnerships in the training of human resources, supporting migrant workers to move freely in accordance with ASEAN agreements and each country’s legal regulations, and strengthening information exchange on the prevention of Covid-19, monkeypox, and other contagious diseases.

Regarding transportation, they urgently requested the governments of the three countries to complete documents for constructing the Ha Tinh – Thakhek – Nakhon Phanom – Bangkok transport route. They also agreed to coordinate the opening of a passenger transportation route connecting Quang Binh, Khammouane, Nakhon Phanom, and Sakon Nakhon. They also emphasized the need to facilitate logistics businesses in the nine provinces to establish partnerships in transporting goods via Routes 8 and 12 to the Vung Ang Industrial Zone of Ha Tinh province, Hon La of Quang Binh province, Cua Lo of Nghe An province, and for delivery to third countries.

Chu Duc Dung, consul general of Vietnam in Khon Kaen, Thailand. Photo: NDO

They also highlighted the importance of expediting the construction project of the Vientiane – Hanoi expressway via the Thanh Thuy (Nghe An) – Nam On (Bolikhamxay) intersection to facilitate trade, travel, and socio-economic development in Laos and Vietnam.

In terms of agriculture ties, the localities agreed to enhance the sharing of information and experience in training and technology transfer in agriculture. They also pledged to cooperate in combating the trafficking of wild animals along the border areas.

The 24th edition of this conference will be held in Quang Binh in February and March 2025. The 23rd preparatory conference for the event will take place in Laos’s Khammouane province in September and October of this year.

Representatives of 9 provinces of Vietnam, Thailand, and Laos signed the Memorandum of Understanding. Photo: NDO

In the late afternoon of the same day, the Consulate General of Vietnam in Khon Kaen, in collaboration with the Sakon Nakhon provincial government, organized a dialogue between the governments and businesses of Vietnam and Thailand.

Many issues related to administrative procedures, policies to facilitate e-commerce, investment, and tourism were discussed. Special attention was given to the priorities of connecting the Northeastern provinces of Thailand with other countries.

In 2023, Vietnam was Thailand’s second-largest trading partner in ASEAN and the 6th largest in the world. By 2023, the trade between the two countries will reach nearly USD 19 billion. Thailand’s exports to Vietnam account for USD 11.8 billion, while imports from Vietnam are USD 7.19 billion.

More than 200 Thai companies have invested and conducted business in Vietnam in various fields, including renewable energy, retail, petrochemicals, industrial parks, banking, and agriculture. Currently, the two countries have more than 50 agreements and cooperation agreements in many fields, as well as 20 pairs of twinned provinces/cities. The latest addition is the twinning between Quang Tri province and Ubon Ratchathani on January 18, 2024.

Hannah Nguyen