About Us 

In November 2012, following a 60-year absence from Lao PDR, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland established a British Embassy in the capital, Vientiane, under Ambassador Philip Malone. High on his agenda was the intention to prioritise trade between the two countries. Three months later, Lao PDR joined the World Trade Organisation and this presented many trade opportunities in several sectors such as education, infrastructure, architecture and engineering design, garment manufacturing, mining and foreign investment.

The British Embassy re-opened on 02 April 2013 and a day later Ambassador Philip Malone opened discussions with British businesses and businessmen in Lao PDR about forming a British Business Group, and formalising the informal organisation that already existed.

In 2012, the UK was reported to have exported GBP 3.3 million value of goods to Lao PDR with GBP 38.6 million value exported from Lao PDR to the UK. Companies represented in Lao PDR and brands imported to Laos at that time were Land Rover, JCB, PriceWaterhouseCooper, KPMG, Rio Tinto and Standard Chartered Bank.

At that time Ambassador Malone recognised that hundreds of British nationals were working in various capacities in and around Lao PDR and operating in Small and Medium-sized Business Enterprises (SME). He expressed his hope that the British Business Group Lao PDR would grow and be a place where UK-based businesses and British citizens working in Lao PDR could collaborate and provide networking opportunities.

By 2015, after Ambassaor Malone had been replaced by Ambassador Hugh Evans, the UK Embassy was able to place stronger emphasis on forming an official British Business Group in Lao PDR. With the UK then part of the European Union, the Lao PDR Government considered that the informal association be permitted to exist as a non-profit organisation, though its objective was eventually to be the de facto British Chamber of Commerce in Lao PDR. Lord David Putnam, then the visiting UK Trade Envoy to Lao PDR, inaugurated the BBGL, as the informal association was to become known, in November 2015.

Following discussions with the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LNCCI) and its President, Oudet Souvannavong, a decision was taken to formally register and license the British Business Group in Lao PDR. This was achieved on 05 February 2018 when BBGL received its official license to exist, valid for 5 years, to operate as a non-profit organisation.

In April 2020, the UK was reported to have a total trade in goods and services (exports plus imports) between the UK and Laos was £27 million in the four quarters to the end of Q3 2020, a change of less than £1 million from the four quarters to the end of Q3 2019. Of this £27 million, total UK exports to Laos amounted to £12 million in the four quarters to the end of Q3 2020 (a decrease of 7.7% or £1 million compared to the four quarters to the end of Q3 2019) and a total UK imports from Laos amounted to £15 million in the four quarters to the end of Q3 2020 (an increase of 7.1% or £1 million compared to the four quarters to the end of Q3 2019). Laos was the UK’s 171st largest trading partner in the four quarters to the end of Q3 2020 accounting for less than 0.1% of total UK trade

Objective and Activities of the British Business Group in Lao PDR 

The Mission Statement included in the Articles of Association states that the core objectives of the Group are:

  • to create a platform for social and business networking for those interested in promoting Lao-UK business opportunities;
  • to assist and guide prospective investors to Lao PDR from the United Kingdom;
  • to support the British Embassy in Vientiane with technical business proficiency;
  • to promote British businesses and investors in Lao PDR.

The core objectives of the Group are to be achieved by:

  • providing social and networking opportunities for Members;
  • bringing together a wide variety of business interests and government counterparts,
  • delivering quality services to its members;
  • representing the interests of members’ local forums, and
  • playing a leading role in uniting the local expatriate community.
At conception, activities were then to include, but not be limited to:
  • working with ECCIL especially concerning the increase of its membership;
  • assisting ECCIL with all business investment opportunities pertaining to British Investors;
  • working closely with LNCCI as a gateway to assisting LNCCI with all aspects of business development and investment inquiries from or to the UK;
  • networking and fundraising events, to help the poor undeveloped people of Lao PDR;
  • assistance with seminars, workshops, meetings etc., as and where possible;
  • production of a ‘British Business Guide’ listing all members and their respective companies with a small listing to be free, whilst larger advertisements will be charged accordingly for this non-profit making booklet;
  • offering support and assistance to all British business groups established throughout the region and the world regarding investment in Lao PDR with complex or technical issues being handed over to the ECCIL once a memorandum of understanding or cooperation has been signed between the BBGL and ECCIL.

Since the UK left the EU at the end of January 2020, the Mission Statement of the BBGL, is now better defined in the Articles of Association, as the representation and support of the commercial interests of its British, Lao and international members by acting as a platform to create business opportunities within the working community. The BBGL encourages trade and investment between Lao PDR and the United Kingdom, regularly sharing relevant content from both countries.

The British Business Group in Lao PDR holds monthly Networking Events in Vientiane, in Luang Prabang and occasionally in other major cities in Lao PDR. It participates in local and British business related fairs, festivals and other events, in webinars and panel discussions and other forums about doing business in Lao PDR. The BBGL collaborates with other chambers of commerce in Laos to promote business events, such as the annual Top Management Meeting. It provides advice to British businesses wishing to set up in Lao PDR or to Lao businesses trading with the UK.

BBGL works with BiSEA or Britain in South East Asia, a grouping of British Chambers and Business Groups in the S E Asia region including Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. The aim of BiSEA is to facilitate the interests of the members of the British Chambers and Business Groups in the region. BiSEA is working in close partnership with UKABC and UK chambers of commerce, trade associations and DIT teams.

The BBGL operates in Lao PDR with a keen sense of corporate social responsibility and is currently engaged in supporting efforts to improve sustainability and reduce climate change, in developing young people through free tuition in English to help them to a better future through the Lone Buffalo organisation, the advocacy for the rights, recognition and equal opportunity of disabled women through the Lao Disabled Women’s Development Centre, and to preserve and protect both captive elephants and those which remain in the wild through the Mandalao Elephant Conservation.

 

Executive BoardThe Executive Board comprises four directors, one of whom is elected chairperson. The Executive Board currently comprises:

 
 
 

Advisory Board The Advisory Board currently comprises of:

 

 

Peter Livermore

Chair of Member Services Subcommittee

 

Souphchanh (May) Khansyla

 

 

Siraprapa Sae-Ieo

 
 

The Executive Secretary

 

 

Seng Xayphrakassa