Leading U.S. and Lao Companies Explore Business Opportunities
Vientiane Capital, – The Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LNCCI) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) hosted the “U.S.-Lao PDR Business Roundtable: Exploring Business Opportunities” event August 17 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Vientiane. The Roundtable, organized in conjunction with the official visit to Laos by a delegation from the Washington, D.C.-based U.S.-ASEAN Business Council (USABC), aimed at assisting Lao and American businesses to expand trade and investment that benefit both countries.
This Roundtable was chaired by U.S. Ambassador to Laos Dr. Peter M. Haymond and LNCCI President Mr. Oudet Souvannavong. The event provides a platform for leaders from major American corporations and more than 20 leading Lao companies to discuss and learn about potential business opportunities in their respective sectors in Laos as well as forge connections that could lead to enduring business partnerships.
At the event, Ambassador Haymond highlighted the efforts made by the Lao government and LNCCI to help improve Laos’ business environment. “This is a critical moment for the government and the private sector to work together to address barriers to investment, accelerate economic growth, and create employment opportunities for the modern economy,” said Ambassador Haymond. “Our goal is to assist the Lao PDR in helping its businesses thrive, recover from COVID-19, and create jobs in support of President Biden’s goal to help the world build back better after COVID.”
During his remarks, Mr. Oudet thanked the United States for continuous support to the Lao economy. He further highlighted the growth in trade between the two countries. “Lao PDR trade with the United States has grown in the last decade following the implementation of the Bilateral Trade Agreement in September 2003 and the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement in February 2016. During the first six months of 2022, trade between the United States and Lao PDR amounted to $172 million USD and investment for the USA amounted to $2.4 million USD. Trade and investment figures look moderate, but they are growing in acceptable paths,” said Mr. Oudet.
The US-ABC delegation is the first to visit Laos since 2018. The group included representatives from leading U.S. corporations including Coca-Cola, Visa, RMA Group, Elanco Animal Health, Pernod Ricard, and Bower Group Asia. During the meeting, both Lao and American companies discussed a range of topics including investment promotion and regulations, the Lao government’s priorities, digital economy, business opportunities, and payment systems.
This event is one of the key initiatives that the United States, through the USAID Laos Business Environment Project, supports in order to promote international trade and investment in the Lao PDR. The USAID Laos Business Environment Project aims to assist the Lao government in improving the climate for investment and trade and enhance the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises.