News / Europe

    US Firms Prospering in Asia, Russia

    James Brooke
    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.

    You May Like

    No More Space Race for US, Rivalry Gives Way to Collaboration

    What began as a struggle for dominance in space between two world powers has changed entirely to one of joint efforts

    Beijing Warns Critics Over South China Sea Dispute

    Official warns critics that the more they challenge China's position regarding disputed territories in one of world’s busiest waterways, the more it will push back

    Move Over Millennials, Here Comes iGeneration

    How the first generation to be born, almost literally, with a smartphone in hand, might change America

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    British Government to Resettle Unaccompanied Child Refugeesi
    X
    Henry Ridgwell
    May 06, 2016 9:24 PM
    After criticism from lawmakers across the political spectrum, the British government has signaled that it will accept thousands of unaccompanied Syrian child refugees who have fled to Europe. It follows a campaign by a group of former Jewish refugees who were given refuge in Britain from Nazi persecution in the 1930s. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video British Government to Resettle Unaccompanied Child Refugees

    After criticism from lawmakers across the political spectrum, the British government has signaled that it will accept thousands of unaccompanied Syrian child refugees who have fled to Europe. It follows a campaign by a group of former Jewish refugees who were given refuge in Britain from Nazi persecution in the 1930s. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Strangers Share Secrets Through Postcards

    Frank Warren owns a million secrets. Strangers from around the world send him postcards with their confessions, their disappointments, and their hopes for the future, all anonymously. He displays his favorites online and in exhibits, and shares them with audiences in sold-out appearances around the globe. As VOA's Julie Taboh reports, what started as a simple social experiment has evolved into a multi-faceted and hugely successful global phenomenon.
    Video

    Video Largest Ground-based Telescope Under Construction

    While NASA's engineers are nearing the final phase of assembling the new James Webb space telescope, scheduled to be deployed in 2018, an international consortium led by the U.S. is laying foundations and building parts for a ground-based telescope, much larger than any other. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Image Recognition Market Seen Doubling by 2020

    From auto tagging on Facebook to self-driving cars, image recognition technology as it exists today is still in its beginning phases, experts say — and will soon change the way users and corporations interact with the physical world. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
    Video

    Video Child Labor in Afghanistan Remains a Problem

    With war still raging in Afghanistan, the country also faces the problem of child labor as families put their school-age children to work to help make ends meet. But, thanks to VOA's Afghan Service, two families whose children had been working in a brick-making factory - to earn their livings and pay off family debts - now have a new lease on life. Zabihullah Ghazi reports.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Troops Recount Firefight Which Killed US Navy SEAL

    A U.S. Navy SEAL killed Tuesday, when Islamic State fighters punched through Kurdish lines in northern Iraq, was part of a quick reaction force sent to extract other U.S. troops trapped by the surprise offensive. VOA's Kawa Omar spoke with Kurdish troops in the town of Telskuf -- the scene of what U.S. officials called a "dynamic firefight."
    Video

    Video British Lawmakers Warn EU Exit Talks Could Last A Decade

    Leaving the European Union would mean difficult negotiations that could take years to complete, according to a bipartisan group of British lawmakers. While the group did not recommend a vote either way, the lawmakers noted trade deals between the EU and non-EU states take between four and nine years on average. Henry Ridgwell reports on the mounting debate over whether Britain should stay or exit the EU as the June vote approaches.
    Video

    Video NASA Astronauts Train for Commercial Space Flights

    Since the last Shuttle flight in 2011, the United States has been relying on Russian rockets to launch fresh crews to the International Space Station. But that may change in the next few years. NASA and several private space companies are developing advanced capsules capable of taking humans into low orbit and beyond. As VOA's George Putic reports, astronauts are already training for commercial spacecraft in flight simulators.
    Video

    Video US Worried Political Chaos in Iraq Will Hurt IS Fight

    The White House is expressing concern about rising political chaos in Iraq and the impact it could have on the fight against the Islamic State. The U.S. says Iraq needs a stable, central government to help push back the group. But some say Baghdad may not have a unified government any time soon. VOA's White House correspondent Mary Alice Salinas reports.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora