With Canada, Japan and Mexico all moving forward on legislation approving their respective entry to the Comprehensive Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (“CPTPP”), the American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore (“AmCham Singapore”) calls on the U.S. government to re-join the CPTPP and for the U.S. Congress to approve the agreement.

 

AmCham Singapore has been a leading advocate for the CPTPP as the agreement negotiated provides the foundation for implementing the high standards needed to further economic growth and development in the Asia-Pacific region and represents the future of sustainable international trade. The CPTPP will simplify trade, support investment, facilitate the internationalization of small and medium enterprises (“SMEs”), and instill market confidence.

 

Click here for the full press release.

Over the past few years, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has continued to adapt its policies related to manpower in an effort to increase productivity and build a future ready workforce. In light of this, AmCham recently conducted our sixth annual Manpower Survey to gather feedback from our membership on the impact of recent manpower policies.

 

The Manpower Survey is an annual survey sent to AmCham’s membership to gauge perceptions of challenges and opportunities facing companies when it comes to issues around manpower and foreign talent. The survey was open from October 16 – November 26, 2017. For the first time, we sent out two versions of surveys — one to C-Suite executives and the other one to AmCham members, and received 41 and 336 responses from each, respectively.

 

Please click here to access the full report.

 

Looking at the overall workforce composition from 2014 to 2017, 60% of the companies have over half of their workforce comprised of Singaporean citizens, with an increasing trend of promoting Singaporean citizens to C-Suite level roles.

 

From the aspect of Work Pass/Permit logistics, nearly two–thirds of respondents indicate that they had no challenges with work passes in 2017, a number that has steadily increased since 2013.

 

In terms of education and recruitment, the majority of respondents believe that Singaporean universities are preparing fairly well-qualified graduates for the workplace. However, graduates and professionals from national academies in general lack creativity/critical thinking, entrepreneurial spirit, and leadership skills.

 

For more information, please contact Morgan Hughes at mhughes@amcham.org.sg.

Singapore has been taking center stage not only as this year’s Chair of ASEAN, but also on what would be an unprecedented US-North Korea summit Singapore which is (as of 28 May) scheduled to take place on 12 June. More security issues will surface as part of the upcoming Shangri-La Dialogue (Asia’s Defense Summit) early next month. Related do this, we are thrilled to feature as our Balestier speaker Singapore’s Minister of Defence Dr. Ng Eng Hen on July 31st. Tickets are expected to go quickly, so please register for the event soon.

 

The US-China trade talks had been ongoing since my last update and there appeared to be a framework in place to suspend plans to impose tariffs. But President Trump this week called for a “different structure”, amid mounting pressure from Congress, which was a setback to the ongoing talks further adding to the uncertainty over the trade negotiations.

 

In Singapore, following the cabinet reshuffle, we are very pleased to share that the recently appointed Minister of Trade and Industry Mr. Chan Chun Sing has confirmed to speak at our Balestier Luncheon on August 14th. So do register soon and let Kelli know if your company is interested in sponsoring the event.

 

Now for the Top 10 List for May and what to look out for in June:

  1. Malaysia’s election, a dawn of a new era: this month marked a dawn of a new era in Malaysia with a historic election by the opposition party gaining a simple majority for the first time in over 60 years. Join our diverse panel of experts on May 30 over lunch to hear about what this election means in the short and medium term for both foreign and local businesses.
  2. AmCham Women Pioneers Series Gala Dinner: we always try to bring our members new and fresh programs and speakers. So when we were able to bring together a never-before held panel of four pioneering Ambassadors (from Norway, Israel, Costa Rica and the Netherlands) on one stage, we took this opportunity to launch the AmCham Women’s Pioneers Series on May 9th. This pioneering panel of female Ambassadors was moderated by US Embassy Chargé d’affaires Stephanie Syptak-Ramnath. The second panel, moderated by CNBC Anchor Nancy Hungerford, was equally inspiring and featured passionate business leaders who have been true champions of diversity & inclusion – Wanda Hope, Johnson & Johnson (who flew in from the US for this event), and Vikram Subrahmanyam, Citi. Attended by over 250 senior business leaders and the diplomatic community, it was an evening to remember thanks to our speakers and attendees, and to our corporate sponsor Johnson & Johnson who made the event possible.
  3. Exclusive C-Suite Fireside Chat Series in June: with the great feedback we received on our first C-Suite Fireside Chat (April was Mastercard’s Global CFO Martina Hund-Mejean), we will have two more in June – PayPal’s CTO (from California) on 21 June and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance (from Boston) on 22 June. These are invitation-only, intimate events for no more than ~30 senior business leaders from AmCham. If you’re a senior leader and would like to learn more about our C-Suite series, please email me.
  4. Ministry of Manpower & OneWorkplace.sg Initiative: if your company has strong workplace practices that build capabilities to support local-foreign employee acceptance in the workplace, please let me know so that we can share this information with MoM. In particular, if your company is part of MoM’s Human Capital Partnership Programme, please check with your HR colleague and see if your company has a programme that could be featured in the launch (in Q4 this year) of the OneWorkplace movement.
  5. AmCham’s Washington Doorknock Advocacy Mission: as the Vice Chair of the Asia Pacific Council of American Chambers (APCAC), AmCham Singapore will help lead this year’s advocacy mission to DC on 15-19 July. If you’re interested in joining our AmCham Singapore delegation, please let me know.
  6. AmCham Women’s (first) Taskforce Meeting: now that we’ve officially launched AmCham Women, the real work begins! If you’re passionate about advancing diversity & inclusion in the workplace and have a little bit of time to commit to contributing towards achieving the mission of AmCham Women, please register to attend our first taskforce meeting on 14 June to learn more about the projects we’ll be rolling out in 2018-2019.
  7. Briefing on ASEAN Smart Cities Network: as this year’s ASEAN Chair, Singapore has proposed to establish an ASEAN Smart Cities Network (ASCN) – a collaborative platform where up to three cities from each ASEAN Member States work towards the common goal of smart and sustainable urban development. AmCham Singapore and the US-Asean Business Council will hold a briefing on the ASCN on June 12 following our attendance at the ASCN meeting this week organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We recommend companies in the infrastructure, ICT, and energy industries in particular to join us for this session. If this would be of interest to your company, please register to attend the session.
  8. Appointment of new AmCham Committee Co-Chairs: we are very pleased to announce the confirmation of our two newly appointed Committee Co-Chairs for the Government & Regional Affairs, and Property Committees. They are: Ho Suu Wei, Director of Government Relations, PayPal for the Government & Regional Affairs Committee (Suu Wei will join his fellow Co-Chair Peter Allen, Managing Director, Agoda Outside) and Joseph Yau, Managing Director, DPR Construction for the Property Committee (Joseph will join his fellow Co-Chair Manish Kashyap, Regional Managing Director, Head of Advisory & Transaction Services (A&T), Asia Pacific).
  9. Seeking Co-Chair nominees for Energy and Property Committees: we are currently taking nominations for Co-Chairs for the Energy and Property Committees. If you’re interested in learning more about serving as an AmCham Committee Co-Chair and driving our thought leadership in the areas of energy and property for the Chamber, please contact Stella Soh at ssoh@amcham.org.sg.
  10. AmCham Summer Interns: our summer interns will start their “adventure” with us in early June through the first week of August. This year’s cohort of interns includes 9 talented students from the US and one from NUS who will all be stationed in our office. So do expect to see some new energetic faces at our upcoming events!

 

All the best,
Ann

Since my last month’s message on 21 March, we’ve had a number of “firsts” at AmCham. I’ve highlighted these “firsts” in my Top 10 List below. While we welcomed many new initiatives and new members the past month, it was bittersweet as we wished farewell to our Head of Government & Public Affairs, Dustin Watson and to the outgoing AmCham Governors Killick Datta, Bob Harayda, Jeff Hardee, and Elizabeth Hernandez.

 

On the trade front, President Trump indicated the US would reconsider its position on TPP but the situation remains precarious on whether the US would rejoin. In Singapore, we’ve had a cabinet reshuffle including Mr. Chan Chun Sing as Minister of Trade and Industry, and Mrs. Josephine Teo taking on Ministry of Manpower. They replace Mr. Lim Hng Kiang and Mr. Lim Swee Say — both Ministers who spoke at AmCham events last year at our ASEAN Business Outlook Survey launch and annual Human Capital Conference.

 

Now for the Top 10 List for April and what to look out for in May:

 

  1. AmCham Women Launch: building on the incredible momentum coming out of the amazing International Women’s Day (IWD) luncheon (our biggest attendance to date), on 12 April we officially launched AmCham Women – AmCham’s primary platform aimed at accelerating diversity & inclusion in the workplace. Thank you Workday for sponsoring this launch dinner and to Stephanie Syptak-Ramnath, Chargé d’Affaires, a.i., at the US Embassy who shared her personal leadership journey during the intimate fireside chat. Like the IWD lunch event, the AmCham Women launch dinner was over capacity. Thank you everyone for your ongoing support and engagement!
  2. Exclusive C-Suite Fireside Chat Series Launch: in April, we launched an exclusive invite-only event customized for AmCham’s senior business leaders with a fireside chat with Mastercard CFO Martina Hund-Mejean. The event was capped at 30 business leaders who had an opportunity to network and reflect on their leadership experience as Martina candidly shared her insights on market trends as well as on diversity & inclusion. I’ve written an article on Linkedin on the key takeaways from Martina, so please feel free to view and comment. We’re already planning our next two C-Suite Fireside Chats, so if you’re a senior business leader within the AmCham community, please stay tuned!
  3. Upcoming Balestier Events in May: we have two Balestier speakers in May including from Ministry of Health, Prof Tan Chor Chuan, Chief Scientist & Executive Director Office for Healthcare Transformation on 16 May, and Monetary Authority of Singapore, Ravi Menon, Managing Director on 30 May. If you have not yet registered to attend these events, please do so as the seats are limited. A big thank you to our sponsors Johnson & Johnson for supporting both events, and to Citi and Stamford American International School for supporting the Ravi Menon Balestier lunch. If you’d like to purchase a corporate table for these events, please contact Aisyah at ajaafar@amcham.org.sg.
  4. Quarterly Dialogue Session with Ministry of Manpower: after receiving feedback from many of you on the importance of an ongoing dialogue with MoM at a smaller scale, we launched our dialogue series with MoM on 20 April. Directors from MoM’s Foreign Workforce Policy, Manpower Planning and Policy Division and the Strategy Department with the Work Pass Division provided a briefing on the Ministry’s foreign workforce policy, followed by an extended Q&A session. The event went so well that we are looking to conduct these sessions more frequently. A big thank you to all those that attended this meaningful session, and to the Human Capital Committee co-chairs Paul Wilt (Yale-NUS) and Tom Kraabel (Lebaark Consulting) for driving the session.
  5. Young Professionals Forum: on the same evening as the AmCham Women launch, the Young Professionals also held their own event (which I am very sad to have missed!) at Marina Bay Sands – a behind the scenes and underground tour followed by drinks & hors d’oeuvres at The Bird. This was an event we had planned for many months with our outgoing Governor, Bob Harayda (SVP at MBS) through his generous support and time and with Adam Click (Google). The YPF is aimed at the 40 and under rising star young professionals, and led by a core group of AmCham YPFs. I understand the next event will be wine tasting with a master sommelier. We’ll keep you YPFs updated on this and I look forward to seeing this group continue to expand!
  6. 45th Annual General Meeting: on 19 April, we held our 45th annual general meeting with nearly 350 attendees (our biggest turnout in recent history). AmCham Chairman Dwight Hutchins gave the State of AmCham remarks; new board members were announced, and we recognized 52 member companies with AmCham Cares awards for their innovative social impact programs. A big congratulations to the 52 companies that received the award! If you would like a copy of the 2018 AmCham Cares Commemorative Booklet, please email Hazlyn at haidzil@amcham.org.sg or simply grab a copy at our office.
  7. AmCham Cares Special Recognition: this year, for the first time, we awarded the top three companies Gold, Silver and Bronze in both the Enterprise and Entrepreneur categories for their outstanding social impact programs. Congratulations to Edwards Lifesciences and Survival Chic (Bronze); Procter & Gamble and Emergenetics Asia Pacific – Emergenetics International Showcase Page (Silver); Moody’s Investors Service Singapore and Xylem Water Solutions Singapore Pte Ltd (Gold) for being at the forefront of strong commitments in corporate social responsibility.
  8. Newly elected AmCham Board of Governors: we are thrilled to welcome our newly elected Board of Governors Daphne Au (AIG), Simon Kahn (Google), Shakilla Shahjihan (Abbott Laboratories), and Lisa Williamson (Marina Bay Sands), and re-elected Governors David Katz (KKR) and Steve Okun (APAC Advisors). I’d like to express our sincere thanks to the outgoing Governors (Killlick Datta, Bob Harayda, Jeff Hardee, and Elizabeth Hernandez) for their tremendous support to the Chamber as well as to me personally as I joined AmCham last year and look forward to their continued active engagement and leadership!
  9. Asia Pacific Council of American Chambers (APCAC): AmCham Singapore had a strong showing at this year’s APCAC annual conference held in KL in early April. We remain fully engaged in the 29-AmCham strong Council to ensure that US businesses operating in Asia continue to have a powerful collective voice at the global stage. I am also pleased to share that as a representative of AmCham Singapore, I’ve been appointed as the Vice Chair of APCAC. The annual Washington Doorknock (our advocacy mission) will be on on 15-18 July, so please mark your calendars to join us for this important visit to DC.
  10. ASEAN Business Outlook Survey (ABOS): every year, AmCham releases its flagship business insights publication ABOS in partnership with the US Chamber of Commerce in DC. If you are senior business executive working in an American company, you should have received a unique link to fill out this survey by Kadence International. Please take 15 minutes to complete this important survey which serves as a barometer on the state of business and investments in Southeast Asia. The survey goes out to senior US business executives across all ASEAN countries. Last year, the launch of the ABOS publication was marked by Minister Lim, and gained over half a million dollars in earned media. It was also referenced by the Prime Minister of Vietnam at the APEC Forum as well as by policymakers in Southeast Asia. If you have not received the link to the survey or would like more information, please contact Morgan at mhughes@amcham.org.sg.

 

If you have any questions regarding the above items, or any other AmCham related matters, simply reply to this email and let me know. I’d love to hear from you!

 

All the best,

Ann

I hope you had a wonderful celebration to welcome the Lunar New Year in February. What felt like a typical month of February and March for our business community was met with a few major developments: President Trump announced new US tariffs on steel and aluminum which will undoubtedly effect the global economic and trade landscape; 11 nations signed the new TPP deal without the US; and the imminent departure of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Given these developments, it is very timely that we’ll be hosting a breakfast fireside chat on 22 March with Ambassador and former US Assistant Secretary of State John Negroponte.

So all in all, things are moving faster than ever and we at AmCham are too. As we look to wrap up Q1 with a bang, below is my Top 10 List to keep you updated on the Chamber’s happenings:

 

1. International Women’s Day Signature Event: our IWD signature event “Making Change Happen: A C-Suite Perspective” will be held on 26 March from 11:45-2pm at the Conrad Centennial Hotel featuring a dynamic line-up of panelists: Ralph Haupter (Microsoft Asia), Sophie Guerin (Dell), Harvinder Singh (Abbott Laboratories), Lisa Williamson ( Marina Bay Sands), and Simon Kahn (Google). The panel will be moderated by Theresa Goh of the Centre for Creative Leadership. Thank you to our event sponsors Visa, Centre for Creative Leadership, Medtronic, Courtyard Marriott, Novena, and the Singapore American School.

 

Something New: we’ll also be featuring a “Learning Village” outside the ballroom of the IWD event. Attendees will have an opportunity to learn about change management and leadership via experiential learning. The “Learning Village” is being generously sponsored by the Singapore American School. If you haven’t yet registered, please do so soon as we’ve already sold most of the corporate tables and spaces are limited. To purchase a corporate table ($320 for 10 pax) please contact Nathan at psivarajah@amcham.org.sg.

 

2. Young Professionals Forum Launched: we’re thrilled to have officially launched the AmCham Young Professionals Forum on 1 March. The launch reception was held at Oakwood Studios. Thank you to Adam Click (Google) for his leadership and engagement in getting this off the ground and to all those that attended this stylish event (I wouldn’t expect anything less from our YPs!). We have more fabulous events lined-up, so please contact Morgan at mhughes@amcham.org.sg if you’d like to be engaged with the Young Professionals Forum.

 

3. AmCham Policy and “Point of View” Papers: we are ramping up our advocacy portfolio and a major part of this is to articulate AmCham’s policy position and a point of view on priority issues. Drafting these papers is a heavy lift, but we already have 3 drafts approved by the Board: (1) E-Commerce – ASEAN and the Digital Economy, (2) An Overview of Shipping and Supply Chain Trends between the U.S. and Singapore, and (3) Policies Empowering Corporate Compliance Programs. We truly appreciate the efforts of our committee co-chairs and committee members for pushing this rock up the hill.

 

4. Next Generation of Leaders Program Kick-Off: we rolled out our NextGen program in February with the biggest cohort ever with over 80 participants. Thank you to Stephanie Syptak-Ramnath, the Chargé d’affaires, a.i., U.S. Embassy for hosting the NextGenners at her home for an exclusive reception. Thank you to the AmCham Chairman Dwight Hutchins, board of governors and the program speakers for attending to highlight the importance of this program. We are also extremely thankful to the sponsors for the NextGen ProgramCiti and Rutgers Business School Asia Pacific – for their support in shaping the leaders of tomorrow.

 

5. Welcoming 7 New Committee Co-Chairs to AmCham Leadership Circle: we are thrilled to announce our newly appointed Committee Co-Chairs this month: Aerospace & Defense Committee – Victor Chin (Bell Helicopter); Energy Committee – Darren Murphy (Jones Day); Financial Services Committee – Allison Cheung (PricewaterhouseCoopers) and Dann Sim (Citi); Legal & IPR Committee – Cindy Owens (Baker McKenzie, Wong & Leow) and Josephine Wan-Wen Hadikusumo (Texas Instruments); and Property Committee – Manish Kushyap (CBRE). We are grateful for their commitment and time in sharing their subject matter expertise to drive the Chamber’s thought leadership efforts. If you’d like to be more active in our Committees, please contact Stella at ssoh@amcham.org.sg about being part of AmCham’s Committee Network.

 

6. Join us for 2018 APCAC Conference in Kuala Lumpur: the Asia-Pacific Council of American Chambers of Commerce (APCAC) which consists of 28 AmChams in Asia Pacific region will hold its annual conference on April 4-5 in Kuala Lumpur hosted by AmCham Malaysia. The theme for this year is “Charting a Bold Future: US Businesses in the Asian Century”. This high-profile annual summit attracts over 300 participants including senior government and private sector leaders from the US and the Asia-Pacific region. We hope to see you in KL! Click here for more information and to register.

 

7. AmCham Board of Governor Nominations and Election: board nominations closed on 9 March. I’m extremely proud that the Chamber has received overwhelming expressions of interest and submissions. It truly reflects the strength of the Chamber. A big thank you to our Nominating Committee Members: James Andrade, Chair (Lijan Co), Courtney Lutterman (UPS), and Laurence Chin (United) for their time and efforts in facilitating this process. If you have AmCham voting rights, please check your inbox for an electronic ballot. The new board members will be announced at our Annual General Meeting on 19 April.

 

8. AmCham’s Annual General Meeting and AmCham CARES Awards: mark your calendar to attend our 45th Annual General Meeting on 19 April from 11:45-2pm at the Grand Hyatt. As mentioned above, new Board of Governors will be announced and AmCham CARES Award recipients will be recognized for their excellence in corporate social responsibility. If you’d like to sponsor the event, please contact Kelli at klane@amcham.org.sg.  To purchase a corporate table ($320 for 10 pax) please contact Nathan at psivarajah@amcham.org.sg.

 

9. Manpower Survey: every year, we conduct a survey of our members to gauge the sentiment of American businesses on the key issues that impact talent recruitment and retention. The results of the 2017 Manpower Survey results will be released next month. We’re also looking to conduct a focus group survey in partnership with other international chambers in Singapore. If your company is a polling and research firm interested in working with us on this important initiative, please contact Ashley at amcinerney@amcham.org.sg.

 

10. AmCham Strategic Plan: rapidly changing environment and drivers that impact our business community compel us to continuously review and re-assess the Chamber’s strategic priorities. As part of this effort, we will conduct a strategic review of AmCham’s strategic plan (2015-2020). I will be working closely with AmCham Chairman Dwight Hutchins (Accenture) as well as the members of the Board of Governors on this effort. If you have comments and thoughts on the current strategic plan, I encourage you to share them with me and look forward to hearing from you!

All the best,
Ann

Rapid evolution of the world’s economies has raised questions on the role of business schools and business associations in developing future business leaders. In a recent article, The Straits Times highlights AmCham Singapore’s Next Generation of Business Leadership (NextGen) program as an example in nurturing leaders with the agility and acumen required to succeed in today’s fast-changing economies.

 

AmCham’s NextGen program is a special series targeted at developing AmCham members’ future leaders. Sponsored by the Rutgers Business School Asia Pacific, it combines conversational opportunities with senior executives from top multinational companies, seminars targeting key areas for successful career development, and networking sessions with other professionals to help sharpen the participants’ business views and expand their professional networks.

 

“To think critically, especially through foresight and scenario planning, helps participants go beyond their business environment and analyse the impacts of the various drivers of change in a global context,” says Ann Yom Steel, Executive Director of AmCham Singapore.

 

Read the entire Straits Times article here.

 

 

 

Jeffrey Hardee, Vice Chair on AmCham Singapore’s Board of Governors and Executive Director, Government & Corporate Affairs Asia Pacific and Singapore Country Manager for Caterpillar, was quoted in an article recently published by The Straits Times on the uptick in conversation around the succession of Singapore’s Prime Minister.

 

Currently, there is a lack of clarity on the Prime Minister’s successor. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has declared that he will step down from his position in four years, but the leadership team has yet to indicate who his successor may be. This has opened the field to successor speculation – a political staple for many countries, but unusual in Singapore – and has already raised questions on the stability of the stock market or investor confidence during the leadership transition.

 

While this political uncertainty is unprecedented, the business community in Singapore has largely shown confidence in the continuation of policies regardless of the eventual choice in prime minister. Mr. Hardee told The Straits Times that: “The American business community has no reason to doubt that the upcoming succession plan for political leadership will go smoothly. The Government has a system of testing would-be leaders that seems to have worked well and paid dividends.”

 

To read the article, click here.

Message from AmCham’s Executive Director Ann Yom Steel

 

Happy New Year and thank you for the warm welcome you’ve given me as the Chamber’s Executive Director. Since joining in September, I’ve truly enjoyed meeting so many of you, learning about your company, and how AmCham can better serve your business needs and interests. I look forward to hearing more of your feedback and ideas throughout 2018.

 

Thanks to the talented team at AmCham, the AmCham Board Chair Dwight Hutchins (Accenture), the board of governors, and committee co-chairs who have been so generous with their time, I was able to hit the ground running. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the immaculate handover by my predecessor Ambassador Judith Fergin, and the strong support I received from the US Embassy, in particular Stephanie Syptak-Ramnath, Chargé d’Affaires, Maggie Hanson-Muse and Melissa Brown for their guidance which enabled me to dive right into the role.

 

I’d like take this opportunity to introduce AmCham’s Top 10 List. I’ll be providing the Top 10 List monthly to keep you abreast of the major happenings at the Chamber. So here we go:

 

  1. We’re aiming to deliver ~250 events in 2018

     

    In 2017, we delivered 184 events. This year, we’re slated to deliver ~250 events that are diverse and customized. We’re constantly on the lookout for great speakers and new ideas for events. I encourage you to contact Hasnorimah (hbasari@amcham.org.sg) and Stella (ssoh@amcham.org.sg) to share your ideas. Many of our events are supported by our generous sponsors and annual partners. If you’d like to learn more about becoming a sponsor and its benefits, please contact Kelli (klane@amcham.org.sg).

  2.  

  3. Welcoming AmCham “Newbies” and recognizing milestone members

     

    In Q4, we launched our first-ever New Member Welcome Reception and recognized our milestone members at The Coca-Cola Company office. Thank you to Iain McLaughlin, President of the ASEAN Business Unit and AmCham Governor, for hosting us. The feedback was tremendous, and we’ll be delivering the New Member Welcome Reception every quarter. The next reception will be at the Google offices and proudly sponsored by GEMS World Academy. Thank you to Simon Kahn, Ann Lavin, and Adam Click for hosting the reception. If your company would like to host future receptions, please email Ashley (amcinerney@amcham.org.sg).

  4.  

  5. Our membership is going up!

     

    During Q4, we saw a resurgence in AmCham membership and closed the year having welcomed 125 new member companies to our growing sphere of influence. Thank you to the “AmCham Ambassadors” who continue to make introductions for us to prospective members. If you’d like us to provide complimentary tickets to someone you know as part of our member referral program, please email our member relations managers Anna (achen@amcham.org.sg) or Jessie (jlevin@amcham.org.sg).

  6.  

  7. Revitalizing the AmCham Brand

     

    It’s true we have very loyal members and strong brand equity. But we know that staying agile and constantly aligning our programs and services to the changing needs of our members are critical to staying relevant. So, we’ll also be launching a new website in early Q2 and implementing our digital strategy to better engage with you and attract new members. Thank you to Daniel Heerkens, Razy Shah, Dhawal Shah at 2Stallions for being so generous in advising us and tackling the website re-design and integration. If your company has amazing talent in the marketing and communications space, we can really use the help. Please contact Hazlyn (haidzil@amcham.org.sg) to learn more about working with us.

  8.  

  9. AmCham Women to be launched in Q1

     

    One of things I heard consistently during my listening “tour” when I started at AmCham was the desire and passion around developing the pipeline for women leaders. We’re fully aware that this is a crowded space in terms of events. So we’re looking to rollout initiatives that we can measure and that will move the needle towards increased diversity and inclusion in the workplace. We currently have a small group of amazing women leaders who are involved in the planning stage. If you’re keen to be a part of this group and have a real passion for making an impact, please email Hasnorimah (hbasari@amcham.org.sg) to find out how you can get involved.

  10.  

  11. Hot-desking at AmCham Office in the PayPal Innovation Lounge

     

    In response to the feedback we heard from our SME members in particular, we’ve officially opened our doors to AmCham members to hot-desk in our lounge. If you haven’t had a chance to visit, please do drop by and check out the space. The hot-desking working space is complimentary. If you’d like to rent our Stamford American auditorium or the Visa boardroom for your events, please email Luqman (lramly@amcham.org.sg). We also have naming rights available for one of the meeting rooms. To find out more about this opportunity, contact Kelli (klane@amcham.org.sg).

  12.  

  13. Under 40 Young Professionals Forum will launch Q1

     

    As we studied our member personas and AmCham membership lifecycle, we noticed a gap in our wide range of platforms – namely for the under 40 professionals. We have the NextGen program for millennials, and co-chairs and board of governors are active in our leadership circle. But when you’ve “graduated” as a NextGenner, what’s next? If you (or a colleague in your company) are an under 40 with a minimum of 10 years of work experience and would like to step into a leadership role within the Chamber, please email Morgan (mhughes@amcham.org.sg). By the way, the NextGen 2018 registration will close at the end of January and spaces are limited, so please register and contact Nathan (psivarajah@amcham.org.sg) for any questions.

  14.  

  15. We’ll be much more “social” then ever – on social media that is

     

    As we implement our digital strategy, we’ll be much more active on our social media platforms to communicate with you, and will rely less on blast emails. So please do follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter @AmChamSG. If you play a leadership role within the Chamber, do include us in your LinkedIn profile as a board, committee co-chair, committee member, etc. All of our events are posted on our website, so be sure to visit our website regularly and keep a lookout for our weekly The Networker newsletter which goes out every Sunday.

  16.  

  17. Industry specific monthly networking nights

     

    To promote strong ties among members new and old, we expanded our monthly networking nights to include industry specific gatherings. Doing so allowed members to engage with peers on industry specific insights, share best practices, and make long lasting business connections appropriate to their specific roles.

  18.  

  19. Point of View Papers by AmCham Committees to enhance our advocacy efforts

  20.  

As a member-driven organization, our government affairs team looks to each company and individual to assist us in identifying pertinent policy and business related issues affecting regional growth. Leveraging on the expertise of our committee co-chairs and members is how we’re able to propel AmCham at the forefront of leadership on issues shaping Asia-Pacific. The committee co-chairs have been working tirelessly in developing point of view papers for their respective committees. If you’d like to contribute to the Chamber’s committee papers and in helping to develop industry specific programs, please email Dustin (dwatson@amcham.org.sg) or Stella (ssoh@amcham.org.sg).

 

If I can leave you with one takeaway from this message, it is the importance of our having an open and ongoing dialogue so that we can serve you better. So do attend our Town Hall Meeting on Thursday, January 18 and share your opinions. I also encourage you to contact me directly via LinkedIn or email (a.steel@amcham.org.sg) with your ideas, suggestions or to fix any pain points. If I have not had a chance to meet with you to learn about your company’s needs, please email Celina (cchong@amcham.org.sg) to schedule a time for us to meet.

 

We’re off to an incredible 2018! Thank you for your ongoing support and engagement with your American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore.

 

All the best,

Ann

Calls for Reform to Tax System to Apply to Individuals Overseas

 

In a recent survey of members completed by AmCham Singapore, 25% of business representatives indicate that the U.S. policy on taxing its citizens on their global income impacted their company’s hiring of Americans for positions. With over 4,200 American companies operating throughout the city state, more than 1,000 U.S. companies in Singapore could be hiring foreigners over Americans because of the practice of taxing U.S. citizens on their worldwide income.

 

The United States is one of only two countries in the world that taxes its citizens on their global income. This system results in an un-level playing field as American citizens compete for jobs abroad, including with U.S. companies, as foreigners who are less expensive to employ given the tax rate in Singapore.

 

As Singapore is a trade and investment gateway to the region, with AmCham Singapore the home for many U.S. regional headquarters, 75% of the survey respondents confirmed that their company hires for regional roles in Singapore, such as head of Human Resources for Asia or ASEAN. In addition, more than 85% responded that their company has decision-making authority when it comes to the sourcing of goods and services from Singapore. The majority of respondents indicated that it is the company’s CEO, CFO, COO or Managing Director making the decisions related to the tender process and/or the hiring of accounting firms, law firms and public relations firms.

 

“If Americans were hired for these senior corporate roles, their familiarity, prior experience and business networks means there is often continuity in maintaining business relationships with American firms for services such as accounting, legal and public relations,” said Steve Okun, AmCham Governor.

 

“While the ‘made in America’ label remains strong in Singapore and throughout the region, the ‘hire America’, or at least ‘hire Americans’, is not so much,” said Dwight Hutchins, Chairman, AmCham Board of Governors.

 

Survey results indicate that only 10% of U.S. headquartered multi-national corporations (MNCs) with an office in Singapore have a workforce consisting of Americans filling 20% or more of the positions of country manager, regional vice president and above.

 

As the Trump Administration and U.S. Congress undertake major reforms to the nation’s tax system that includes a territorial tax system for U.S. corporations, so too, should such a principle be applied for citizens. “We urge U.S. policymakers to adopt a system in which U.S. citizens overseas compete on a level playing field with their foreign counterparts, such as through a residence-based taxation for individuals or the raising of the amount of the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion,” said Ann Yom Steel, Executive Director, AmCham Singapore. “Only by including individuals as well as corporations in territorial tax reform will there be a level playing field, which will promote U.S. exports and create more investment and jobs for U.S. companies and American citizens.”

On November 15, 2017, Stephanie Syptak-Ramnath, Chargé d’Affaires, ad interim at the U.S. Embassy in Singapore hosted a reception which celebrated the launch of the 2018 edition of “Crossroads Guide to Doing Business in Singapore & Southeast Asia.” The annual publication, published in cooperation with the U.S. Commercial Service, serves as a guide to help businesses enter and succeed in Singapore and Southeast Asia markets. AmCham Governor Jeff Hardee from Caterpillar gave remarks.

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