Laos plans to open a new international border crossing with Vietnam in March to facilitate the flow of goods and people between the two countries.
According to the local daily Vientiane Times on Monday, Sekong province in southern Laos will open its first international border post with Vietnam on March 24.
Provincial governor Leklai Sivilay said the Laotian and Vietnamese governments agreed to give international status to the Dakta-ok-Nam Giang border post, located between Sekong province, some 530 km to the southeast. from the Laotian capital, Vientiane, and the province of Quang Nam.
“We have agreed with Vietnam on the date on which the status of this border post would be officially improved, which is scheduled for March 24,” said the governor.
The upgrade was originally scheduled for late 2020 but has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
All the provinces of Laos having a common border with Vietnam, with the exception of Sekong, have international crossing points to the neighboring country.
Mr Leklai said the modernization of the Sékong border post would reduce the distance between Thailand and Vietnam via southern Laos by more than 100 km.
Although the pandemic has reached the region, trade between Laos and Vietnam continues through the Dakta-ok-Nam Giang border post.
Laos mainly exports agricultural products to Vietnam while importing construction equipment needed for the development of hydropower and other mega-projects.
The modernization of the border post will create more accessible links with Vietnam and Thailand and allow more Vietnamese investors and visitors to enter Laos when the pandemic subsides.
The expected increase in trade and movement of goods should encourage local populations to cultivate more export products in order to improve their standard of living.
One of the main challenges for Laos now is to improve tourist sites and provide transit services in order to benefit more from regional connectivity, according to the report.