THEY TALK ABOUT US
Laos / Export : un petit pays ouvert et adapté aux projets des PME françaises
Demain dans vos agendas (Gratuit) : Laos / Rendez-vous de Vientiane, Mali / Agriculture, Salon des entrepreneurs, Cameroun / Salon Promote, CCI Lyon Métropole / Bahreïn
LAOS : Les Rendez-vous de Vientiane, du 23 au 27 janvier 2017
Le Laos : un pays à fort potentiel
Le Viêt Nam, aujourd'hui
Presentation of the second edition of the Vientiane Rendez-Vous
The potential of Laos fosters business opportunities
between France and the ASEAN countries
Paris, December 8 th , 2016
At the press conference of the second edition of this forum, Nina Massis, Secretary General of the Vientiane Rendez-Vous and CEO of ARPE, said that “the purpose of Vientiane Rendez-Vous, organized with the support of the French and the Lao authorities, is to promote investment and trade with Laos and the ASEAN.
Laos, Chair of the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) in 2016, is at crossroads of this rapidly developing economic zone, one of the fastest growing regions in the world. Laos is a trading country and a gateway that provides commercial access to the ASEAN Economic Community with more than 600 million inhabitants and a GDP of 3 trillion USD by 2020.”
Alexandre Adler, Historian, Journalist, Expert of Geopolitics, recalled the history of Laos to explain its dynamism and potentialities:
"Laos is a buffer zone torn by history and whose destiny was different from the other countries of the Thai group. As a country at the crossroads of civilizations and the political and economic dynamics of its region, Lao leaders are obsessed with preserving its cultural and national framework. Laos, a Mekong country, has access to China and Myanmar in the north, to Vietnam in the east and to Thailand and Cambodia in the west. The country has been able to develop exchanges with its neighbors, without ever stirring up controversy with China. In the new global game, Laos can do well and strengthen its role as a buffer state and a hub of the region."
His Excellency Yong Chanthalangsy, Ambassador of Laos to France, spoke on the Lao government's ambitions and the country's position in terms of foreign policy:
"Laos is a landlocked country that turns this disadvantage into an advantage. We are surrounded by five dynamic countries: China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Myanmar, and therefore we have had to open North-South and East-West air, road, river and rail corridors. Laos has enjoyed around 8% per year solid growth over the last decade and we hope that the very large launched projects will attract more foreign investment.
Tourism is the priority of the Lao government. Our ambition is to reach 9 million tourists in 2025 (against 4.6 million in 2015) with an increase in the number of overnight stays per person. The proximity of China is an asset in this regard! The second strategic sector is hydroelectricity production. The country wants to build around 40 dams in the coming years to reach a total of 75 dams. The Nam Theun 2 project, built in partnership with the French company EDF, is for us the opportunity to achieve an exemplary hydraulic construction work for the country.
At the political level, Laos is a buffer state and we have therefore maintained dialogue with each other and advocated an equidistant foreign policy. We have had the honor of chairing the ASEAN twice, once in 2004 and now this year."
The Vientiane Rendez-Vous will focus on business meetings by holding for 4 days a professional trade fair, offer custom-made B2B meetings and visits of local-based companies. For Senator Vincent Eblé, Chairman of the France-Cambodia and Laos Inter-parliamentary Group, the recurrence of the Vientiane Rendez-Vous, first held in 2013, demonstrates the usefulness of the approach:
"France is already the first European investor and the 6th foreign investor in Laos. The country thus offers convergent opportunities for French companies in five major sectors: hydropower, renewable energies, tourism, health and urban development. The main difficulty is financing. But big banks have identified this issue and are working to find new financing vehicles and promote bilateral economic interests."
Steve Gentili, Chairman of the Francophone Business Forum and Jean-Paul Vermès, HEC Chairman and outgoing Chairman of the Paris Ile-de- France Chamber of Commerce, two partner institutions of the Vientiane Rendez-Vous, insisted on the French companies’ aspirations to develop
"The aim of the Francophone Business Forum is to develop the role of Francophonie in businesses around the world. Our ambition is to unite all economic players so that the language of business is not only subject to Anglo-Saxon concepts. We have thus brought together international business communities. The Francophone Business Forum, for example, has enjoyed the opportunity to organize the exchanges dedicated to economy at the foreign ministers meeting held in Laos.
Vientiane is a gateway to the ASEAN countries. At the economic forum and business meetings, we will defend our concepts and beliefs. French can be a working language and a training language for locally established companies," explains Steve Gentili.
"We found it essential that the "French-style" education is present in this region and that is why HEC has set up a school in Vietnam with the aim of promoting exchanges between France and the ASEAN and disseminate the quality of business that distinguishes us. The Paris Ile-de- France Chamber of Commerce is responsible for developing trade and through this second edition of Vientiane Rendez- Vous, to promote the Ile-de- France economy in the area", added Jean-Paul Vermès.
Olivier Klein, Managing Director of the BRED Group, one of the Vientiane Rendez-Vous partners and a Professor at HEC, recalled that the banking group has been present in Vientiane since 2010 and that this implantation reflects the BRED Group's international strategy:
"BRED is developing its international strategy towards countries with high potential. As it does in the French mainland and in the French overseas departments, the bank sets up businesses, opens branches, collects savings and grants loans locally to individuals, professionals and companies. Savings are then mobilized to benefit the growth of the country. In South-East Asia, BRED, in partnership with the Lao public bank, launched Banque Franco-Lao, which has become a local network bank and has since opened 22 branches. We are opening a bank in Cambodia today and are present in Myanmar through a representative office. In the countries where it operates, BRED is the only French and European bank. When we set up a business, we have the support of France, of Europe and of each country that welcomes us. A gain for the country which benefits from a bank with international standards whose reliability and confidence can mobilize new savings and attract European investors and trading partners. "
With a desire to tackle the needs of companies and decision-makers, the Vientiane Rendez-Vous promote a region whose vitality is an integral part of the economic future of France and Europe. Guillaume Perdon, Regional Director for South-East Asia, BRED Group gives us a testimony to his experience in the country:
"Setting up business in Laos in partnership with a local player enabled us to understand the market and secure our investment. That gave us time to learn more about the country. I would advise every company that wants to export in Southeast Asia for instance, to partner up with a local player! In Laos, BRED is an example of a successful French company. The Lao market is a very attractive market for French SMEs wishing to expand in Asia. The advantage of Laos is its modest size, which is less scary than a Chinese market or a Thai market and allows to set up for a lower cost. There are still relatively few French investors in the country and not a very strong competition, even as Laos allows access to the ASEAN markets."
The Vientiane Rendez-Vous are supported by the Lao authorities and the City of Vientiane and the list of companies and institutions becoming partners keeps growing (the European Union, OIF, Francophone Business Forum, Chambers of Commerce, the City of Paris, EDF, Essilor, BRED…).
The event will be held from January 23 to 27, 2017
The 2017 edition of these Rendez-vous will, through a series of round tables, conferences and seminars, focus on:
- The role of the ASEAN in global economy
- Business transforming trends in the Mekong Region
- The Lao economy
- Business financing in Laos
- Regulatory and legal environment for foreign investments in Laos
- The Economic Francophonie, an opportunity for Laos and other francophone countries
In addition, the Vientiane Rendez-Vous will include a seminar on cultural heritage and a sustainable tourism industry in an emerging destination in cooperation with the Pacific Asia Travel Association, as well as a conference on "Climate change and sustainable development, the example of Laos".
About the VIENTIANE RENDEZ-VOUS:
"Vientiane Rendez-Vous" is an economic event organized thanks to Franco-Lao cooperation between the public and private sectors to promote investment in Laos and demonstrate its relevance to European, local and regional businesses. It is meant for the entire business community and institutional decision-makers to highlight the potential of the ASEAN countries in general and of Laos in particular. The Vientiane Rendez-Vous intends to evolve over time. This international economic forum will work, in particular, towards strengthening Europe-ASEAN relations, as the key to future growth.
The Vientiane Rendez-Vous (42 kb)