The Government & Regional Affairs committee (GRAC) has had an eventful 2016. For those of you who have missed it, here is our recap of the year! To make sure that you don’t miss any of our committee events this year, join our mailing list to receive personal invites.

 

For more information on how you can be more involved with the committee, do feel free to drop me a note at pkoh@amcham.org.sg.

 

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The Government & Regional Affairs Committee/GRAC’s first meeting of 2017 featured Doug Ramage, Managing Director, BowerGroupAsia and a leading expert on Indonesian politics, economics and business affairs.

IMG_2129Doug Ramage, Managing Director, BowerGroupAsia and Governor of AmCham Indonesia

 

Now in his third year in office, President Jokowi is more than half way through this term. Doug highlighted what is going right – the Jokowi administration’s excellent macroeconomic team, sound fiscal and budget policies, popular healthcare initiatives, infrastructure development and a pragmatic “getting things done” approach. Through a series of small reform packages, the government has introduced a range of measures that cumulatively are making a difference for the business environment. Areas where work remains to be done include broadening the tax base, streamlining the bureaucracy, and tackling corruption. While Indonesia is not on track to reach the government’s 7% growth target, the economy should continue to perform in the 5% range.

 

The GRAC also heard about the risks to watch out for as the 2019 elections approach – Will the surge in identity politics threaten reforms and democracy? And what are the implications for investors in and looking to enter the Indonesia market?

 

AmCham GRAC members, if there are more topics that you would like to hear more about or have an expert speak on, please fell to drop me an email at pkoh@amcham.org.sg. As part of our effort to bring you better committee meetings, we would appreciate if you would take TWO minutes to fill in the following survey of six very short questions – https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/AmCham_GRAC_Survey_2016

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On Thursday afternoon, the American Chamber of Commerce and US-ASEAN Business Council co-hosted a discussion on Smart Cities. The speakers for the session included Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Global Markets and Director General, U.S and Foreign Commercial Service Arun Kumar and Mayor of Austin Texas Steve Adler.

 

DG Arun Kumar announced the “Smart Cities, Regions, and Communities: Export Opportunities” guide by the U.S Department of Commerce to aid U.S companies’ efforts to identify potential Smart Cities opportunities. The guide contains information on possible areas of collaboration for U.S companies to help cities to reduce the negative effects of Urbanization. Additionally, IDC Government Insights projected that the market for smart-city technology within Asia will reach US$1 trillion a year by 2025.

 

Mayor Adler highlighted that Smart Cities make use of resources efficiently by adopting more productive technological frameworks. Furthermore, the process of developing Smart City technologies also promotes collaboration between the public and private sector.

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On Friday evening, the Aerospace & Defense and Government & Regional Affairs Committees hosted Kurt Campbell, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, The Asia Group, LLC, former U.S. Department of State Assistant Secretary for East Asia and Pacific Affairs for then-Secretary Hillary Clinton.

 

Topics discussed included America’s pivot to Asia and the implications of changing geopolitical dynamics in the South China Sea. He suggested that usage of the term containment is no longer appropriate to describe American foreign policy in Asia. Questions asked by the audience included the future of the strategic deep-water harbour Cam Ranh Bay.

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On Tuesday Morning, the GRA Committee discussed about recent political changes in Myanmar and the impact of political change on the business environment. The panel of speakers included Senior Director of FTI Consulting Romain Caillaud, Chief Executive Officer of Asia Pacific Mining Moe Thuzar, Lead Researcher Socio-Cultural Affairs of ISEAS Moe Thuzar, Chairman and Managing Director of MSP Group Khin Maung Win. Country Manager of Tractus Asia Ltd for Singapore Joshua Brown moderated the discussion.

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On May 24, the GRA Committee discussed about what to expect after the recent Philippine election. The speakers included Senior Managing Director of Control Risks Group (S) Pte Ltd Dane Chamorro, Senior Associate of DLA Piper Oscar Tan, Regional Director, Legal and Corporate Affairs, Southeast Asia, Microsoft Corporation Dr Astrid S. Tuminez. The speakers discussed about the future of the business environment with the incoming president Rodrigo Duterte and his new cabinet members.

 

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On Wednesday morning, the GRA Committee hosted a discussion at Facebook’s office in Singapore at the new South Beach Tower office. The speakers for the session are Global Lead, Politics and Government Engagement, Facebook Katie Harbath and Director, Public Affairs – Asia Pacific, KKR Asia Pacific Steve Okun.

 

The speakers presented on the usage of social media for political campaigns.

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On Friday afternoon, the Government and Regional Affairs Committee discussed about the impact of President Jokowi’s policies on Indonesia. Chief Executive Officer, Asia Group Advisors Adam Schwarz provided an insightful analysis on one of the largest and most populous country in ASEAN.

 

 

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April 11, 2016, U.S. Ambassador to Cambodia William Heidt described Cambodia’s economic transformation over the past two decades.  With a young, dynamic population, renewed infrastructure, and supportive trade and investment rules, Cambodia is poised to make the transition to a more diversified, higher value-added economy.  The market for U.S. goods and services is receptive and growing.  Ambassador Heidt invited AmCham members who wish to undertake CSR activities in Cambodia in areas as varied as skills training, health, and technology to contact the Embassy, which can help make connections with local partners.

This briefing was supported by the Government and Regional Affairs Committee.

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February 16, 2016:

 

U.S. Ambassador to Myanmar Derek Mitchell (supported by GRAC)

February 15, 2016:

 

U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Ted Osius (supported by GRAC)

January 20, 2016:

 

Doing Business in Mongolia, H.E. Tumur George Lkhagvadorj, Ambassador of Mongolia to Singapore with John Viverito, DLA Piper, and Jackson Cox, Woodmont International (supported by GRAC)

October 2015:

 

Update on FATCA and Overview of the OECD’s Common Reporting Standard, Michael Muncaster,

 

PricewaterhouseCoopers Services

August 2015:

 

China’s Infrastructure Alliances, Parag Khanna, Hybrid Reality

July 2015:

 

Economic Update 2015, Kit Wei Zheng, Citi (joint meeting with the Financial Services Committee)

June 2015:

 

New Investment and Enterprise Laws in Vietnam, Brian Ng, Rajah & Tann (joint meeting with the Legal Affairs and IPR Committee)

June 2015:

 

Business Opportunities Across Asia, U.S. Commercial Service specialists (joint meeting with the ICT Committee)

May 2015:

 

Future Prospects of the U.S. Rebalance to Asia with Kurt Campbell, The Asia Group (joint meeting with the Government and Regional Affairs Committee)

February 2015:

 

Seizing Emerging Opportunities in Laos, U.S. Ambassador to Laos Daniel Clune

About

Government and Regional Affairs Committee

The Committee assists members with identifying and responding to economic and commercial matters taking place in Singapore, the region, and in the U.S. Members maintain contact with Singapore and U.S. Governments on matters of mutual concern and conduct programs based on member interests, including region-wide and country-specific information programs. It also serves as the focal point for developing AmCham positions on regional issues.
Upcoming and Recent Committee Meetings

Co-Chairs

Peter L. Allen

Peter L. Allen

Agoda Outside

Ann Lavin

Ann Lavin

Google Asia Pacific

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