ASEAN: Asean trends, opportunities heard in Lao forum
MORE THAN 100 entrepreneurs from Laos and European and regional countries met this week to debate trends and opportunities in the Asean market at the “Vientiane Economic Forum”.
The forum was co-chaired by Laotian Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce Somchith Inthamith, the vice president of the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Thanongsinh Khanlagna, and the president of the European Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Lao PDR (ECCIL), Guy Apovy.
The Vientiane Economic Forum is an essential business-focused event integrated into the “Rendezvous de Vientiane” event, which has a successful history as a major happening in the Laotian capital.
The conference on “Business Transforming Trends in the AEC” is the first of a planned series that has labelled as the “Vientiane Economic Forum”.
The idea is to have a regular significant event in Vientiane that does not have its focus on Laos but takes a wider perspective, said executive director of the ECCIL, Dr Ramon Bruesseler.
Laos is increasingly integrated in the regional and world economies, so for the development of its businesses it is important to be aware of what is going on beyond its borders.
These will be the trends and developments that have to be reckoned with if a company wants to be successful in the future and not only outperform foreign competitors in the domestic market but also be successful in foreign markets, too, he said.
World trade has not fully recovered from the financial and economic crisis; China is changing its business model and in the rich countries parts of the population seem to be disenchanted by globalisation.
The United Kingdom has decided to leave the European Union, possibly in form of a “hard Brexit”, and the new Donald Trump administration in the United States is determined to “put America first”.
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) are most likely off the agenda, and the World Trade Organisation’s Doha Development Round has more or less stalled.
Chinese influence felt
Particularly in continental Southeast Asia we see an increasing Chinese influence, be it in the form of investment or through planned and ongoing infrastructure projects.
On the global level, digitisation is becoming ever more important, and new ways of doing business via “platforms” or through the “sharing economy” are challenging established procedures.
All these factors mean that doing business as usual is probably not a good recipe for future success.
The Vientiane Economic Forum tries to shed light on some of these new trends and to inform the participants of upcoming changes that entrepreneurs might want to take into consideration when leading their business into the next decade, Bruesseler said.
Thanongsinh said today’s challenges were not just the ever-changing global economic landscape, global warming, an upcoming ageing society even in Asean and so on.
The private sector will have to work together to use all its innovative and entrepreneurship capacity, the various resources including human, natural, and non-natural that the countries possess, to work on the opportunities lying ahead and overcome the challenges, old and new, to reach its planned destination safe and sound, he said.
Therefore today we have great resources speaking about the latest trends and topics such as trends and opportunities in the Asean Economic Community; the latest developments in the banking sector, its trends and technologies; |new strategies for transforming, and how to do business especially for small and medium-sized enterprises; innovation in manufacturing start-up trends in Laos and |Asean; new forms of financing |and venture capital; and innovation in the service industry and in technology.