UPS: Intra-Asia Trade to Explode

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Leaders of Asia's small to midsize enterprises expect growth in trade between Asian nations this year to outpace even the robust trade still growing between Asia and the West, a new UPS survey found.

Almost 70 percent of respondents said they expected intra-Asia trade volume to grow this year. About half of the respondents projected growth this year in Asia-U.S. and Asia-Europe trade.

"Asia's role in foreign trade with the United States and Europe is well documented, and nothing indicates it will slow any time soon," said David Abney, president of UPS International. "However, the intra-Asia trend is certainly one that's well worth watching and one that could present great opportunity for companies with a global presence."

The UPS Asia Business Monitor surveyed 1,200 executives from small to midsize businesses in 12 markets. Such firms form the backbone of many Asian economies. Most Asian business leaders -- 71 percent -- were optimistic about the overall Asian economy and expect continued growth over the coming year.

The survey also highlights challenges for small to midsize businesses in Asia. Across the region, respondents cited innovation, availability of qualified staff and access to funding and working capital as the biggest concerns.

Business leaders in India showed great optimism in their country's growth prospects, with 43 percent of respondents there saying they think India will be on par with China, in terms of economic growth potential, within three years.

A majority of respondents overall acknowledged that doing business in China carries risk. Nearly 70 percent cited intellectual property protection as their greatest concern when doing business in China, followed closely by transparency, government intervention and trust in business partners.

The Asia Business Monitor also found:

· Pollution and the environment were identified as the top social concern.

· Respondents in China expect the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games to transform the nation's economy.

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