January stirs mixed emotions for most individuals. A time of reflection, the potential for hope, and an opportunity to make changes and grow. Many of us will have crafted New Year’s resolutions reflecting our focus and determination to achieve desired goals. For some, returning to the office after a long festive break can present a challenge and a bit of a slow start in the first week or so, however, for the majority of executives and business owners, a new year heralds the opportunity to implement strategies, plans for change and growth, amid the uncertain times we live in.
In line with our New Year’s Resolution, we as a Chamber have made a strong commitment to support our members and sponsors and have strengthened our commercial focus and multi-level connections in providing British firms with business support, networking and knowledge exchange, fostering trade, services and investment between the UK and the Asia Pacific region, with a presence on the ground in Malaysia to serve the region.
The international trade team at Greater Manchester Chamber commenced the year in a positive manner and hosted the first of many planned trade talks and business clinics delivered by the Asia Pacific team who were in town. The Asia Pacific region contributes to an estimated 60 percent of global gross domestic product (GDP). The 21-member Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) constitutes nearly half of world trade and 40 percent of the global population. Our initial focus is on The Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) region, which is the fastest-growing region in the Asia Pacific block with average growth rates of over 5% surpassing the global average and a combined GDP of 2.4trillion US Dollars in 2016. With a rising middle class, a young population, the region offers excellent export opportunities for British firms.
Increasingly, more and more European companies are seeing the Asia Pacific region key to their growth strategies. Furthermore, the existence of international players in the region has also encouraged home grown businesses to reinvest in the region instead of divesting capital to Europe or North America as was traditionally practised.
Our deliberate effort and emphasis on bilateral trade and investment is critical in these challenging and uncertain times as we await clarity on our divorce from the European Union. We have placed faith in the opportunities presented and have taken the initiative and have already got going in Asia Pacific!
In the forthcoming weeks, we will focus on market insights from various countries and opportunities across Asia Pacific and we will have plenty of news to share. Everything from the winter Olympics, the e-commerce payments taking China and the world by storm, trade agreements, regulatory changes, innovation and disruptive technologies, elections in various Asia Pacific countries, the Commonwealth Games and most importantly, the business opportunities that exist for firms.
So why wait – get going - make a deliberate attempt to put Asia Pacific on your radar and start taking to us about the opportunities that exist for your firm. Have a great 2018 and we look forward to welcoming you to Asia!