US firms optimistic about ASEAN business prospects hinh anh 1Illustrative image (Source: jobvoucherplan)

American companies are “cautiously optimistic” about business prospects in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

The findings were revealed in the annual ASEAN Business Outlook Survey released by the US Chamber of Commerce and the American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore on August 26.

A total of 471 senior executives representing US companies in all 10 ASEAN member nations took part in the survey.

Nearly three-quarters, or 72 percent of respondents, said their trade and investment activities in ASEAN grew in the last two years while 86 percent of them expected their operations in the region to expand in the next five years.

More than half – 53 percent – of senior executives said that ASEAN markets have become more important in their companies' worldwide revenue over the last two years.

However, all these rates were lower than those reported in previous surveys.

According to the survey, Myanmar, Indonesia and Vietnam still remain attractive markets to most American companies.

Additionally, it highlighted barriers for foreign businesses operating in the region, citing low-quality human resources, legal duplication and poor quality of infrastructure as examples.

The survey also stressed the need to promote regional economic integration after the ASEAN Economic Community is formed by the end of this year, noting that Southeast Asian nations should focus on overcoming non-tariff barriers to trade, increasing transparency and promoting effective governance.-VNA