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

    Video Russia's Expat Community Shrinking

    Russia's troubled economy, tensions with West have led hundreds of thousands of foreigners to leave for better opportunities

    Accelerating the Push Against Islamic State: What Will Work?

    Experts stress need to step up military action, address root causes of Muslims' disaffection, counter IS social media messages in a massive way

    Experts: N. Korean Abductions Sought to Halt Brain Drain

    Pyongyang abducted about 3,800 South Koreans and more than a dozen Japanese nationals in late 1970s

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.