U.S. and Lao Officials Conduct Trade and Investment Talks

VIENTIANE, Lao PDR – Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Southeast Asia and the Pacific Mr. Karl Ehlers led a high level delegation to meet with H.E. Somchit Inthamith, Vice Minister of Industry and Commerce, and other Lao government officials on deepening economic, trade, and investment ties on January 31 in Vientiane. This meeting was the latest round of talks after the two countries signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement in 2016.  Discussions focused on opportunities to increase cooperation between the two countries, including topics such as electronic payments, automotive standards, digital trade, and intellectual property.

Laos is an important partner in our trade and investment relations within ASEAN, and the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement provides a mechanism for expanding and strengthening this relationship.  High level talks like these serve as a forum for the United States and Laos to engage on bilateral trade and investment issues, and it facilitates coordination on regional issues, including issues related to ASEAN and the World Trade Organization.

In the days prior to his arrival in Laos, Assistant Trade Representative Ehlers led the
U.S. delegation to visit other ASEAN trading partners including Vietnam and Cambodia.  Trade and Investment Framework Agreements with Laos and other trading partners in ASEAN is an important U.S. priority of the Indo-Pacific Strategy, in which the United States is working to strengthen fair and reciprocal trading relations among partners throughout the region, including in the Lao PDR.