Diana No Comments

The ASEAN EU Business Mission on 9th March 2017 and the 05th ASEAN EU Business Summit on 10th March 2017 served as excellent platforms to present the Lao People’s Democratic Republic as an emerging business and investment destination within ASEAN. These events continued the success of the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit (ABIS) in 2016, which was held in Vientiane (Lao PDR) following the handover of the ASEAN Chairmanship.

The Lao delegation, composed of 11 high-ranking business leaders, was spearheaded by Dr Xaybandith Rasphon, Board Member of the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LNCCI) and consisted of representatives from five emerging Lao business sectors covering special economic zones, hydropower and energy, tourism, agro industry (coffee), and handicrafts, including the Lao fashion industry. The European Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Lao PDR (ECCIL) and the Regional Economic Integration of Laos into ASEAN, Trade and Entrepreneurship Development (RELATED) Project of the Lao German Cooperation facilitated and supported the participation.

The representatives of LNCCI and ECCIL introduced 10 important facts about doing business in Laos in an interactive format alongside the 5 industry sectors. The presentation also identified 5 core reasons to invest in Laos. The ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) is seeking, amongst other objectives, the free flow of goods, services and investments in Southeast Asia. In 2015 trade with ASEAN Member States accounted for roughly two thirds of Laos’ total foreign trade. With the advent of the AEC, Lao enterprises are able to take a greater participation in regional value chains. Thanks to its specific competitive advantages (including low wage costs for less qualified labour, low energy costs, political stability and a strategic location in the heart of the Mekong region) the production of basic components for more complex manufactured goods can be relocated to Laos. Easier cross-border exchange will enable Laos to trade more in some perishable goods. Due to its agrarian potential, Laos will benefit from such provisions. The AEC will make the ASEAN region as a whole more attractive for investors from key markets such as the European Union. Thanks to its special competitive advantages within the ASEAN, Laos’ presentations in Manila were designed to attract a part of these additional investments.

At the summit on 10th March, the Lao delegation highlighted these five key business sectors in a booth which presented Laos as an emerging business and investment destination in ASEAN. The booth also increased the visibility of other potential business sectors in Laos towards regional value chains and gained the attention of EU business leaders as a viable investment destination in the region. Such linkages to regional and global value chains will enable Laos to address global mega trends and foster investment within the region.

For more information on the visit please contact Ms. Khankeo Moonvong [email protected] or Dr. Ramon Bruesseler [email protected] representing the European Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Lao PDR.