Amb Sponsors

AmCham thanks departing U.S. Ambassador Kirk Wagar and Mrs. Crystal Wagar for their unstinting support for the business community and AmCham.  We could not have asked for more dedicated, energetic, and committed envoys.  They have promoted ever stronger ties between Singapore and the United States and creatively and tirelessly encouraged entrepreneurship, start-ups, and daring-ness.  With our regional focus here in Singapore, Ambassador Wagar promoted sound policies and strong relationships around ASEAN.  Every single one of his trips back to the United States included seminars, roundtables, and meetings in cities across the United States on why Singapore and ASEAN matter for U.S. business.

 

AmCham members had the opportunity to thank the Wagars in person at AmCham’s farewell “A Miami Evening in Singapore” reception on January 12.  Minister for Industry and Trade S Iswaran and AmCham Board Chairman Dwight Hutchins highlighted the contributions that the Wagars have made during their three-plus years here.  The evening was capped with the donation of $30,000 in honor of the Wagars to Special Olympics Singapore.  With thanks to them both, AmCham wishes Ambassador and Mrs. Wagar a smooth journey home.

 

Please click here for media coverage of the farewell reception.

Please click here for the text of Minister Iswaran’s farewell remarks.

Please click here for Singapore Tatler’s feature on the Ambassador’s Farewell.

Steve Okun_APEC Bsiness Travel Card_Nov 23

CBP/DHS will extend the validity of APEC Business Travel Cards from 3 to 5 years as part of its final rule which will be published tomorrow.

 

Click here for the link to the rule.
Click here for the bipartisan letter from four Senators supporting the rule.

 

The extension does not apply to existing cards.

 

In accordance with the U.S. Congress’ ABTC authorizing law, the US can not issue any new U.S. ABTCs or renew any U.S. ABTCs after September 30, 2018. Getting the authorizing legislation amended for renewal is the next focus.

 

Stay tuned for more information.

 

Obama letter - APEC Travel Card

 

AmCham Singapore strongly endorses U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono’s letter to President Obama, co-signed by Senators Cory Gardner, Amy Klobuchar and Gary C. Peters, requesting that the United States extend the validity of the APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC) from three to five years on the occasion of the upcoming Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Meeting to be held in Lima, Peru from November 19-20, 2016.

 

The ABTC has greatly improved procedures so that hundreds of members of AmCham Singapore can travel efficiently throughout the region to conduct trade and investment activities that are important to creating jobs in the United States.

 

“Clearing immigration at airports across the region involves a lot of time and even greater uncertainty about how long it will take on any given trip.  The APEC Business Travel Card has removed this uncertainty, allowing business travelers to plan their time more efficiently and, ultimately, be more productive,” said Steven R. Okun, AmCham Governor. “The card is a game changer that allows U.S. citizens to compete more evenly with their foreign counterparts. A five-year validity will increase the card’s impact.”

 

Read the letter here.

 

The Washington, DC Doorknock to promote approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP) in December has been canceled.  The Asia Pacific Council of American Chambers (APCAC) is working to recalibrate our strategy.

 

Our next opportunity for APCAC member chambers to gather is at the annual APCAC Spring Summit. Please mark your calendars for April 19 to 22, 2017 in Guangzhou, China.  This will be our next chance for chambers to work together to refine our messages on engagement with Asia, tax reform, FATCA, and other priority themes.  We will post the program and registration information as it becomes available.

Nov 4 Letter to Congress - TPP

25 American Chambers of Commerce in the Asia-Pacific have sent a letter to the leadership of the US Congress.  The letter is an unprecedented display of unity and urgency from APCAC members whose collective membership represents more than 15,000 companies, 50,000 overseas American workers, and annual trade/investment volumes over $600 billion.

 

Please read the letter here.

 

On behalf of its members and the American business community in Singapore, AmCham Singapore has sent a letter to members of Congress urging approval of the TPP.  Having the potential to strengthen our nation’s commercial, strategic, and geopolitical ties across one of the fastest growing parts of the world, the TPP will boost economic growth and job creation in the U.S. and in the other TPP nations. It will expand global trade on a level playing field for businesses and workers. AmCham Singapore stresses the importance of seizing this window of opportunity to pass TPP and send a message to the region and to the world that the U.S. is not going to sit on the sidelines. We’re going to be in on the action.

Read letter here.

AmCham Washington Doorknock

December 4-7, 2016

Making the case for the TPP in Washington D.C.

washington doorknock

WHEN
5.00 pm
Sunday, December 4, 2016 – Wednesday, December 7,  2016WHERE
Washington, DC

 

Join AmChams in Washington, DC to push for TPP ratification this year!

APCAC – the Asia-Pacific Council of American Chambers of Commerce — is organizing a select delegation of business leaders to visit Washington, DC. to lobby key Members of Congress for urgent passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) during their “Lame Duck” session after the election.  In our judgment, this is the last chance to save TPP.

We need credible voices from the front lines of business across the region to explain why it really is “now or never” for the TPP.

This special APCAC Washington Doorknock gives AmCham representatives from across the Asia-Pacific the chance to make the case for TPP ratification by the US Congress one last time. If your company wants to see this crucial free trade framework passed in 2016, join us in Washington as we meet with legislators whose support is critical for US approval of the TPP.

 

For more information and to sign up, please contact Head of Government and Public Affairs Dustin Watson at dwatson@amcham.org.sg today.  AmCham will cover the registration fees for the first four corporate members who register — first come-first served, one per company!

Global Entry 400x

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Trusted Traveler applicants now have an opportunity to schedule/reschedule for an interview appointment at the upcoming CBP Trusted Traveler Enrollment event in Singapore. To register for this event, log on to your Global Online Enrollment System (GOES) account and schedule your appointment online.

 

Select the interview location: “Singapore International Chamber of Commerce

 

The event is open to ALL eligible CBP Trusted Traveler applicants conditionally approved for the Global Entry Program or/and the APEC Business Travel Card.

 

Date: 2016 October 31 – November 4 (Mon-Fri)*

Time: From 8.30 am to 4.30 pm

Venue: Singapore International Chamber of Commerce 6 Raffles Quay #10-01, Singapore 048580

 

*Please note: Applicants are to contact the Singapore, US Embassy CBP at email: globalentrysingapore@state.gov for inquiries on appointments and other information.

 

Note that anyone who has a scheduled appointment at the Embassy after the event (the regular Wednesday appointment slots are booked through early 2018) may reschedule using their GOES online account for the October 31 – November 4 event dates at SICC, while slots are available.  Why wait until next year if you’ve already paid the $100?

 

Also, Americans can sign up for the Singapore Immigration & Checkpoints Authority’s enhanced-Immigration Automated Clearance System (“e-gates”) at Changi Airport now.  Most Americans living here already get it through their employment pass, but Americans who travel here from the US can now sign up when they are in Singapore using the ICA website.  Please share this information with colleagues who travel frequently to Singapore.

 

Sustainability Header

The strength of the business case for sustainability is undeniable and rising.  So why don’t more companies embrace sustainability as a core principle?

Could it be because lots of people aren’t familiar with the opportunities in their own sector, or incorrectly think of green washing when they hear the word “sustainability”?   As they examined the business case for sustainability, our August 25 AmCham panel highlighted the many dimensions of sustainability – yes, it is about sound environmental stewardship, but it is also about investing in employee development and welfare and grasping the big opportunities that are developing because of pressing global needs.

Every company operates across at least some measures of sustainability in order to survive in today’s hyper-competitive world.  Our panel also explored how to encourage boards and c-suites to look beyond the next quarter.  Ideas included introducing management and governance benchmarks to identify and take advantage of existing opportunities, strategically aligning business goals with investments in sustainability and climate change adaptation, and recognizing that in a changing world sustainability will increasingly be a key issue for business in terms of commercial potential and social expectations.

AmCham thanks the members of our inaugural sustainability panel — Esther An, Chief Sustainability Officer, City Developments Ltd; Matt Harris, President and CEO, AIG Asia Pacific; Paul Kent, Director for Economics and Regulation, KPMG; Zach Wilson, Managing Director, Singapore, Alfa Tech VestAsia Pte Ltd; and William Clune, Sustainable Earth Office Policy Director, Nanyang Technological University.

 

We look forward to welcoming our members at future sustainability discussions.

During his State Visit to the US, Singapore Prime Minister Lee said the following:

 

“Singapore fervently hopes that the U.S. will stay engaged and maintain its indispensable role in the Asia-Pacific. In particular, we hope, and I’m sure the president shares this hope, that Congress will ratify the TPP soon.”

 

AmCham Singapore agrees completely. The TPP is not only economically in the US interest, it keeps the US front-and-center as an “indispensable” nation in the Asia Pacific.

 

In an opinion editorial in the August 24th Straits Times, AmCham Singapore TPP Task Force Chairman Steven Okun, and Task Force member and President of the Asia Trade Center Deborah Elms discuss the economic and strategic imperative of having the US Congress pass this TPP in this session and having President Obama sign in into law.

 

If this does not happen, those in the region believe it will be years before the US will be prepared to engage with credibility on crafting an amended agreement. As such, the TPP members will look to other agreements in which to advance their economic interests – at the expense of the US’ strategic and economic interest.

 

Who will step in with the US absence? Three candidates are China, the European Union (EU), and Australia, all of which compete directly with the US in the region.  US exporters are keenly aware of the advantages lost to their competition if the US does not move ahead.

 

From a multilateral perspective, the remaining TPP members will look to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) as the next step. This agreement lacks much of what makes the TPP so special – chapters that address 21st century doing business issues. RCEP is missing the US, but does include China, Indonesia, Japan and nearly every other key US trading partner in Asia.

 

The stakes in ratifying TPP are not just for US businesses and workers to gain the benefits of TPP itself, but also for the United States’ ability to remain competitive and advance our interests in the region. Those of us who live and work in the region know this first-hand.

 

AmCham Singapore urges the US Congress must pass the TPP in this session.

 

Click here for a link to the AmCham Position Paper.

 

Click here for a link to the Op-Ed in the Straits Times.

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AMCHAM UPDATES

This blog features event recaps, updates on the latest happenings at AmCham, and commentaries from the AmCham staff