MORE than half of senior executives of American companies have said in a survey that Asean is now more important for their companies' global bottom line, with almost eight in 10 of them even expecting that profits will improve next year.
These results were detailed in the annual Asean Business Outlook survey, now in its 15th year. They were released on Thursday by the United States Chamber of Commerce and the American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore (AmCham Singapore).
The findings portrayed American firms' optimism about business prospects in Asean, even in the face of global economic headwinds and challenges.
Some 53 per cent of them said that Asean is now more important for their bottom line, while 78 per cent said that profits will increase next year.
Asean's economic growth was the main reason behind the growing importance of Asean to the firms' worldwide operations and revenue, with 73 per cent of respondents saying so.
The rise in middle class and consumer class emerged as the second most important indicator, with 46 per cent of executives singling out that factor.
Almost all - about 93 per cent - believe that the Asean Economic Community is important to their companies' future investment plans.
With regard to fostering regional integration, the respondents cited corruption (62 per cent), improving transparency (57 per cent) and enhancing good governance (56 per cent) as the three most important factors to tackle.
To strengthen the trading relationship between the US and Asean even farther, the US Chamber of Commerce said that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) would have to be ratified.
Said Tami Overby, the chamber's senior vice-president of Asia: "To continue this robust trading relationship, we must complete the TPP to solidify America's commitment to the region. If we miss this window for TPP, it will have a significant negative impact on the US economy over the long haul."