The United States businesses maintain their optimism toward Indonesian and other Southeast Asian countries’ economies on the back of the region’s growing economy and the economic integration that would enhance trade efficiency, according to the annual “2017 Asean Business Outlook Survey” released on Tuesday (09/08).
The survey asked 3,154 members of American Chamber of Commerce who conduct business in Asean and received online feedback from 519 senior executives from April 25 to May 24.
In Indonesia alone, the survey gathered views from 40 companies out of 301 registered members of American Chamber of Commerce in the country.
“The Asean region continues to be a dynamic and important market for US businesses, and one that corporate executives cannot ignore,” Tami Overby, US Chamber of Commerce senior vice president of Asia, said in a statement.
Asean includes Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei Darussalam, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia.
Marking its fifteenth year, the Asean Business Outlook Survey was compiled and published by the American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore and the US Chamber of Commerce.
“With strong and sustained growth, a young population, and a rapidly expanding middle class, Southeast Asia continues to be full of exciting business opportunities,” Nina Hachigian, US Ambassador to Asean, said in her foreword note for the survey.
“This survey offers an accessible summary of the perceptions and insights of executives in American companies across the region about their experiences in Aseancountries.”
For Indonesia’s case, 43 percent of the respondents said President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s government has succeeded in improving trade and investment policy with 5 percent saying it has “significantly” improved.
More than half of US businesses in Indonesia — 53 percent to be exact — said the importance of Asean markets have increased over the past two years and 60 percent of the respondent said the importance will keep growing in the next two years.
The Indonesia-based US businesses are pleased with the availability of low-cost labor (45 percent), stable government and political system (40 percent), personal security (38 percent), sentiment toward the US (35 percent) and housing costs (30 percent).
The overall respondents, however, said corruption also remains a significant hurdle for doing business in the Asean.
More than half of the respondents across Asean said the region’s markets have become more important for their worldwide companies’ revenue in the past two years and three quarter of the executives expect their profits to increase next year.
The survey also found out that US businesses see economic integrations in the Asean offer further benefits for them. Survey respondents said the Asean Economic Community (AEC) framework will provide greater flexibility and efficiency in managing their regional operation with almost all respondent (93 percent) believe the AEC is important to their companies’ future investment plans.
The US business also expects the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) — of which Indonesia has expressed interest in joining — to increase their trade and investment in the region. Some 34 percent of the respondent said TPP will lead them to increase their investment in the region. ion.
“America’s private sector has invested more in Asean cumulatively than businesses from any other country. Our companies remain committed to the Asean region and we are certain that the TPP, if approved, will open the window of opportunity still wider,” Judith Fergin, AmCham Singapore executive director, said in a statement.