Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Friends,

In 2016 Laos chaired the ASEAN which, with 630 million inhabitants - world's 3rd most populated area - and with a cumulated GDP of 2.500 billion dollars - world's 7th economy - continues asserting its position as one of the most dynamic areas in the world.

The historical partners Laos and France have entertained rich and diversified relations for ages. Over 2000 of our fellow citizens live in Laos, being thereby the first Western community of the country. For several years now, large French enterprises such as EDF, BRED, Essilor, Bureau Véritas, Airbus, Thalès… have chosen Laos and so have many SMEs, bringing to the attention of Lao people the « French Brand » expertise, in particular in the tourism and catering industries.

All this richness shall be honored at the second edition of the French-Lao week the « Vientiane Rendez-Vous » – a result of a close cooperation between the authorities of Lao PDR, the City of Vientiane and the French Embassy. This event will be organized around an Economic Forum with plenary sessions, round tables and workshops which will highlight the economic opportunities offered by the country ; and around a Conference on Sustainable Development which will reconsider the contribution of France and the commitments of Laos made at the COP21, the “Paris-Climate” conference during which the Paris Agreement on climate change was signed in April 2016.

Over 55.000 French citizens visited Laos in 2016 making France the European country with the greatest number of visitors there. In 2017, I'm sure there will be even more visitors, among which,French policy makers, economists and celebrities who have already expressed their interest in the event.

So why don't you act like them? Save the date and contact our fellow citizens organizing the event.

I am looking forward to seeing you at the Second Edition of the "Vientiane Rendez-Vous" the last week of January 2017,

Claudine Ledoux
French Ambassador to Laos