VIENTIANE, LAO PDR — The Embassy of the United States of America in Vientiane brought together on October 29 senior representatives from government, industry, and the non-profit sector for a major event linked to the 2020 Indo-Pacific Business Forum, which is being held in Hanoi, Vietnam. The Vientiane event, which included virtual viewing of keynote Business Forum addresses about the Indo-Pacific region and in-person panel discussions focused on the Lao PDR, was chaired by U.S. Ambassador to Laos Dr. Peter M. Haymond. Participants analyzed trade and foreign investment opportunities post-COVID-19 in the Lao PDR for U.S. and international businesses.
“The United States prioritizes high-quality U.S. direct investment and economic engagement throughout the Indo-Pacific region,” said Ambassador Haymond. “We will continue to partner with the Lao government and private sector to further enhance the business environment and promote transparent public-private dialogue, thereby creating more opportunities for foreign investors, including American companies, to contribute to socio-economic development in Laos.”
No country has invested more in the Indo-Pacific than the United States. In 2019, the cumulative value of U.S. direct investment in the region reached $955 billion – more than doubling since 2007. Notably, ASEAN is the top destination for that direct investment, with over $338 billion cumulative direct investment as of last year.
During a virtual panel discussion with four other U.S. ambassadors in the Mekong sub-region, Ambassador Haymond emphasized that Laos’ central location and youthful population make it strategically placed to access markets across the region. These are all advantages that Laos can leverage as it seeks to attract diverse, high-quality foreign investment. Panelists also highlighted opportunities for the Lao PDR to grow exports to the United States, which have already increased by 240% since 2009
The United States and its regional partners are united by the principle that free, fair, and reciprocal trade, open investment environments, innovation-enabling policies, and transparent governance are shared values that can only be successfully upheld through enduring and meaningful partnerships. Ensuring innovative, resilient, and sustainable development throughout the region will be critical for continued global economic prosperity in the 21st century. As part of the U.S. commitment to expanding opportunity and prosperity in Lao PDR, the United States also funds programs to improve health and education and supports the Lao government and people in promoting transparent economic governance and the rule of law.