US Companies Optimistic about ASEAN Region

US firms have taken interest in the ASEAN region as an investment destination. Matt Bradley, president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Thailand, said that the ASEAN Economic Community has brightened the prospects of investing in the region. ASEAN

Bradley said that economic integration in 2016 will promote intra-regional trade and investment with the implementation of duty-free trade. In the 2012-2013 ASEAN Business Outlook Survey, American Chamber of Commerce found that 92 percent of American executives have a positive or very positive outlook with regards to investment opportunities for their companies in the ASEAN region.

American investors want to invest in regions that have economic stability, strong potential for growth, reliable infrastructure and high quality labor. Bradley said that Thailand has all the factors and makes it attractive for US investment.

US companies that are currently in Thailand employ more than 200,000 local workers and have provided more than $45 billion worth of investments. There are opportunities for improving the business environment so that Thailand can sustain its long term competitiveness. Bradley added that US investors want predictability in the regulatory environment as well as a transparent method in the policy making.

US businesses are hopeful that Thailand will find ways to improve the availability of skilled labor to sustain the continued investment. This could lead to improvements in the productivity of the country. American businesses also hope that the country maintains the political stability it had for the last two years. Bradley said that Thailand is preparing to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The American Chamber of Commerce said that it hopes that the country will be included in the initiative.

Western Digital maintained that it will expand its hard-disk operations in Thailand even with the recent increase in the daily minimum wage. The company released a statement saying it will invest more in order to support the demand of its customers and help improve the growth of highly trained workforce in the future.