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The Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LNCCI) and the Ministry of Industry and Commerce have jointly organised the 11th Lao Business Forum on 5th July 2018 at the Don Chan Palace Hotel. The Lao Business Forum was co-chaired by H.E. Khemmani Pholsena, Minister of Industry and Commerce, and Mr. Oudet Souvannavong, the President of LNCCI. This year approximately 400 representatives from embassies, the government and the private sector as well as from bilateral and multilateral organisations joined the conference.

H.E. Thongloun Sisoulith, the Prime Minister of the Lao PDR, also attended the conference and addressed the issues that were raised during the forum. 

After an opening remark by  H.E. Khemmani Pholsena, Minister of Industry and Commerce, a series of presentations by representatives of private sector working groups on business issues along with proposed solutions were given. The issues discussed were related to tax, logistics and import procedures and tourism. 

ECCIL and the other foreign chambers participated in the event and gave their particular inputs. This time ECCIL, represented by Dr. Dan Fitzpatrick, addressed the topic of improving Lao PDR’s position in the Ease of Doing Business Index. Data and information about this topic is outlined in ECCIL’s White Paper, which was also distributed to participants of the Lao Business Forum. You can find the online version of the paper via this link: https://eccil.org/category/publications/white-paper-2018/.

The responses from the ministerial representatives reflected a varying degree of openness for the proposals made by the private sector but also a general willingness to discuss open issues.

The Prime Minister advised of a need of a stronger collaboration between the private sector and the public sector, where the private sectors are encouraged to propose issues and solutions to the government in written form so that the government will be able to identify and solve the issues with timeliness. It was also confirmed by the PM that the government will continue to promote investment through the single window policy to increase the effectiveness of investments and related business operations in Laos.

The Lao Business Forum was followed by a Dissemination Meeting on the Assessment of Provincial and Vientiane Capital on Facilitation for Investment and Trade (ProFIT). In the meeting, statistics of Lao PDR”s performance in business and trade were presented alongside the performance of each province.