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As American businesses await the ratification of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and its market-opening opportunities, U.S. companies remain optimistic about business prospects in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
The 2017 ASEAN Business Outlook Survey provides insight from senior executives representing U.S. companies on business conditions and sentiments in the Asia-Pacific. Released Thursday by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore, the survey found that 78% of executives representing U.S. companies expect to see ASEAN profits increase in 2017.
“The ASEAN region continues to be a dynamic and important market for U.S. businesses, and one that corporate executives cannot ignore,” said Tami Overby, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s senior vice president for Asia. “As our fourth-largest trading partner, growth in ASEAN also means more jobs here in the U.S. as our companies increase exports and sales to the region’s expanding middle class. To continue this robust trading relationship, we must complete the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to solidify America’s commitment to the region. If we miss this window for TPP, it will have a significant, long-term negative impact on the U.S. economy.”
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who visited the Chamber on Monday to discuss the success of the U.S.-Singapore bilateral relationship, echoed similar sentiments about TPP, calling it an “economic game-changer” for America.
The 10 nations of ASEAN are a great partner for U.S. companies, offering a strategic alliance that will allow for economic growth and job opportunities in America. The survey found that 66% of executives cite the region’s robust economic growth as a major reason their companies’ levels of trade and investment are expanding in ASEAN countries.
Nearly all (93%) of those surveyed believe the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) is important to their companies’ future investment plans, but they acknowledge a few challenges to address first. Some of the most commonly proposed policy areas were combatting corruption (62%), improving transparency (57%), and enhancing good governance (56%).
Trade agreements can play an important part in addressing these concerns. The TPP would allow the U.S. to set a high bar for free trade in the Asia-Pacific region with ASEAN countries.