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November 1, 2019

ACEC Leaders to Represent America’s Engineers on Official Trade Mission to Asia

ACEC Leaders to Represent America’s Engineers on Official Trade Mission to Asia

ACEC Chair Mitch Simpler and Former Chair Manish Kothari will accompany Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on a business development mission to Southeast Asia next week, meeting with heads of state, ministry officials, and industry leaders during the week-long tour (November 3-8) of Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam.

ACEC’s participation in the overseas mission complements the Council’s advocacy work to promote the expansion of trade in consulting engineering services, and protect critical qualifications, standards and licensing regulations that are essential to the industry’s success in the international market.

“At the Department of Commerce, we are working to fuel American private sector growth at home and in nations around the world,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “With nearly $2 trillion in two-way trade in 2018, the Department is looking to cultivate key partnerships across the Indo-Pacific as U.S. companies are launching or expanding their businesses in these markets.”

Playing a role as ambassadors of America’s engineering industry, Simpler and Kothari will work with Secretary Ross to create new business opportunities for America’s engineering firms engaged in public infrastructure, the energy sector, and private market construction. According to the Global Infrastructure Outlook, an initiative of the G20, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia have a $272 billion investment gap to fund their infrastructure needs through the year 2040.

“U.S. engineering firms are the gold standard around the world in designing the built environment, and this mission will give us the opportunity to show these nations with vibrant and growing economies what we bring to the table,” said Simpler, managing partner at the engineering firm Jaros, Baum & Bolles in New York City.

Simpler and Kothari will participate in the Indo-Pacific Business Forum in Bangkok, Thailand, which will be attended by Senior Administration officials representing USAID, the Export-Import Bank, OPIC, USTDA, and the State Department. After the Forum, the mission is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and Deputy Prime Minister Jurin Laksanawisit. In Indonesia, the group will meet with President Joko Widodo; and in Vietnam with Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

“These nations have tremendous engineering needs, from energy to water and transportation infrastructure to the built environment,” said Kothari, president/CEO of SHELADIA in Rockville, MD. “The U.S. engineering industry has the expertise and the capacity to work with both public and private clients in Southeast Asia.”

Engineering services are one of the United States’ top foreign trade success stories, with American firms designing and building projects throughout the world. Numerous U.S. engineering firms are already active in these three countries. The iconic Dragon Bridge in Da Nang, Vietnam was designed by two American engineering firms and received a Grand Award in ACEC’s 2014 Engineering Excellence Awards program.

“There is so much potential for our firms in these Southeast Asian markets,” said ACEC President/CEO Linda Bauer Darr. “During this mission, we want to highlight all that we have to offer and introduce ACEC as the primary contact point and conduit for the American engineering industry.”


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