Doing Business in Lao PDR

Doing Business in Lao PDR


Remarks by Chris Manley on Opening of the Lao Chapter of the American Chamber of Commerce 

Sept. 19, 2012

Distinguished guests and friends,

Thank you all very much for attending the official launch of the Lao Chapter of the American Chamber of Commerce. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Ambassador Stewart for graciously hosting us for this launch and supporting us in our efforts to open the American Chamber in Laos.

I am honored to have this opportunity to be involved in the establishment, launching, and successful operation of AMCHAM as we endeavor to increase U.S. enterprise in Laos. I spent the first three years of my life in this country before moving to another country in the region where I graduated from high school. I then lived in the US for 15 years to further my education and to work before returning to Laos as the second generation of my family to do business in Laos. For me and my family, this night, therefore, has special significance.

Although we have only now formed an official AMCHAM chapter in Laos, members of the American business community in Laos have been collaborating and helping each other, as well as new US investors, for many years. I would like to recognize some of those U.S. individuals and the inspiration they provided to set up the Lao Chapter of AMCHAM today. These people include Frank Manley, Steve Feldschneider, Carol Cassidy and Bobby Allen.

The main objectives of the Lao Chapter of AMCHAM are to:

1.)  Represent existing American business interests in Laos

2.)  Promote and support new direct US investment in Laos

3.)  Provide opportunities for US businesses/organizations to network and do business with other companies in Laos and in the region

4.)  Work closely with other chambers, particularly the Lao National Chamber of Commerce, and also the Lao Government to further grow US investment in Laos

5.)  Liaise with the US Embassy to better understand US Government policy and initiatives in Laos.

6.)  And last, but not least, give back to the Lao community in which we live.

To achieve these goals we have a four member Leadership Team that will manage and lead AMCHAM in Laos. The Leadership Team includes:

  • Myself as Chairman
  • Hetal Petal of Emerging Markets Consulting as Vice Chairman
  • Mark Jerome from KPMG
  • Rick Reece from Village Focus International

We look forward to working with US and non-US Businesses and organizations, the US Embassy, the Lao Government and the other Chambers in Laos, to make the Lao Chapter of the American Chamber a successful, responsive organization. However, the success of the Lao Chapter will heavily depend on the involvement of the its members and we look forward to your enthusiastic participation and input into meetings and events.

Finally, I would like to recognize some people who have been instrumental in their support and efforts to help establish the Lao Chapter:

  • Matt Younger, Commercial and Economics Officer at the US Embassy
  • Judy Benn, Executive Director, AMCHAM Thailand

Thank you once again for coming tonight. On behalf of Ambassador Stewart I would like to invite everyone to stay and enjoy some drinks, food, cake and a champagne toast.

Again, thank you.

Kop Jai Lai Lai