The 13th Asia-Europe Business Forum (AEBF-13) opened in Vientiane, Laos, on November 4 with the participation of over 300 businesses from both continents.

Addressing the forum, Lao Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong stressed the forum’s importance in the context of the world facing challenges stemming from the financial crisis that directly impact economic development as well as people’s life.

He called on business leaders of Asia and Europe to share and discuss their views in order to find proper solutions to cushion the impact and boost economic growth, trade and investment in a strong and sustainable manner.

Themed Caring for the Earth for Sustainable Economic and Business in Asia and Europe, the two-day forum will discuss issues of concern, including the current trend and future of economic and business ties between Asia and Europe, prospects for growth in both continents, good governance of the state and business sectors to facilitate trade and investment in the two regions, and financial access. Other items on the agenda include challenges on environment, food and energy security, the sustainable management of natural resources, markets and linkages between Europe and Asian sub-regions with the Mekong Greater Sub-region as a focus.

Proposals raised and discussed at the forum will be submitted to the 9th ASEM Summit scheduled on November 5-6./.