By Max Clarke

The fast-growing economies of the Far East represent the best chance for British companies to boost their prosperity, company bosses will be told today at an Asia focused event being held in Newmarket, Suffolk.

Foreign Office Minister Jeremy Browne will talk to 100 bosses of small and medium sized companies at the latest of a series of events design to help firms make the most of the opportunities in Asia.

With the economies of South-East Asia set to expand by 50 per cent by 2015, the government has put renewed emphasis on giving firms the help they need to sell in the world’s fastest growing markets.

UK Trade & Investment, the government’s international business development department, in partnership with RBS is promoting a series of ‘Doing Business in Asia’ events to UK companies. Directors of Trade & Investment from British diplomatic missions in the 12 markets that are covered by the Asia Task Force will be at Newmarket Racecourse today, holding one-to-one meetings with businesses from East Anglia.

A recent report from the International Monetary Fund estimated the economy of Asia would grow by 50 per cent in five years.

“Future growth will come from the private sector. There is a renewed focus on commerce in government and within the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, commented Jeremy Browne:
“I want to make sure companies understand the government is completely behind them and we are determined to do whatever we can to help these businesses make the sales and foreign investments that will generate jobs and prosperity.”

Vic Annells, International Trade Director for East Anglia, said:

“East Anglia has some unique strengths. Our communication links through our ports and proximity to airports are among the best anywhere. We have a very skilled workforce so we are well-placed to export our goods and services to Asia. Many companies in the region are already doing business in Asia but we want more firms to join them.

“The rapidly expanding economies in Asia are providing a demand for local companies to grow and look at new export opportunities. With this in mind UKTI in the East of England recently launched a new campaign ‘East meets East,’ to encourage local businesses to consider this rapidly growing market.”

Last year exports to China jumped 18.9 per cent to £534million and exports to India rose 25 per cent to £231million.

David Houghton MBE, Director of Global Strategic Partnerships, RBS Global Transaction Services UK said:
"We provide expert advice and practical help in the form of trade finance, cash management services and extensive on the ground support in Asia to many businesses in the region and the UK as a whole. The export market has a huge and growing role to play in the East of England’s prosperity. For many firms which are exporting, Asia represents one of their most exciting business opportunities, if not the biggest.”

UK Trade & Investment is organising a series of events this year to promote the importance of doing business in the Far East together with the support that is available. Companies can benefit from specialist market advice and subsidised attendance at business events abroad.

The markets covered by the Asia Task Force are China, Hong Kong, India, Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, South Korea and Japan. They will be able to give advice to company bosses and help the companies get into the market.