On the morning of Thursday, 23 November 2023, at the request of the British Embassy, the British Business Group in Lao PDR (BBGL) convened a group of its Board members and representatives of its business Partners and Company Members to a one-hour briefing by the UK’s British Trade and Economic Counsellor to ASEAN, Alexandra Smith, and her colleague Indira Agustin, who are based out of Jakarta.  The British Embassy’s Head of Sustainable Investment, Raymond Lew, hosted the gathering.  BBGL was represented by its Chairman, John Cockcroft, and Executive Secretary, Sengthavisay Xayphrakassa.

After introductions, the Counsellor gave a presentation that explained the recent history of ASEAN and the development of the United Kingdom as the 11th Dialogue Partner of ASEAN and which described the opportunities for British business with Laos and objectives of the British Government to develop trade with ASEAN in the forthcoming year of 2024 when Laos will hold the Presidency of ASEAN (a calendar of events is available here). 

The objectives of the meeting were:

  • to explain what is ASEAN and why is it important for the UK;
  • to discuss UK Government priorities during Laos’ ASEAN Chairmanship in 2024;
  • to brief British business on expectations of British businesses engagement during Laos’ ASEAN Chairmanship, including the UK ASEAN Business Forum, UK-ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM) Consultation, ASEAN Business and Investment Summit (ABIS) and ASEAN Indo-Pacific Forum on Connectivity (AIPF);
  • to explore and gauge interest in how to engage during ASEAN;
  • to explain the role of the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN BAC), as well as the UK-ASEAN Business Council (UKABC) next year;
  • to exchange views about the business environment.

BBGL thanks the representatives of BIPO, Crowne Plaza Hotel (IHG Group), Jaguar Land Rover (RMA Group), J&C Group, Prudential, Unilever  and Vientiane College for attending and for their insights on doing business in Laos, as imparted to our guests from His Majesty’s Government..  

Should those business Partners and Company members of BBGL who could not attend and who wish to know more about the presentation that took place, please contact Seng on execsecretary@bbglao.org.