US plans road shows to help young Asian business leaders: Kerry

US Secretary of State John Kerry at the Singapore Management University on Aug 4, 2015.
US Secretary of State John Kerry at the Singapore Management University on Aug 4, 2015.PHOTO: EPA

SINGAPORE - The United States will be rolling out an innovation road show across Asia to promote entrepreneurship, and its first stop is Southeast Asia.

"Commitment to innovation and entrepreneurship" is one comparative advantage that both Singapore and the US enjoy, its Secretary of State John Kerry said on Tuesday.

He said the US intends to share this model with the rest of Asia by sending senior economic government officials and chief innovation and technology officers from leading US companies to the region on a roadshow to show young entreprenuers how to grow their businesses.

They will also engage government officials how to a favourable environment for entreprenuership and innovation.

Speaking at the Singapore Management University, Mr Kerry, 71, said that trade, investment, clean energy revolution, growing the middle class and connecting these people to the global market place, are the key themes underscoring the prosperity shared by the United States and countries in the Asia-Pacific.

"This is a moment of exceptional opportunity for the Asia-Pacific. We're nearing the completion of a historic Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement on trade...investing at unprecedented levels and promoting high standards when it comes to business practices," said Mr Kerry. "We're doubling down on clean energy and creating the right kind of growth...working together to upgrade education and grow the middle class." he added.

In his 35-minute speech, Mr Kerry said that "economic policy is foreign policy and foreign policy is economic policy", and American business people are some of the best ambassadors the the country has.

The public address 'America and the Asia-Pacific: Partners in Prosperity' was jointly organised by the US embassy, American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore (AmCham Singapore) and the US-Asean Business Council.

Some 270 government officials, diplomats and SMU students attended the event.

This was Mr Kerry's first trip to Singapore since his appointment at Secretary of State in 2013.

He had also met with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Foreign Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam earlier this morning.

From Singapore, Mr Kerry will head to Kuala Lumpur, from Aug 4 to 6, for the Asean Regional Forum (ARF) and wrap up his five-day visit to South-east Asia with a final stop in Vietnam from Aug 6 to 8.