Singapore: The Gateway to Export Success in Asia As a major historical trading hub, due to its strategic location on the Malacca straits, Singapore has long been considered a gateway to trade with Southeast Asia and larger Asia. Today, its outward-looking, export-oriented economic policy that encourages a two-way flow of trade and investment makes this multi-cultural, cosmopolitan city-state an important economic gateway between East and West. As a result, Singapore is often a company’s first step into the region, enabling it to leverage it as a base to build experience, consumer insights and solutions for Asia and beyond. However, does this mean that Singapore is right for your company? Our speakers, a Commercial Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Singapore, and the Managing Director of a market entry consultancy firm headquartered in Singapore, will help you answer this question, as they share their expertise in assisting U.S. companies find success in selling their products and services in this dynamic market. What is the SEA Change Project? The Illinois SBDC International Trade Center at Bradley University (ITC) has been awarded a U.S. Department of Education BIE grant for our SEA Change project to assist companies with increasing exports to Southeast Asia (SEA). As part of this effort, the ITC has brought together trade specialists, subject matter experts and consultants from around the country and across Asia to present a webinar series on this dynamic region. The U.S. Administration is currently signaling a pivot to Asia to increase cooperation and trade, particularly in Southeast Asia. Moreover, countries, companies and even consumers are looking for alternatives to China due to supply chain issues and ongoing trade disputes, making the region even more crucial to businesses’ international success. Our Speakers: Christian Koschil, Commercial Officer, U.S. Embassy Singapore, U.S. Foreign Commercial Service, International Trade Administration,U.S. Department of Commerce Christian Koschil is a Commercial Officer for the U.S. Department of Commerce in the Commercial Section at the U.S. Embassy in Singapore. Most recently, Mr. Koschil was based at the Tampa Bay, Florida Export Assistance Center and served as the Acting Deputy Senior Commercial Officer for the Caribbean Region. Previously, Mr. Koschil worked at the U.S. Consulate in Shanghai, China (2016-2019). His primary role in Singapore is supporting U.S. trade and inward investment and his area of focus is the digital portfolio, including 5G, fintech, eHealth, and cybersecurity. Mr. Koschil joined the U.S. Department of Commerce in 2009 and was based in Washington, D.C. as a Mexico Desk Officer and in the Chicago Export Assistance Center as a Trade Specialist. His projects included short- and long-term assignments in Mexico, Canada, the UAE, Germany, and Indonesia. Mr. Koschil’s prior private-sector experience includes research and marketing at the Fairfax County, Virginia Economic Development Authority, market research for a D.C.-area commercial real estate firm acquired by Cushman & Wakefield, and engineering roles with Fortune 500 oil companies and a global industrial gases manufacturer. A native of Buenos Aires, Argentina, Mr. Koschil holds an M.A. in International Commerce & Policy from George Mason University and a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University. He speaks Mandarin, Ukrainian, and Spanish, and is married with two young children. Sarath Menon, Managing Director, Orissa International Pte Ltd, Singapore In 1997, Mr. Menon founded Orissa International, a market entry consultancy firm headquartered in Singapore with offices in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines. The firm provides a range of market entry services to companies from around the world that want to grow their business in Southeast Asia. Orissa International is also the in-market trade consultant in Southeast Asia for the Illinois Department of Commerce. Prior to founding the company, Mr. Menon was the Country Director of the US-Asia Environmental Partnership (USAEP) program in Singapore, a USAID-funded program that focused on trade development, regulatory policy and business facilitation within the environmental industry in Southeast Asia. His achievements in the USAEP program were recognized in 1997 when he received the Distinguished Service Award from the US Government for his work in promoting the exports of American products and services to Asia. Mr. Menon is an active member of the Singapore business community. He has conducted export strategy workshops organized by Enterprise Singapore, the Singapore Government export promotion agency. He has served as a member of the Board of Governors of the American Chamber of Commerce, and he was also Co-Chair of the Entrepreneur Committee within the chamber, which was active in helping its SME members. He is also a past President of the American States & Ports Association (ASPA), a grouping of US states and ports with a presence in Southeast Asia.