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VIENTIANE, LAOS -- The United States and Laos today held their first meeting under the U.S.-Laos Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) Joint Trade and Investment Committee. The United States emphasized the Trump Administration’s commitment to expanding ties with countries in the Asia-Pacific region, and the United States and Laos affirmed their interest in growing bilateral trade and investment between them, committing to continue work on outstanding bilateral issues.
The meeting, chaired by Assistant U.S. Trade Representative Barbara Weisel and Industry and Commerce Deputy Minister Somchith Inthamith, included, for Laos, officials from the Ministries of Industry and Commerce, Foreign Affairs, Science and Technology, Post and Telecommunications, Labor and Social Welfare, and Agriculture and Forestry and, for the United States, officials from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the U.S. Department of State, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The United States and Laos discussed the importance of expeditiously addressing key bilateral issues, including digital trade, agriculture and sanitary and phytosanitary standards, intellectual property, autos, investment, good governance, labor, and illegal logging and wildlife trafficking.
The United States and Laos reviewed Laos’s implementation of its WTO accession commitments and the WTO trade facilitation agreement, as well as Laos’s participation in the WTO Information Technology Agreement. They also discussed the upcoming U.S.-ASEAN TIFA meeting on March 30 and opportunities to advance U.S.-ASEAN ties.
The United States and Laos signed a TIFA in February 2016. Two-way goods trade between the United States and Laos grew over five-fold in the past 10 years to $86 million, with U.S. exports up more than 25 percent in the last year. Two-way agricultural trade grew 19-fold in the same period to $6 million.