By Claire West

With the economies of South-East Asia set to expand by 50% by 2015, Secretary of State Vince Cable will today urge hundreds of UK businesses to act now to seize opportunities in these fast-growing markets.

UK Trade & Investment, the government’s international business development department, has formed a partnership with RBS Global Transaction Services to promote a series of ‘Doing Business in Asia’ events to UK companies.

British companies cannot just rely on business with markets close to home such as Europe. This series of ‘Doing Business in Asia’ events aims to persuade UK executives that they cannot be left out of this fast-growing market.
A recent report from the International Monetary Fund estimated the economy of Asia would grow by 50 per cent in five years.

Speaking to 300 businesses in London on Thursday, Business Secretary Vince Cable will say businesses need to make a step-change in exporting to be successful in the future.
He will say:

“There needs to be a change to the way British companies think about exporting.

“Doing Business in Asia is no longer something for big companies, something that is nice to do; it is a must for as many British companies as possible.

“The advantages of exporting are overwhelming. If British companies do not make the most of the business opportunities out there others will.

“The government is determined to make the transition to an economy based on Britain as a trading nation and business in Asia is part of that vision.”

RBS Global Transaction Services division has a presence in 11 countries across Asia. In the UK, the bank has the largest team of Institute of Export CITA qualified international trade advisers. Chris Sullivan, CEO Corporate Banking division, RBS, said: "We are proud to partner with UKTI at these events and see this as an opportunity to listen to our customers and help them understand the benefits and overcome the obstacles of trading in Asia. We are here to offer the advice and tools for UK companies looking at growth opportunities in the region, providing them with connections to new markets, suppliers and counterparties."

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.

Business Secretary Vince Cable will deliver the keynote speech at the event in London on Thursday and there will be a similar event in Manchester on Friday.

Both events will be attended by British ambassadors and High Commissioners from the markets covered by the Asia Task Force including China, India, Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand, South Korea and Japan. They will be able to give advice to company bosses and help the companies get into the market.

Other events are planned across the country over the coming months for local business people to hear first hand from trade officials just how to get into these markets.