Marcus Jadotte is ITA’s Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Industry & Analysis.
Last week, I joined U.S. Ambassador to Sinagpore Kirk Wagar and Kallman Worldwide President & CEO Tom Kallman to kick off the Singapore Airshow at the Changi Exhibition Centre. Gen. Lori Robinson, Commander, Pacific Air Forces; and LTG (Ret.) Robert Durbin, COO, Aerospace Industries Association; also participated in the opening ceremony of Asia’s largest biennial airshow. This year, the United States was the show’s largest international exhibitor, with more than 140 exhibitors occupying nearly 30 percent of the show’s total indoor exhibit space.
The Asia-Pacific is one of the fastest-growing markets for aviation; therefore, the Singapore Airshow provides an unmatched opportunity for U.S. companies to form partnerships with companies and governments across this dynamic region. In 2015, U.S. aerospace companies exported more than $144 billion worth of equipment to markets around the world. In that same year, approximately $48 billion in exports went to customers in the Asia-Pacific region, a figure that will likely increase as the region expands infrastructure for aviation and defense.
These opportunities are why President Obama pursued the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The TPP is a 21st-century, high standard trade agreement that will benefit U.S. workers and the economy, and also deliver unprecedented opportunities for companies across the Asia-Pacific region.
The TPP represents a generational opportunity to expand market access for businesses in the Pacific Rim by eliminating all manufacturing tariffs, removing non-tariff barriers, setting a new high-standard for global trading rules, and leveling the playing field for American workers.
Once implemented, the TPP will enhance transparency and predictability, which are two critical factors to improving the overall business environment and facilitating global commerce. The agreement will commit partner nations to stronger intellectual property protections as well as clearer rulemaking to prevent the rise of unnecessarily burdensome regulations that impede trade in the region.
In addition, the Trans-Pacific Partnership will lead to an overall increase in economic activity and trade for this region. As economies grow, there will be a natural, corresponding rise in demand for transportation-related products. As a result, we believe that the TPP will be particularly good for aerospace manufacturers. To learn more about these opportunities, visit our TPP page. Many TPP partners have been identified by the International Trade Administration’s (ITA) Aerospace Team as Top Markets (see Aircraft Parts) for U.S. aerospace parts producers, including Canada, Japan, Australia, Mexico, New Zealand, Malaysia, and, of course, Singapore.
Singapore is already a transportation linchpin for the Asia-Pacific region and a hub for aircraft maintenance. The country is consistently a top market for U.S. aerospace parts exports averaging more than $5.7 billion in parts exports between 2005 and 2014. As a result, Singapore and this airshow are perfect entry points for U.S. companies exploring the region.
ITA has many resources available to support U.S. firms pursuing business prospects in Asia. For the Singapore Airshow, we organized our fifth Aerospace Executive Service Trade Mission, through which we helped small- and medium-sized companies find agents and distributors, while our industry specialists from across the region provided one-on-one counseling. We were also proud to certify the U.S. International Pavilion, where cutting-edge American firms were on display. As part of our commitment to the Pavilion, we flew in 14 specialists from 12 countries across the region to provide market intelligence to U.S. exhibitors, and recruited a delegation of more than 280 international buyers from across the Asia-Pacific to attend the show.
And, for the first time ever, we hosted an Aviation Infrastructure workshop under the Lower Mekong Initiative to complement the show. The two-day workshop featured aviation and airport management best practices, and highlighted how U.S. companies can bring their technology and expertise to address real world problems.
Aerospace is one of America’s most successful exporting stories. This sector already has the highest trade surplus of any manufacturing industry and has had this distinction for many years.
This showcases both the quality of American technology and the strength of our ability to form international partnerships.
Every day, companies are realizing that success in the aerospace industry requires having a thoughtful plan for targeting opportunities beyond U.S. borders. They know that the highest growth markets for aviation are outside North America, in places like Singapore and the rest of Asia. I’m proud to say that ITA stands ready and able to help U.S. companies plan their export strategy, and address challenges head-on. We look forward to working with our Asia-Pacific partners now and in the future.