Laos improves business environment to attract int'l firms

September 30, 2020

The Lao government is on track in improving the country's business environment in order to attract international firms searching for new operational bases, the local daily Vientiane Times reported on Tuesday.

International companies were looking for new business bases with low operating costs such as cheap labor, thus the improvement to the business climate would help attract more firms, Vice President of the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Daovone Phachanthavong, was quoted as saying.

In addition, multinational firms are looking to expand into countries that have access to large international markets, he said, adding that Laos was one of such countries.

"Amid the changing global situation, we must continue to improve our business climate so we can attract foreign firms to do business in Laos," the official said, noting that the Lao government was on the right track to achieving this.

The challenge was for the government to be persistent, determined, and ensuring the effective implementation of the business climate improvement policy, he added.

According to local and international observers, Laos is geographically well placed to attract international investment to establish new business bases since the Southeast Asian country shares borders with emerging economies.

"Another attraction is the China-Laos railway, which, when operational, will greatly facilitate the operation of foreign and domestic firms in Laos, making it easier for them to trade and do business with Chinese partners," the newspaper reported.

Authorities must ensure a ready supply of skilled workers in attracting investment, which the government has been seeking to achieve through its policy to strengthen vocational education, Phachanthavong was also cited as saying.

The Lao official also pointed out that several ASEAN countries are competing with each other to attract international firms. A lot of work has yet to be done for Laos, where the government is making efforts in implementing an opening-up policy and reducing poverty.