- Expedite Your U.S. Visa Interview Appointments. The U.S. Embassy Vientiane Laos' Business Executive Program (BEP) is open to AMCHAM Lao Chapter members. The program enables your business to expedite your U.S. Visa interview appointments. Click here to learn more.
- GSP Statement. Position paper on Extension of GSP Privileges to Myanmar and Laos. Click here to learn more.
The mission of the Lao AMCHAM Committee is to conduct activitives that facilitate the investment and growth of U.S. businesses in the Lao PDR, thus contributing to the overall development of local communities and the Lao PDR as a whole.
In 2015, founding Chair Chris Manley stepped down as Chair as he relocated to another country, and Mark Griffin, General Manager of Lao Coca-Cola Bottling Company Limited, was selected as the new Chair. Additionally, the Leadership Team expanded from four to eight members with three positions being filled by women, thus adding to a gender balance of the Leadership Team. There were also three new sub-committees formed which are focused on corporate social responsibility (CSR), policy, and events and membership. Also seen in 2015 was an increase in membership of 10 new corporate members and five new individual members. This brings total membership to 31 corporate and 14 individual members.
The support of AMCHAM Thailand is greatly appreciated. Executive Director, Judy Benn, visited Vientiane in November for consultations with the AMCHAM Lao Chapter’s Leadership Team. A Leadership Team member also met with U.S. Commercial Counselor Greg Wong in Bangkok which was followed up with a conference call between Mr. Wong and three Leadership Team members about potential U.S. exports to Laos and a summary of the Chapter’s organizational and community activities.
The Lao Chapter had monthly networking events throughout the year with members and new contacts. There has been considerable improvement in the quality of networking events since August as all networking events since then have been sponsored thanks to an increased pool of generous member companies. On average, each networking event since August has had about 50 attendees whereas the average turnout before was 25. There have been two joint networking receptions with the European Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Laos (ECCIL) and the Australian Chamber of Commerce (AUSTCHAM). The Lao Chapter also participated in two joint chamber CSR seminars. Other networking activities involved live viewings of the Super Bowl and College Bowl games throughout January and February.
In February, Lao Ford City, Lao Coca-Cola Bottling Company Limited and Lao-Asia Pacific Breweries/Heineken sponsored AMCHAM Lao Charity Golf Day. A total of 89 people played including the Ambassadors of Australia and Malaysia and staff of the U.S. Embassy. The U.S. Embassy’s Deputy Chief of Mission, Paul Mayer, was present and gave remarks. Over $5,000 was raised and donated to the AMCHAM Lao Scholarship Program. In October, the AMCHAM Fundraiser Picnic took place with sponsorship from five major companies (Lao Ford City, Lao Coca-Cola Bottling Company Limited, ANZ Bank Laos, Datacom and Lao-Asia Pacific Breweries). The event featured raffle prizes and fun activities and food from some of the best restaurants in Vientiane. The U.S. Ambassador attended and gave remarks. Several hundred people and families attended and more than $3,000 was raised for the 2016 scholarship fund.
Quarterly breakfast meetings with U.S. Ambassador Daniel Clune and Lao Chapter members were held throughout the year. Most took place at the Ambassador’s residence and one was held at the new U.S. Embassy in Vientiane and included a tour.
Additional events with the U.S. State Department included a lunch meeting with the U.S. State Department’s Deputy Assistant Secretary of Economic and Business Affairs, Kurt Tong, and Lao Chapter members in February plus an event with the departing U.S. Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission, Paul Mayer, and Lao Chapter members in June. The Chapter also coordinated a joint policy statement on the role of the private sector in the Lao economy to be part of the UNDP-Government of Laos Round Table Meetings on Laos’ five-year National Socio-Economic Development Plan. In addition, the Lao Chapter met with the Lao Ministry of Industry and Commerce (MOIC) to suggest key areas of development when Laos chairs ASEAN in 2016.
Other events of professional value included a presentation from the USA Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) for American investors interested in Laos, a presentation from Birches Group on ASEAN Labor Market Trends and an update from KPMG on U.S. tax and financial reporting regulations.
Through the CSR sub-committee, the Chapter’s first initiatives to give back to the Lao community began this year. At the start of the year, some members utilized funds from the 2014 AMCHAM Picnic to make a donation of blankets to students at Vientiane School for the Deaf and Blind. Then, in the springtime, the CSR sub-committee piloted the Lao Chapter’s new scholarship program. The program is currently supporting 12 Lao higher education students who are studying in Vientiane and have demonstrated potential to be future economic and business leaders in Laos. Ten of the 12 students come from provinces outside of Vientiane. Funds for the scholarships were raised from the aforementioned AMCHAM Lao Charity Golf Day and the 2014 AMCHAM Picnic.
For upcoming events and other infomation regarding the Lao Chapter please visit www.amchamlao.com
• U.S. Embassy
• Ministry of Foreign Affairs
• Bank of Lao PDR
• Lao PDR Trade Portal
• National Assembly of Lao PDR (Lao laws)
• Lao PDR Investment Overwiew
• Draft Law on Labor Protections
• Business Perceptions Survey - Trade Liberalization in Laos
MEMBERS SINCE FOUNDING
• ANZ Bank (Lao) Limited
• Luang Prabang Film Festival
• LS Horizon
• VimpelCom Lao Co., Ltd.
• Dr. Jeff Galle
• Anthony Zola
Chair: Mark Griffin, Lao Coca-Cola Bottling Company
Lao Chapter Coordinator: Khun Kittie