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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs