World Affairs Councils of America Welcomes Broad Street Capital Group as National Affiliate Member and Sponsor

Washington, DC, May 14, 2019 — The World Affairs Councils of America (WACA) is pleased to announce that Broad Street Capital Group ( has joined WACA as a National Affiliate Member, sponsor of the WACA National Conference, and member of its prestigious 1918 Society.

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Broad Street’s expertise in advising on foreign direct investment (FDI) strategies in emerging and frontier market countries and WACA’s ability to convene foreign government leaders and influential audiences through its extensive network of more than 90 World Affairs Councils across the United States will provide a powerful platform for U.S. companies targeting investment opportunities and seeking policy and regulatory knowledge in these markets.

Broad Street will tap the WACA platform to conduct a national tour to educate potential U.S. investors on available U.S. Government financing options, as well as political and trade risk mitigation tools. WACA will assist Broad Street in organizing bilateral trade missions and curated foreign policy tours to highlight economic advantages of the target markets and to facilitate trade and investment opportunities.

“It is an honor and a privilege to become WACA’s newest National Member,” said Alexander Gordin, co-founder and Managing Director of the Broad Street Capital Group.  “My colleagues and I look forward to helping this prestigious 100-year old national organization to grow into the next century of its existence.  Foreign direct investment is an essential  part of sound foreign policy for any nation and having such an esteemed partnership with the WACA network’s convening power on this issue, would definitely bring significant measurable results.”

“WACA is delighted to collaborate with Broad Street and we look forward to inviting leading investors and representatives of foreign investment agencies as guests of the Broad Street Capital Group at WACA’s 2019 National Conference in Washington, DC,” said Bill Clifford, President and CEO of the World Affairs Councils of America.

Scheduled for November 6-8 at the Mayflower Hotel in DC, the WACA Conference will feature more than 50 leaders and policy experts on the theme: “The 8 Forces Reshaping the Global Economy.”

About the Broad Street Capital Group

Based in the heart of New York City’s Financial District, Broad Street Capital Group ( is an international private merchant bank, which since 1988 has served several foreign governments, multiple state-owned companies, as well as SMEs in emerging markets. Through its member companies, the Group focuses on developing project financing in the $100 million to $1 billion range, providing political risk mitigation, export management services and cross-border market development advisory. The Firm maintains a permanent presence in London, Budapest, Kyiv, Tashkent, and  Astana, .  Since its founding, Broad Street Capital Group has done business in over 35 countries, spanning the emerging markets landscape from Bangladesh to Ukraine.

The Firm works closely with all trade and development agencies of the U.S. Government and Export Credit Agencies of several European and North American countries. Since its inception, Broad Street Capital Group has been involved in multiple high-profile cross-border transactions in IT/telecom, aerospace, health care, energy generation, food security, nuclear safety, hospitality and franchising sectors. The firm’s current advisory and export management portfolio exceeds $900 million.

About the World Affairs Councils of America

The World Affairs Councils of America ( is an independent, nonpartisan organization dedicated to engaging the public and leading global voices to better understand the world, America’s international role, and the policy choices that impact our daily lives and our future. WACA carries out its mission by:

  • Supporting more than 90 World Affairs Councils across the United States and promoting programs and educational initiatives for diverse local audiences – from classrooms to C-suites, from town-hall style community forums to conferences in the nation’s capital.
  • Developing Councils’ convening power nationwide by providing face-to-face connections and dialogue with global leaders, business executives, policy and trade experts, ​social innovators, and distinguished opinion makers.
  • Partnering with organizations that seek to reach out to “grassroots” and “grasstops” citizens, disseminate research, mutually expand networks and transform how people, enterprises, and governments think about the world.
  • Challenging the next generation to develop leadership skills and global acumen so that our communities can better compete, collaborate, and make informed decisions.



Qatar and Australia tie for top ranking in the newly released Fi3F Index of most desirable countries for Franchisor expansion

as released by PRNewswire


Qatar and Australia tie for top ranking, followed by S. Korea and Singapore;

Additional Fi3 indices to rank country appeal for exporters and direct investors

NEW YORK, NY—Feb. 13, 2014–  Fi3F™, a new proprietary and forward-looking index that measures the attractiveness of 180-nations for franchisors seeking to expand internationally, is being introduced today by Fluent in Foreign™ LLC, a New York City advisory group that guides companies as they seek to establish or expand their franchise business abroad.

Fluent in Foreign is headed by Alexander Gordin, author of the international business guidebook “Fluent in Foreign Business,” which was published last summer by the Princeton Council on World Affairs.  The Fi3F franchising index is the first in a planned series of three indices The other two – Fi3E™ and Fi3I™ – are geared for Exporters and direct foreign Investors, respectively.

The Fi3F Franchisor Country Appeal Index™ evaluates each nation on 100 point scale using proven factors that include proprietary data combined with information obtained from the World Bank, United Nations, Transparency International and several U.S. government agencies.  The index looks at factors that include each country’s GDP growth, population size, education, availability of franchise financing, political risk insurance, corruption, investor protection and legal framework for contract enforcement and IP protection.

The top spot on the list is shared by the tiny Persian Gulf state of Qatar and Australia with each attaining the score of 85.7 out possible 100 points. In descending order, others on the top 10 list are: South Korea, Singapore, U.S., Malaysia, Canada, China, Mongolia and New Zealand. To get the full 180 country Fi3F list click Subscribe button on this page, or register your interest at .

Douglas Abrams: The man who left the US enchanted by Asia’s potential – An investor’s story

A sneak peek into the mind of investor Douglas Abrams, Expara IDM Ventures

Originally from the US, Douglas Abrams, shifted to Singapore in the year 2000 when he sensed the great opportunity to tap into in the growing Asian markets. His profile and accomplishments are nothing short of extraordinary.

An MBA from Wharton, Douglas was an investment banker with J P Morgan for 14 years in New York where he looked after the technology and global markets. Today, he is the founder and CEO of Expara IDM Ventures, and early stage fund focussed on investing in interactive and digital media startups from Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. He has invested in over 20+ startups in these areas since 2007 via the fund. He is also an Adjunct Associate Professor at the National University of Singapore’s (NUS) Business School, where he has taught since 2001 and is a Visiting Professor in Entrepreneurship for the Sasin Graduate Institute of Business Administration at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok. He is also the Director of Southeast Asia Business Angels Network since 2001.

Douglas lives in Singapore and calls it his home now. His enthusiasm for entrepreneurship in Asia is palpable when you talk to him. What keeps this man going, why does he bet big on Asia, what were his key learnings while investing in the region? He opens up to us.

Journey from New York to Singapore

I came to Singapore from the US because I believed at that time and continue to believe now that Asian markets are the most exciting markets, and for the next 15 years Asian markets will continue to be the most exciting markets, especially for startups and early stage investing.  I truly believe opportunity for growth is in Asia. In 1999 I visited Singapore (and Asia for the first time) on a business trip while at J P Morgan, that very trip I decided to move here full-time. For purely selfish reasons, opportunity brought me to Asia.

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Genesis of his investment company Expara IDM Ventures

In 2007, I launched Expara IDM Ventures, a public private partnership between Singapore Government and IDM Program office of the National Research Foundation where we have made 55,000 dollar investments in 16 interactive and digital media startups up until 2011. In 2012, we launched Expara IDM Ventures II where we will continue to invest 255,000 dollars into early stage interactive and digital media startups.

In 2008, I also launched a venture fund called Extreme Ventures which is a 20 million dollar venture capital fund, we did 1-3 million dollar investments up until June 2013

In 2011, we have launched Expara Ventures Thailand, and in 2013 we have launched Expara Ventures Malaysia.

We also have a 2000 sq feet incubation facility in Singapore. We are located at Block 71, which is special purpose complex in Singapore dedicated to incubators, venture capital funds, startups, Government agencies in the enterprise and innovation space – so it is a cluster of participants in the enterprise ecosystem. We are on the second floor of that building. We have 25-30 people working on startups in the space right now.

I make high risk investments

We invest into a company at a very very early stage, we are always the first investors in the companies we partner with. We invest in companies that are pre-revenue, companies that are pre-customer, we invest in first-time entrepreneurs, we invest in students/young entrepreneurs, we invest in companies that only have a business plan and have not developed product yet! What I am trying to say is, we get in really early. Then we help companies develop in the initial stages, and they are able to launch successful products and go out and raise more money.


Rethinking “Made in America”

Although the article below by the U.S. Trade Representative is pretty partisan and self-serving, it does underscore one very important and often overlooked point.  Services are an extremely vital component of  the U.S. economic engine and their exports are very undervalued activity with massive expansion potential.  As the global economy expands, demand for high quality services in such areas as engineering, architecture, interior design, construction management, legal, consulting, education, insurance, micro-finance and many others, expands with it.  U.S. originated services are very highly regarded around the world and are very competitive.  They may be financed by U.S. Ex-Im bank in the same manner as manufactured goods.  Yet, not enough U.S. firms make efforts to export services globally.

Yes, providing U.S. services in foreign countries often requires higher degree of customization and understanding of the local market. It requires a lot of support and handholding.  It requires more rigorous risk mitigation and compliance tools then those utilized by exporters of manufactured goods. Partner due diligence, intellectual property and trademark protection and management need to be more prudently addressed, export credit insurance put in place for services provided on open account, proactive public relations and political risk insurance explored for activities such as ongoing technical assistance revenue and ongoing royalty payments. At the same time service providers avoid customs, shipping and warehousing, often treacherous activities faced by conventional exporters who ply their wares in the emerging and frontier markets. Also, with the advent of technology many service providers can leverage modern video and teleconferencing to help augment the process and reduce costs of entry into the target markets.

In short, as conventional manufacturers battle for their export market shares and as competition from China, Vietnam, Europe and Japan forces many U.S. firms to move production or assembly into local markets to be closer to consumer, exports of services still represent a fantastic upside for American firms and many more should explore ways to enter the arena of international business.  In our daily work with exporters, franchisors and investors, we see disproportionate number of service oriented businesses seeking to expand internationally and are delighted at the degree of high demand  they experience from markets as diverse as China, UAE, Turkey, Philippines, Singapore, So. Korea, Brazil, Mongolia, Russia and Canada.  As our nation seeking to bolster its economy through international expansion, American service firms must aggressively adapt and convert their mentality into one of global scope.  Opportunities are simply too vast to pass up and a very coveted moniker of “Made In the USA” should become synonymous not only with U.S. manufactured goods, but services, as well.

By RON KIRK, U.S. Trade Representative, Wall Street Journal, April 17

Most people may think of Made-in-America exports as tangible goods such as heavy equipment and agricultural products, but the Obama administration has been seeking markets for American exports of all kinds—including services. The United States today is a services trading powerhouse, and it’s vital that we build on our already robust services surplus with dynamic new opportunities.

Next month, the U.S. will host the 12th round of negotiations in the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Those critical talks will follow closely on the heels of a number of key engagements with America’s global trading partners, including last week’s Summit of the Americas, this week’s meetings of the G-20 trade ministers, and May’s Strategic and Economic Dialogue with China. In June, the trade ministers of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC) will meet in Russia.

In all of these fora, the U.S. will be seeking new avenues for American businesses to sell more of their products around the world, and to hire more workers in the services sector, which already accounts for four out of five American jobs.

The U.S. is the largest services trading country in the world, with $1 trillion in two-way trade in 2011 and a services trade surplus last year of $179 billion (up 23% from 2010). In what economist Bradford Jensen defines as the fastest-growing services sectors, Bureau of Economic Analysis data show that the U.S. in 2010 had a trade surplus of $57 billion with the Asia-Pacific region, of $44 billion with the European Union, of $35 billion with the countries covered by the North American Free Trade Agreement (Canada and Mexico), and of $25 billion with the rest of Latin America. America’s robust services exports reduced its overall trade deficit by 24% in 2010.

Much of America’s services success comes from the significant market-access provisions negotiated in our bilateral trade agreements. Because the U.S. has few barriers to the import of services, a huge benefit comes from provisions in new trade agreements providing American firms access to overseas services markets.

Just last month, for example, the U.S.-South Korea pact signed by President Obama entered into force, opening South Korea’s $580 billion services market. Already American firms are benefiting in sectors ranging from legal services to information and communications technology. The Colombia and Panama agreements, both soon to be implemented, will open those countries’ services markets wider as well

The Obama administration believes the U.S. services sector can do even more business overseas.A commitment to services exports is why services and investment are a cornerstone of the current nine-country Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations, in which the U.S. is seeking broad, nondiscriminatory market access for a wide range of services. We are also pushing to establish the fairness of competitive express-delivery markets, to set new e-commerce principles that would support electronic delivery of services without forcing American providers to locate servers overseas, and to ensure that U.S. investors can use U.S. technology and aren’t forced to favor another country’s technology. We also worked during the recent visit of Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping to secure a commitment from China to open its market for American providers of automobile insurance.

The Obama administration is enforcing and asserting the rights of U.S. services providers around the world, from the September 2010 case we filed at the World Trade Organization to open China’s electronic payment services market, to the agreement that Vice President Joe Biden struck in February on distribution services for high-quality American films in China.

Service industries are vital to U.S. economic growth and employment, so the Obama administration is working every day to ensure that services exports support more and more jobs here at home.

Mr. Kirk, a former mayor of Dallas, is the United States trade representative.

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