News / Europe

US Firms Prospering in Asia, Russia

US Executives Say Business Good in Russian Far Easti
|| 0:00:00
X
James Brooke
September 11, 2012
While tensions in U.S. relations with Asia and Russia often get a lot of attention, business relationships can sometimes move along smoothly on a track of their own. American executives who attended the just-concluded Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit say interest is high in the region for American products and companies. VOA's James Brooke has more from Vladivostok, Russia, where the APEC summit was held.
TEXT SIZE - +
— The daily ups and downs of U.S. relations with Asia and Russia get a lot of attention.  But American executives attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit said that receptivity for American products and companies is high in the region.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton predicted Russia's entry last month into the World Trade Organization will be a boost for American companies.  "It pays to join the rules-based trading system," she told APEC delegates. "Russia's trading partners stand to benefit as well.  American exports to Russia could double or even triple."

After her speech, American executives shared her optimism about Russia and Asia.
 
Scott Price, president of Wal-Mart Asia, said Wal-Mart is the only major retailer opening new stores in Japan. 

"For 79 percent of Chinese, 72 percent of Indians, 70 percent of Japanese these days - the most important to them is the price," he said. "So If you are bringing in quality products at the best price, you get your customer sentiment, they are not worried about whether your brand is American,  French, Chinese or not, they want to be confident in the quality."
 
In Russia, James Turley, chairman of Ernst & Young, the American accounting and advisory firm, just announced he is opening an office in Vladivostok.
 
"Foreign investors in Russia - Americans, Western European countries - feel very positive once they are here and they have invested and they learn how to work in Russia," said Turley, a frequent visitor to Russia.  "Those companies that have been here for a long time want to increase their investment not decrease it.  Companies that have not yet invested in Russia are still a little bit skittish."
 
Another pioneer in the Russian Far East is Hyatt, which opens two hotels with a total of 450 rooms next year in Vladivostok.  Hyatt will be the first international chain to manage hotels in the Russian Far East.

"Hyatt in general is looking into expanding throughout Russia and throughout the CIS region," said Aliya Turumbekova, Hyatt's marketing director, at a visit to one construction site.  "So we think that this is a very good region with a very good potential.  And especially being the first international chain in the Far-Eastern region, we are very proud to manage these two hotels."

Caterpillar machinery was crucial in building the Hyatts, the APEC conference center, and a massive new aquarium. 

Joe Caldwell, who has been renting and selling Caterpillar equipment in the Russian Far East for 16 years, said,  "There's Caterpillar equipment, earth-moving, bulldozers, road building compactors, generators at the Aquarium, and all over this island. We rented probably 100 machines, sold them 150 machines."

Saturday, while the summiteers were watching fireworks, Emil Veliev, construction director of the APEC site, was backstage, proudly demonstrating his sewage treatment system and his desalination plant, each built with American technology.
 
"For the future of Russia and [cooperation with] America, for the new products, it really depends on these people who are willing to invest, who actually see the benefits of all these products," Veliev said.

Standing nearby at the desalination plant was Michael Ruffner, who came from Florida to Vladivostok to install Aqua-Chem machines that convert salt water into drinking water for 50,000 people.  "So what we are seeing is a really wonderful joint cooperation between the two nations, when we work side-by-side for a common goal," Ruffner said.

Back at APEC, Ed Verona, president of the U.S.-Russia Business Council, believes shared economic interests will see Moscow and Washington through turbulence expected later this month when the U.S. Congress is to add a human-rights clause to legislation normalizing trade relations with Russia.

"We're able to operate on separate tracks," said Verona, who was previously a vice president of ExxonMobil Russia in Moscow.  "That we are beginning to build up enough commercial and economic relationship that isn't wholly dependent on the state of our bilateral relationship on the political and geopolitical plane."

Despite the Kremlin-White House political roller coaster, economic interests shared by Russia and the United States may provide a long-term anchor for the two nations.

James Brooke

A foreign correspondent who has reported from five continents, Brooke, known universally as Jim, is the Voice of America bureau chief for Russia and former Soviet Union countries. From his base in Moscow, Jim roams Russia and Russia’s southern neighbors.

You May Like

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid