US-Asean Business Council advises ways to attract foreign investment

Washington D.C/VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN)  - A senior official from the US-Asean Business Council of the United States has advised Lao companies to partner with other Asean companies in order to attract more global investors.

The council’s Senior Vice President of Policy Affairs, Mr Marc Mealy, said last week that every country has its own potential product to attract foreign investment. But countries with small economies need to band together to promote investment in their country.

“Asean is a good example of attracting global investors, including the United States, to engage in business. This means Laos can use its advantage as an Asean member to promote Lao-made products. This also benefits all 10 countries,” he said. 

The second option is for Laos to partner with Cambodia, Vietnam or another country in the region to enhance the chances of attracting foreign investment.

“Don’t forget that an individual country with a small economy will not encourage foreign investors to engage in business,” said Mr Mealy.

In the present climate, the tourism industry has strong potential for attracting multinational companies.

Mr Mealy added that the energy sector had considerable investment potential for Laos but it was essential for the government to actively promote it through the Asean grouping.

This also means that all Asean members can benefit from the United States’ investment, because Asean is the number one destination for US investment in the Indo-Pacific region.

Asean member states have increased their investment in the United States by over 250 percent, from US$7.3 billion to over US$27 billion. Singapore is the fastest growing investor in the United States from the Indo-Pacific.

To date, Asean has received almost US$329 billion in investment from the United States, more than the United States has directed to China, India, Japan and South Korea combined.

US direct investment in Asean has increased by an average annual rate of 10 percent in the past decade, and now accounts for over one third of US investment into the Indo-Pacific to date.

n         This article is written as part of a reporting tour under the Indo-Pacific project, which is supported by the Foreign Press Centre. 



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