US businesses optimistic about Asean business outlook, survey finds

, Sept 12 — US companies are optimistic about the growth outlook and investment opportunities in Asean as businesses see solid growth in domestic consumption, according to a survey.

A special Asean 50th anniversary edition of the 2018 Asean Business Outlook Survey revealed that 56 per cent of US companies’ senior executives based in the region expected their profits to increase this year over that of last year, while 74 per cent expected higher profits in 2018.

It said 58 per cent of the companies reported that Asean markets had become more important for their companies’ global bottom lines for the past two years, and 62 per cent said that their level of trade and investment in Asean increased during the period. 

“Over the next five years, 80 per cent (of them) expect that their level of trade and investment in Asean will increase,” said the the survey which was released by the American Malaysian Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM), the US Chamber of Commerce and the American Chamber of Commerce in .

Commenting on the survey, AMCHAM Executive Director Siobhan Das said continued to be an important US trading partner and serve, not only as a major US investment destination, but also a critical part of many global supply chains.

“The importance of diversity is critical, and it is the reason why Malaysia has long been a favoured base and continues to be an important and strategic location for many American multinational corporations looking to engage with the emerging population of the region,” he said.

Meanwhile, US Chamber of Commerce Senior Vice-President for Asia Tami Overby said if US policy did not support deeper engagement by American companies, particularly small and medium exporters, in Asia, they would be left behind.

“If we want to support the US economic growth, we need to make new trade deals in Asia, not pull out of them,” she said.

The survey also outlined that growing protectionism and rising regional tensions were among challenges to the Asean economic growth.

“In previous surveys, executives have indicated that the Asean Economic Community (AEC) will make the region more attractive to investment.

“This year, respondents recommended several priority areas for Asean to address in the context of the AEC, including corruption, non-tariff barriers, transparency, and good governance,” it added. — Bernama

Source: The Malay Mail Online

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