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US firms see more trade, investment in Asean

Most executives of US firms see their companies’ level of trade and investment in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations rising over the next five years. (Bangkok Post file photo)

American business enthusiasm in Southeast Asia is bent but far from broken even as the region grapples with a new trade framework and less US government involvement, according to a survey by the American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore.

Eighty percent of executives see their firms’ level of trade and investment in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations rising over the next five years, with just 3% seeing it decreasing. Respondents were most upbeat about Indonesia (92%) and Vietnam (86%). They’re optimistic about sales, too, with 56% expecting higher profits this year compared with 2016.

Even though the United States pulled out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) -- a regional agreement that would have given Asian nations from Japan to Malaysia preferential access to the US -- the American business lobby group is encouraging the 11 remaining members to push ahead with the accord.

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