Vientiane Times | 11 February 2017
Lao farm products to enjoy tariff exemptions
Unprocessed Lao farm products raised and grown by farmers and Vietnamese investors in the 10 Lao provinces that share a border with Vietnam will enjoy tariff and value-added tax exemptions when exported to Vietnam.
The Lao Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry recently issued an announcement detailing the new policy under the Border Trade Agreement, which the Lao and Vietnamese governments have signed in a move to increase the volume of border trade.
The farm products comprise crops and livestock as well as home-grown products.
Any farm product raised, grown or produced by farmers in Lao bordering districts or by Vietnamese businesses in neighbouring Lao provinces will also enjoy tariff exemptions when exported to Vietnam.
Lao farmers and Vietnamese agribusinesses producing agricultural goods for neighbouring Lao provinces will also enjoy an unlimited export quota provided by Vietnam.
In addition, farm products raised and grown by farmers in districts that share a border with Vietnam and have passed sanitary, phytosanitary and safety checks by Lao authorities do not have to undergo further checks by Vietnamese authorities. However, this exemption will be waived in cases where the relevant Lao or Vietnamese authority warns of the need to carry out checks to prevent potential impacts on humans, animals or the environment.
After the products have been given sanitary and phytosanitary certification by the Lao authorities, exporters of farm products raised and grown in neighbouring Lao districts do not need an export permit for their goods to enter Vietnam.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Dr Bounkhouang Khambounheuang told Vientiane Times this week that about 40 percent of Lao farm products enjoy tariff exemptions extended by the government of Vietnam.
He added that farmers in neighbouring provinces and Vietnamese agribusinesses operating in Laos will benefit most from the tax exemption policy as prioritised under the Border Trade Agreement.
The governments of Laos and Vietnam have jointly boosted their shared trade and investment through several incentives.
In 2015, the governments signed an agreement to eliminate tariffs on more than 95 percent of goods from the two countries. The 2015 trade agreement replaced the 1998 trade agreement.
It was reported that such incentives have boosted trade and investment cooperation between the two sides.
Vietnamese businesses have registered US$5.1 billion of investment in Laos, ranking third among foreign investors in the country. Two-way trade between the two countries in 2016 hit US$801 million, according to the Vietnam News.