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Economy & Business

Asian Business Summit Offers Global Economic Benefits To St. Louis

The Asian American Chamber of Commerce St Louis will partner with the St. Louis Regional Chamber, Missouri Partnership, World Affairs Council and the World Trade Center to host their first Asian Business Summit.
Asian American Chamber of Commerce

The St. Louis region's business community will have the chance to learn how increasing ties with Asia can help boost local commerce.

Four Asian commerce counselors will discuss potential business opportunities in St. Louis at the first Asian American Chamber of Commerce Asian Business Summit on Tuesday at St. Louis University.

Al Li, the chamber’s president, said the group is here to help develop St. Louis into a global business market with an Asian outlook. And with the summit, Asian business owners can network and create opportunities for St. Louis to bring in more international business markets.

“Our responsibility is to help on the Asian side of things,” Li said. “When you look at the global GDP and where things are growing, most of that growth is in Asia.”

The conference includes sessions with counselor’s from Pakistan, China, Japan and India. They will examine opportunities to collaborate and expand Asian businesses in St. Louis through sourcing, exporting, investing and using supply chains.

Regional business owners can expect one-on-one conversations with the commerce counselors about Asian economics. There will also be break-out sessions where entrepreneurs can choose a country they want to understand more about for global business.

Li said the summit is a way to continue to grow a global business network in St. Louis. He also put the importance of building the city’s Asian business market in perspective: Li said over the next 15 years, “there's going to be $30 trillion of additional expenditure growth from the global middle class, and only a trillion of that is going to happen in North America. Most of the rest of that is going to be in Asia.

“And, as a business community here in St. Louis, that is something we need to be paying attention to,” he said.

Gary Kellmann is a chamber board member with nearly 25 years of international-business experience.

He said in the beginning it was difficult to open a business in international markets as an American.

Kellmann sees global opportunities for St. Louis in companies who are selling and producing agricultural products and medical technology.

“Pakistan and India are very hungry for that type of technology or water technology,” Kellmann said.

The business summit will mark the end of Li’s reign as the chamber’s president. He said he is proud that the Asian community is now a part of diversity and inclusion conversations.

“We used to never get invited and had other people talking on our behalf, but now we're getting the opportunity to speak,” Li said.

Incoming president Nguyen Xuan-Viet Violette will assume his position on May 8, 2019.

Follow Andrea on Twitter: @drebjournalist

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