Posts Tagged ‘APBO 2012’


Building Sustainable Cities in Asia: Presenting Opportunities for U.S. Companies

March 28, 2012

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This story is part of an ongoing series highlighting the information available to participants in the 2012 Asia Pacific Business Outlook (APBO)

Daniel Tien Simon is a sustainability program manager for Asia Society Northern California

Asia’s urban population is growing at an unprecedented rate. Between 1950 and 2010, the percentage of Asians living in urban areas nearly tripled from 15 percent to more than 40 percent. Over the coming decades, Asia’s urbanization will continue and by 2050, two out of every three Asians are expected to reside in urban centers. Within 40 years, the region will be home to more than half of the world’s entire population at a staggering 5.2 billion people – with the vast majority of them living in cities.

Solar panels installed in India

Solar power and renewable energy in India

The increasing proportion of populations living in Asian cities presents unique and exceptional challenges to sustainable development and urban growth. As cities become the center of economic, social, and cultural life in Asia, they will also continue to consume the lion’s share of scarce natural resources, such as water, food, and energy.

To address these challenges, the Pacific Cities Sustainability Initiative (PCSI) was launched in 2009 as a partnership among the Asia Society, the Center for International Business Education and Research at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business and the University of California Los Angeles’ Anderson School of Management, and the Association of Pacific Rim Universities World Initiative. Since that time, PSCI has also developed a major global partnership with the Urban Land Institute.

PCSI aims to address urban sustainability challenges arising from the rapid urbanization of cities in Asia by bringing together business leaders, policy makers, and academics from across the Pacific to share common challenges, attempted solutions, and areas for assistance.

PCSI attracts businesses interested in seeking sustainable services or exporting them. Through seminars in California and in Asia on sustainable business opportunities, PCSI can build businesses through networking opportunities with companies and individuals in Asia or working in Asia. PCSI brings together businesses, not only with other businesses, but also with governments and academics from different metropolises throughout the U.S. and Asia, who can shed light on what products, services, and expertise are needed in their city.

A number of markets in the Asia Pacific region present vast business opportunities in the sustainability sector:

  • China’s remarkable economic growth has had severe negative environmental consequences. As a result, China has prioritized energy efficiency and green technology. China’s rapid urbanization will also require tremendous new building construction, and the country intends to enforce green building standards moving forward. These new policies in both sectors can open up opportunities for U.S. companies.
  • Vietnam is similarly suffering from the environmental degradation arising from rapid economic growth. American companies and products enjoy a positive reputation for quality, reliability, and safety in Vietnam, which can translate into multi-million dollar opportunities.
  • India is in dire need of assistance in all areas of sustainability from infrastructure development to energy efficiency, and numerous opportunities abound for U.S. suppliers and advisors.
  • Japan has always been a leader in sustainability policy and technology. Japan offers opportunities in leading-edge, cost-effective environmental technologies and services, particularly in light of the tragic disasters of March 2011.

PCSI founders, Bruce Pickering, Executive Director, Asia Society Northern California and Richard Drobnick, Director, Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER), USC Marshall School of Business spoke over the weekend about on PCSI at the Asia/Pacific Business Outlook Conference.


Asia Pacific Business Outlook: Twenty Five Years and Many More Opportunities

March 27, 2012

This story is part of an ongoing series highlighting the information available to participants in the 2012 Asia Pacific Business Outlook (APBO)

Francisco Sánchez is the Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade

This is my second year keynoting the 25-year old USC Marshall School’s Asia Pacific Business Outlook (APBO) Conference. It was great to see the diversity of participants, from representatives of businesses across the United States, as well as non-profit organizations, chambers of commerce, and trade associations from both the United States and countries in Asia and Latin America.

Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sánchez speaks during the APBO Conference

Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sánchez speaks during the APBO Conference (Photo USC Marshall School of Business)

It seems as though it’s also a reunion and convergence of sorts of 16 Senior Commercial Officers (SCOs) from Asia and local Commercial Service trade specialists. For the first time, we have the SCOs from Brazil and Russia joining the conference, contributing their insider knowledge and providing market briefings in one-on-one counseling sessions.

During my address yesterday, I was able to outline our ongoing priorities here at the International Trade Administration and across the Obama Administration as well as provide updates on some major accomplishments achieved in the past few years.

This month marks the two-year anniversary of the President’s National Export Initiative and good things are happening. Last year, U.S. exports surpassed $2 trillion for the first time in history. They supported nearly 10 million jobs, an increase of more than a million when compared to 2009 numbers. So the formula is pretty clear: exports benefit jobs, businesses and the national economy. That’s why we’ve got to continue to increase U.S. exports.

One of the areas with the greatest potential for this work is the Asia-Pacific region. It represents 55 percent of global GDP and accounts for 44 percent of world trade. And all of us at the Commerce Department are committed to keeping the U.S.- Asia-Pacific partnership growing — both through our words and our work.

Last year, I led the largest-ever higher-education mission to Indonesia and Vietnam. I visited Hong Kong and China last fall. And, earlier this month I was in Japan and Vietnam a second time to advance commercial relations. Our work in this region is a priority for us. And good things are happening.

U.S. goods exports to the broader Asia-Pacific totaled nearly $900 billion in 2011, a 15 percent increase from 2010. This is equal to 60 percent of total U.S. goods exports to the world. This partnership is generating benefits for all sides. This means jobs and growth for the American economy. In turn, U.S. products and services are helping to fuel the economic development in the Asia Pacific.

These have been win-win partnerships. Now, we’re focused on producing even more wins. To do this, the Administration is working from the policy level to the community level. For instance, one win came recently when the U.S.- Korea Trade Agreement took effect.

Before, in a variety of sectors, U.S. companies had to pay a tariff rate to sell their goods and services in Korea. Now, many of these same companies can enter the market duty-free. Almost 80 percent of American exports of industrial products to Korea will enter without getting taxed. Estimates are that this will lead to roughly $11 billion in additional U.S. exports. It will also provide new opportunities in the 12th largest economy in the world. That’s a big win.

Another win involves the Trans-Pacific Partnership. As many of you know, it’s an ambitious, high-standard trade agreement for doing business in the Asia-Pacific. It seeks to address new and emerging trade issues and 21st-century challenges. Working with our colleagues at the Office of the United States Trade Representative — we are addressing traditional trade issues involving goods and services;  rules on intellectual property; and technical barriers to trade. And we are making progress. A TPP framework was agreed to in Honolulu at the APEC Leaders’ meeting in November. It was a landmark accomplishment. The agreement identified five central features that nations around the world are already viewing as a new standard for trade agreements.

The Commercial Officers from across Asia, Russia and Brazil as well as the domestic trade specialist stand ready to help U.S. businesses explore the possibilities that are out there. There were some great conversations today.
This is a chance to achieve common goals, such as creating more markets and customers for U.S. businesses, which can lead to more sales, which will boost U.S. exports, which supports jobs and strengthens the American economy. These are big goals that will make a big impact.

And I look forward to working with all of you in the years ahead to achieve these goals.

So let’s get the conversation started.


It’s More Fun in the Philippines

March 26, 2012

This story is part of an ongoing series highlighting the information available to participants in the 2012 Asia Pacific Business Outlook (APBO)

Patrick Wall is Commercial Counselor in the U.S. Embassy in Manila.

This is a great time to look at export opportunities in the Philippines. The Philippines is a market where American products and services are well known and held in high regard, owing to the very close relationship between the U.S. and the Philippines over the past 100 years. U.S. business engagement in the Philippines is longstanding, positive and growing, and American firms play a major role in the economy.

The Philippines is an archipelago of 7,107 islands, with 92 million inhabitants, and the world’s fourth largest English-speaking nation, with the 14th largest labor force in the world.  The U.S. and the Philippines have US$16.8B in two-way merchandise trade in 2011, and relatively balanced trade flows. The Philippines is ranked as the United States’ 33rd export partner and the 38th import partner.

The U.S. sees the Philippines as a long term business partner. U.S. foreign investment in the Philippines reached was roughly $7 billion by the end of 2011. The U.S. remains the second largest investment partner in the Philippines, accounting for about one-fourth of the country’s Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) stock.  U.S. businesses are present in a wide spectrum of sectors and industries.

In his first 18 months in office, President Aquino’s good governance program has resulted in the filing of corruption cases against several high-profile public officials.  The “2012-2016 Good Governance and Anti-Corruption Cluster Plan,” further identifies specific measures to curb corruption through greater transparency and accountability in government transactions.  Efforts to reign in corruption have, in general, improved public perception though achieving successful prosecutions remains to be a serious challenge to the Aquino administration.

For the fifth consecutive year, the promising market sectors in the Philippines for U.S. companies are information technology, telecommunication, medical, electric power, and water resources, respectively. These sectors are further intertwined in the current Philippine government’s Public-Private Partnership (PPP) program targeting those projects of priority to the government.  The Government of the Philippines actively seeks foreign investment to promote economic development of these PPP projects.

U.S. investors in the Philippines have been especially successful in the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) sector.  The top 10 American BPO firms operate in the Philippines.  By the end of 2011, the BPO sector of the economy had created 630,000 jobs in the Philippines.  Did you know that in 2011 the Philippines became the number one offshore site for “voice” BPO employment, taking the mantle from India?

Why it’s more fun the Philippines?   The Philippines has much to offer to American exporters:

  • The Economy – a strong comeback with opportunities in many hot sectors
  • The Location – within four hours of major asian capitals
  • The People – warm, friendly and English-speaking

For more information on doing business in the Philippines, please contact us


Invincible India: Conveying the Growth Story to U.S. Companies – Day 1 at APBO

March 26, 2012

This story is part of an ongoing series highlighting the information available to participants in the 2012 Asia Pacific Business Outlook (APBO)

Aileen Crowe Nandi is a Commercial Officer on domestic assignment at the Silicon Valley Export Assistance Center. She most recently spent five years in India, serving in Kolkata and Chennai, managing CS South India’s operations in Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad.

Borrowing from the Indian Government’s ubiquitous tourism campaign touting “Incredible India,” after five years of witnessing unprecedented development and booming trade ties, when our exports to India nearly doubled from 2005-2010, I view the country’s rise as “Invincible India.” Seemingly impervious to the world’s economic woes, the Indian economy has boomed with impressive annual growth rates averaging around 7 percent the past decade. With a sizeable middle class, India boasts strong projected growth rates for the foreseeable future. Its momentum alone puts India in a league of its own.

Yes, there is antiquated infrastructure. (In fact, I am participating in APBO because Senior Commercial Officer Judy Reinke will be hosting the Secretary of Commerce, John Bryson, who is accompanying 25 U.S. infrastructure companies to India to explore joint opportunities). Additionally, bureaucracy and /red tape, lack of access to credit for Indian small and medium businesses and abysmal contract enforcement (India ranks 182 out of 183 countries, according to the World Bank) all remain obstacles for U.S. exporters. On a brighter note, however, India is the U.S. Export-Import Bank’s second largest market after Mexico.

Yet India is not for the faint of heart. I often advise U.S. companies to think of the 3 Ps: price, presence and patience. Price often ranks as the key factor whether any given product or /service would prosper in India. Moreover, India is still a face-to-face society and U.S. firms must make the commitment to visit and meet potential partners. Finally, U.S. companies are not encouraged to view India as a market to make a quick sale. It can take longer to clinch deals in India vis-à-vis other countries.

Given India’s size and differentiating regions, we encourage some U.S. firms to take a regional approach to enter the market. Also, U.S. exporters must look beyond Delhi and Mumbai to identify opportunities and potential partners: India’s 2nd and 3rd tier cities (some with populations of 2-3 million) have dynamic growth as they build hospitals, enhance infrastructure capacity and formalize their retail networks.

In fact, India’s explosive growth in the retail sector was the most visible development I saw during my tenure, with sleek malls and organized retail outlets dominating over the fractured, informal retail venues. Young Indians, who tend to live at home until they get married, now have high levels of disposable income, creating opportunities for consumer goods, franchises, entertainment and other industries. Additionally, Indians have increasingly sophisticated tastes and will pay a premium for branded, or even luxury, products. Indian consumers, though they save much more than their U.S. counterparts, lure U.S. companies to seek new channels in the subcontinent.

Indeed, opportunities in India continue to beckon U.S. firms. While the airplanes, the defense sales and the large energy projects make headlines, and fortunately U.S. firms have been at the forefront of these industries, U.S. companies are steadily making inroads in many areas: healthcare, green building, franchising, education and much more. India represents a market where the President’s National Export Initiative thrives and U.S. exports are poised to double again. Your competitors will be there – you should be too.


Asia Pacific Business Outlook Conference Profiles Asian Markets

March 22, 2012

Tali Levine is an international trade specialist in the Trade Information Center

Next Monday and Tuesday, March 26-27.  I’ll be in Los Angeles at the 25th annual Asia Pacific Business Outlook. The event features representatives of 200 companies from many sectors ranging from manufacturing to consumer products and banking in attendance.  I’m excited to join some 400 other people as we listen to Senior Commercial Officers and numerous experts on the Asia Pacific region.  The networking event includes 60 focused sessions and private one-on-one consultations.  Since 1987, APBO has been the premier business conference focused on trade and investment in Asian markets.

At the conference, businesses will meet face-to face with Commercial Service trade professionals who have traveled from across Asia to convene in Los Angeles, to learn the latest on market opportunities, strategies, and tips to export successfully.  It’s an opportunity to expand your exports in the region. Among all U.S. exporters, 58 percent sell only to one market.  So, for example, if you’re only selling to Vietnam, why not expand to China, Malaysia, or Indonesia? What are the latest and hottest markets and industry sectors in the region?

Stay tuned, as we will be posting numerous blogs from Senior Commercial Officers and seminar participants about the conference early next week.  Be on the lookout for blogs on China tomorrow, India on Monday, the Philippines on Tuesday, and on sustainability and why a center for international trade development attends APBO on Wednesday.

Stay tuned and happy reading!