First Lao Business Delegation to the USA Forges New Bonds

Ambassador Clune and the LNCCI Delegation at Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Washington
Ambassador Clune and the LNCCI Delegation at Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Washington

U.S. Ambassador Daniel Clune and the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LNCCI) led the first official Lao business delegation to the United States from October 25-30.  The group visited the states of Washington and California to explore ways to deepen business relationships between the United States and the Lao PDR.

In Washington, the group visited the headquarters of major U.S. technology firms Amazon and Microsoft.  There, the delegation learned firsthand how these companies are creating new technologies that will enable businesses in Laos and around the world to operate more efficiently and find new business partners on a global scale. 

At Microsoft’s “Envisioning Center” in Redmond, Washington, delegates received an exclusive tour that demonstrated some of Microsoft’s newest product designs and the company’s vision for the future of technology for businesses and individuals.  At Amazon, the delegates learned how Amazon is building a platform that will allow individual buyers and sellers in Laos and around the world to access any consumer or supplier with an internet connection.

“U.S. information technology firms are developing solutions that are globally relevant, which can be of great use to Lao companies,” said Ambassador Daniel Clune.  “These U.S. companies are pioneering technologies that enable businesspeople around the world to connect with new markets and derive greater benefits from the global economy.”

During a VIP tour of Boeing’s construction facilities, the delegation learned about how flexible manufacturing and global sourcing have helped Boeing maintain a leading edge in the aircraft industry.  At the headquarters of Starbucks, the delegation discussed the quality of Lao coffee exports from the Bolaven Plateau and learned how the Starbucks company expanded from one small store to become a global leader, operating 21,000 shops in nearly 70 countries. “We hope that by bringing these companies together, they are able to share ideas and explore new, beneficial commercial relationships,” said Noah Geesaman, Economic Officer at the U.S. Embassy.

At a business seminar in Orange County, California the Lao delegation made connections with more than 100 U.S. companies eager to do more business in Asia.  The Lao delegation also delivered a presentation to potential U.S. business partners which described the government’s ongoing efforts to improve the business environment in Lao PDR. 

According to Oudet Souvannavong, Executive Vice President and head of the LNCCI delegation, “the trip was historic as LNCCI’s first official mission to the United States, and it helped us build deeper connections to the U.S. market.”

 “We believe that Lao and American businesses have a great deal to offer one another,” said Ambassador Clune at the conclusion of the trip.  “One of our highest priorities is to increase trade and investment between the U.S. and Laos, and the ties we’ve established over the last week will help trade and investment to flourish.”