Obama sets measures to boost ASEAN economies

NOTE:  Nova Advisors are ASEAN experts and are located in Bangkok and the US.  We have over 30 years experience in helping companies grow market share and sourcing in Southeast Asia.
US President Barack Obama shakes hands with Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha after a group photo at the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit at Sunnylands in Rancho Mirage, California Feb 16. In between are Philippine President Benigno Aquino (second left) and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. (Reuters photo)

RANCHO MIRAGE, CALIFORNIA — US President Barack Obama announced a package of measures designed to boost Southeast Asian economies, betting that the fast-growing region can be an ever more important trade partner.

The plan will establish three economic offices — in Bangkok, Jakarta and Singapore — “to better coordinate our economic engagement and connect more of our entrepreneurs, investors and businesses with each other.”

The White House sees the 10 nations of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) — representatives of which have been meeting with Mr Obama since Monday in California — as an emerging regional counterweight to China’s regional dominance.

Collectively, the countries are the fourth-largest trading partner for the United States.

According to White House figures, “two-way trade in goods and services has tripled since the 1990s, topping US$254 billion in 2014,” supporting around half a million US jobs.

“We have an increasingly deep and broad economic relationship with Asean,” said US ambassador to Asean Nina Hachigian.

Asean includes Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

While Southeast Asian economies are youthful and fast-growing, many sectors remain the under the control of government or special interests.

But countries like Indonesia are beginning to open up. Its president Joko Widodo recently announced steps to open the economy to foreign investment that were welcomed in Washington.

The new “US-Asean Connect” package will include technical advice on how countries like Indonesia and the Philippines can prepare to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a vast Pacific-wide trade deal that is in the process of being ratified.

The US-Asean summit has President Barack Obama at the head of a horseshoe table. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha is third from left. (Reuters photo)

“We’ve launched a new effort to help all Asean countries understand the key elements of TPP as well as the reforms that could eventually lead to them joining,” Mr Obama said.

Other measures will focus on improving trade ties in the communications and infrastructure sectors among others, streamlining current government programs.

It will also address the power sector, an area where China has been especially active, building dams along the upper Mekong.

SOURCE:  Bangkok Post, February 17, 2016

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About thomasdinnocenzi

Thomas D’Innocenzi is a highly accomplished, results-focused international consultant with extensive experience in global sourcing and business development worldwide to meet evolving business needs. Tom has proven ability in implementing and managing profitable global marketing and sourcing operations. He has extensive experience in international business development to accommodate rapid growth. Skilled in building top-performing teams, bench-marking performance, and developing organizations to improve efficiency, productivity, and profitability. Experienced transition leader and change agent. Tom founded Nova Advisors with the mission of providing expert Global Business Development consulting services for companies seeking to expand their market share as an independent consultant. Tom has a network of experts and advisors throughout the Asia-Pacific region and North America. His expertise includes business development, global sourcing, manufacturing, commodities, logistics, QA/QC, FDA, regulatory compliance, sustainability, and supply chain optimization. Tom is experienced in the medical device, apparel, consumer goods and technology services verticals helping companies advance their global sourcing capabilities and develop new markets through a local and sustained approach. Located in SE Asia and the United States, Tom expands market reach to drive sales. His global sourcing strategy includes directly negotiating with commodity suppliers, supply chain networks and distributors for optimal terms based on his expertise and first-hand knowledge of the players. Contact Tom to use his consulting service to increase your global market and make global sourcing profitable for you in the Asia Pacific Region and the United States. http://www.NovaAdvisors.com thomas@NovaAdvisors.com USA Direct: +1.904.479.3600 SINGAPORE: +65.6818.6396 THAILAND: +662.207.9269
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