Taking B2B to Southeast Asia

FreeMarkets partners with US-ASEAN Business Council

Pittsburgh and Washington  March 19, 2001 B2B marketplace and e-sourcing solutions provider FreeMarkets and the US-ASEAN Business Council, a private, non-profit membership organization working to promote increased trade and investment between the U.S. and the member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, today announced that they have formed a strategic alliance to expand the use of electronic commerce in the member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Through the alliance, FreeMarkets and the Council will jointly explore the potential for developing educational programs and initiatives to help ASEAN businesses better understand trends in electronic commerce, and participate in e-commerce transactions.

According to a recent report by Forrester Research, Internet commerce in the Asia-Pacific will reach U.S. $1.6 trillion by 2004, compared with an estimated U.S. $54 billion in 2000. While the ASEAN region currently accounts for only a small portion of this (U.S. $2.2 billion in 2000), Forrester expects this number to rise to U.S. $69 billion by 2004.

"Helping businesses in the U.S. and ASEAN adopt electronic commerce is a key objective for us," said Ernest Bower, president of the US-ASEAN Business Council. "Commitments to economic reform coupled with the introduction of new technologies in foreign markets make them more attractive than ever for increased trade and investment flows from the United States. Those countries that are quick to take measures to facilitate the growth and internal penetration of e-commerce will have a significant comparative advantage in this new environment. The recent adoption of a region-wide eASEAN Framework Agreement' is an encouraging sign of the priority this type of market development has been given in Southeast Asia," he added.

The cooperative effort with FreeMarkets is one of a number of recent US-ASEAN Business Council initiatives to educate business and government decision-makers on trends and opportunities in electronic commerce. The Council also has an active working group that is coordinating with the e-ASEAN Task Force on an ongoing basis. The Council's members will be meeting with the Task Force in Singapore in April to provide technical and policy recommendations for implementation of the region-wide eASEAN Framework Agreement.

"e-Commerce provides a new and unique means for promoting economic growth and expanding trade between ASEAN and the United States," said Talley Goodson, managing director of FreeMarkets Asia. "By embracing e-commerce solutions such as the FreeMarkets B2B Global Marketplace, small- and medium-sized enterprises can extend their reach and compete for business in the global marketplace. In effect, e-commerce levels the playing field by making available a vastly expanded pool of supply and procurement opportunities, along with real-time market information that cannot be easily obtained through traditional channels."