U.S., Lao Presidents Ink Partnership at Historic Visit
On the occasion of his state visit to Laos, the first for a U.S. president, President Barack Obama and President Bounnhang Vorachit of Laos officially inaugurated a Comprehensive Partnership between the the two countries.
Trade and economics were important elements in the agreement.
The two sides committed to increase high-level exchanges as well as contacts at all levels, and to intensify dialogue and cooperation mechanisms.
The two presidents confirmed comprehensive cooperation in addressing war legacy issues, which include addressing the impact of U.S. unexploded ordnance in Laos dating back to the United States military involvement in Southeast Asia and for Laos to cooperate in providing a full accounting of U.S. personnel missing from the war. Obama announced that the U.S. will contribute $90 million over three years for an unexploded ordnance survey in Laos and for its clearance.
On the trade front, the presidents welcomed the signing earlier this year of a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement between the two countries. The agreement will strengthen trade ties and form a basis for expanding streams of commerce between the two nations.
The two leaders recognized the importance of protecting the most vulnerable populations while pursuing economic development and upholding international labor standards, including combating child labor, forced labor, and human trafficking.
President Obama welcomed President Bounnhang Vorachit’s commitment to pursuing steps to uphold international labor standards that could pave the way for the United States to grant Laos benefits under the Generalized System of Preferences.
They also affirmed the importance of addressing climate change and resolved to support robust and transparent implementation of the Paris Agreement. Following the United States formally joining the Paris Agreement, President Bounnhang Vorachit stated that Laos has completed its domestic procedures to ratify the Paris Agreement and will formally join the agreement this year.