US business leaders are gathered this week at the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business for the Asia/Pacific Business Outlook Conference (APBO)   The conference, co-presented with the United States Department of Commerce, is aimed at helping US exporters and investors target Asian markets.

The conference is taking place between April 7-8, 2014 and consists of 60 seminars about 18 major Asian markets.  One-on-One business counseling sessions with overseas U.S. Senior Commercial Officers from 18 American embassies in Asia are also taking place.

Southeast Asia opportunities webinar to immediately follow the conference

And the day after the conference, The U.S. Commercial Service in Southeast Asia will conduct a webinar to outline business opportunities available in South East Asia (Wednesday, April 9, 2014) at 10:00 – 11:00 AM (PDT or 1pm EST).

Asia’s economic opportunity

As the US Commercial Services outlines, “Southeast Asia’s population of 620 million is roughly twice the size of the United States and represent a market with a combined GDP of more than $2.2 trillion.  The ASEAN economies are continuing robust growth as nominal Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 5.7 percent at US$ 2.31 trillion in 2012 and over the past decade, these countries have averaged a growth rate of more than five percent per year.”

“In 2012, U.S. goods trade reached some $198 billion up from $145 billion in 2009, making ASEAN the fourth largest U.S. export market and fifth largest overall trading partner. In 2011, trade in services with ASEAN countries exceeded $30 billion, with exports of $19 billion and imports of $11 billion, allowing the United States to achieve an $8 billion services trade surplus with ASEAN.

U.S. foreign direct investment in ASEAN markets totaled more than $159 billion in 2011, led by investments in manufacturing, finance and insurance, and nonbank holding companies and those figures are growing. Indeed, in 2013, global foreign direct investment (FDI) into Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, known as ASEAN 5, outstripped FDI into China for the first time.”

The opportunity for law firms

Law firms in the ASEAN region and elsewhere in Asia have a superb opportunity to help US businesses with their expansion plans.  These conferences, webinars and others like them provide an opportunity to identify what types of companies may be in need of assistance – and provide a basic understanding of where you may wish to  focus a US marketing and business development effort.


  • For more information about the 2014 Asia/Pacific Business Outlook Conference, the website can be viewed here.
  • For more information about the U.S. Department of Commerce webinar on Southeast Asia on April 9th, please visit their event announcement here.

Posted by John Grimley

John Grimley edits and publishes Asia Law Portal. An independent writer & editor, he's the author of: A Comprehensive Guide to the Asia-Pacific Legal Markets (Ark Group 2014).

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