U.S. Bridge to Asia
The United States’ ambitious goal to double exports over five years under the National Export Initiative (NEI) has placed Hong Kong at the center of America’s big push into Asian markets, particularly the Chinese mainland.
The Mainland of China itself is a central issue, since the Americans want to see more open Chinese consumer markets, the revaluation of the Renminbi, and a reduction in China’s trade surplus with the U.S.
HKTDC Executive Director Fred Lam (left) and Director General of the USFCS Suresh Kumar, signed the Pacific Bridge Initiative last November, encouraging more U.S. companies to tap the growing Asian market through Hong Kong.
Hong Kong is well-positioned to help U.S. companies looking to increase exports to the Mainland of China and Asia in general, at a time when the U.S. administration urgently needs to refocus the economy and create jobs.
The Mainland market is an increasing priority, given its growing size. And Hong Kong can help U.S. firms tap them successfully. The challenge for some U.S. companies is a lack of understanding of the Mainland market, including its business culture, market conditions of would-be clients, and consumer preferences.
Hong Kong companies have the expertise and experience to link East and West, making them significant partners for U.S. companies, given Hong Kong’s legal and business infrastructure.
Hong Kong is particularly attractive to U.S. companies, given its wide spectrum of trade-support services, including sales, marketing, finance, legal and logistics services.
To encourage more U.S. companies to tap the growing Asian market, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), in cooperation with the U.S. Foreign Commercial Service (USFCS), rolled out the Pacific Bridge Initiative (PBI) in November 2010.
The first formal initiative in support of the NEI, the PBI is a structured approach to helping U.S. companies make use of Hong Kong to sell to the Asian region, particularly on the Mainland of China.
Under the PBI, the HKTDC works in conjunction with the USFCS to organize road shows, trade fairs, missions and seminars. An online portal has also been set up to promote business opportunities for U.S. and Hong Kong companies.
The first event to capitalize on the PBI was Eco Expo Asia, the region’s major fair for the environmental protection industry. The fair in November 2010 featured the U.S. as partner country, with more than 30 companies in the U.S. pavilion.
The NEI was unveiled in President Barack Obama’s 2010 State of the Union address, the first time the U.S. has implemented a government-wide, export-promotion strategy.
An Export Promotion Cabinet (EPC) was established, made up of the heads of various federal, trade-related departments and agencies.
The NEI forms part of a broader strategy by the Obama administration to reduce U.S. economic dependence on domestic consumption, which currently accounts for roughly 70 percent of the U.S. GDP, while increasing exports and domestic investment.
Industry sectors that have the greatest potential are renewable energy, including civil nuclear power, smart grid and advanced vehicle technology; health-care technology, such as biotechnology and medical devices; and agricultural production. The administration will also intensify its export promotion activities in support of the U.S. services sector.
The NEI should have a positive effect on U.S. exports to Hong Kong and the Mainland of China.
For more details, see the forthcoming HKTDC Research report, ”U.S. National Export Initiative: Features and Implications,” which can be ordered at http://bookshop.hktdc.com/.
Article credit: Hong Kong Trade Development Council
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