In his 2016 Budget speech, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat highlighted the innovative efforts of AmCham members Lincoln Electric and Procter & Gamble.

 

In discussing how the government must not only assist individual companies to transform and modernize but also support entire industries to do so, Minister Heng praised Lincoln Electric, saying:

 

“For example, robots can handle metal fabrication processes more efficiently, from steel cutting to welding to machine tending. But these may be too expensive or complicated for many SMEs. Recently, a number of solution providers including Lincoln Electric came forward to design and deliver more affordable, modular systems for SMEs. Over 1,000 SMEs could benefit, if this is scaled up across the manufacturing sector.

 

Industry-level transformation works best if firms partner one another, or if industry associations lead the effort, because they know their needs best. Government agencies can support by initialising lead demand or through regulatory changes. We need to form close partnerships among firms, industry associations and Government to drive industry-level transformation.”

 

Minister Heng also reiterated Singapore’s commitment to research and development, offering Procter & Gamble as an example of a great industry partner:

 

“First, we will continue to deepen industry capabilities in innovation and R&D.

 

Of the commitment announced for the Research, Innovation and Enterprise (RIE) 2020 Plan, up to $4 billion will be directed to industry-research collaboration. This represents a concerted shift towards innovation and enterprise, to capture the economic and social value of R&D.

 

Procter and Gamble (P&G) has worked with A*STAR and EDB to set up the Singapore Innovation Centre (SgIC). It is one of P&G’s major innovation centres, focusing on research and product development for its global business units in Home Care, Healthcare, Grooming and Skin Care. The SgIC will be a key open innovation hub to accelerate and facilitate collaborations between P&G and partners in Asia, including Singapore enterprises.”

We recently launched our membership survey on Monday, February 29.

 

As part of our ongoing effort to identify and cater to members’ needs, we hope that members can complete the short survey so that we can better provide services and programs that are meaningful for you and your business.

 

Complete the survey and stand a chance to win a prize at our lucky draw. Prizes include a 2010 bottle of PengWine’s The King, an exclusive Ruinart Blanc de Blancs Georgia Russell Limited Special Edition, or an award winning luxurious Taittinger Gift Box.

 

The survey will close on Tuesday, March 22. We appreciate your feedback and look forward to receiving the completed survey.

 

Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts.

 

The American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore (AmCham) applauds today’s signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement in Auckland, New Zealand. This occasion marks an important milestone for regional economic integration. The TPP’s pace-setting standards will boost trade and investment among the 12 participating countries while its open architecture promises rising benefits as membership grows.

 

AmCham Chairman James Andrade stated, “This is an important step toward the realization of the promise of the TPP. The agreement will deliver far-reaching benefits for American businesses already in the region and signal to other companies that now is the time to explore opportunities around the Pacific.”

 

“Today is a significant achievement, but we have not reached the finish line. To unlock the full potential of the agreement, governments and businesses must continue to work together to ensure prompt approval and implementation of the TPP,” AmCham Executive Director Judith Fergin added.

The registration for AmCham CARES (Corporate and Societal Action: Recognition for Excellence in Singapore) award program is open now!

 

AmCham CARES will recognize AmCham member organizations that demonstrate an understanding of the linkages between business operations and society and that conduct business in a way that creates both long-term economic and social value.

 

AmCham CARES is not a competition. It requires companies to meet certain criteria with their corporate programs. AmCham CARES is a great way to benchmark, share best practices, and look at ways to improve your current CSR program.

 

Member organizations that meet the AmCham CARES recognition criteria will be:

  • Recognized at the AmCham Annual General Meeting in April;
  • Recognized on the AmCham website;
  • Included in the press release announcing the recipients;
  • Featured in the AmCham column in the Singapore American Newspaper; and
  • Highlighted in AmCham’s annual Corporate Community Day materials.

 

All AmCham main members have received a link to apply through survey monkey. If you have not received the link or need further clarification, please contact Hazlyn Aidzil at haidzil@amcham.org.sg.

 

We look forward to receiving your application form for the AmCham CARES program!

Office opening collage

On January 11, 2016, the American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore (AmCham) inaugurated its newly expanded and renovated office in the Shaw Centre. U.S. Ambassador Kirk Wagar, Singapore Ministry of Trade Director General for Trade and TPP Chief Negotiator Ng Bee Kim, AmCham Chairman James Andrade, and AmCham Executive Director Judith Fergin cut the ribbon with Ambassador-at-Large Chan Heng Chee and Ambassador-at-Large Tommy Koh as witnesses.

 

“AmCham’s office expansion symbolizes the American business community’s commitment to Singapore and the region we serve from here. While our community is large and diverse, we all have in common a stake in the prosperity of the Singaporean and U.S. economies and the region. We look forward to using these offices as launch pad for many more decades of cooperation and success,” said AmCham Chairman James R. Andrade.

 

Singapore Ministry of Trade and Industry Director-General for Trade Ng Bee Kim said, “Singapore and the United States enjoy a strong and longstanding economic relationship. The U.S.-Singapore Free Trade Agreement is the U.S. first agreement with an Asian country and a gold standard agreement. More recently, our two countries, along with ten others from the Asia Pacific region, have worked hand-in-hand to bring the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement to completion. This comprehensive, high standard regional trade agreement will create good jobs and new opportunities for trade and investment. The TPP marks an important milestone in the advancement of regional economic integration and paves the way for an eventual Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific.”

 

U.S. Ambassador to Singapore Kirk Wagar stated, “The United States and Singapore are celebrating 50 years of diplomatic relations this year. Our ties are strong and growing, and the TPP will strengthen them further. The TPP is the highest-standard multilateral trade agreement in history. It will establish rules of the road to ensure that tomorrow’s global trading system is consistent with the values and interests that the United States and Singapore share. Congratulations and thank you once again to my Singaporean colleagues for all you do to support our economic relations. Thank you, AmCham, for your strong support for the relationship. Congratulations on the inauguration of this new space – a vote of confidence for the future.”

 

Singapore is the leading destination in Asia for foreign direct investment from the United States and, at over US$179 billion, the United States is the largest foreign direct investor in Singapore.   The U.S.-Singapore Free Trade Agreement that entered into force in 2004 has stimulated significant growth and diversification of trade and investment ties between the two countries. AmCham has grown to become the largest foreign business chamber in Singapore with over 5,000 members representing more than 750 member companies.

 

AmCham has hailed the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) as a landmark agreement with the potential to revolutionize trade in the 21st century and congratulates the Singapore and United States government for their successful efforts to bring the TPP negotiations to conclusion. AmCham Singapore anticipates that the TPP will motivate a substantial increase in trade and investment among and between partner countries.

 

The expanded office signals AmCham’s confidence in the future expansion of the American business community here. This enhanced platform will enable AmCham to better support its growing membership with advocacy, insights, and connections.

 

AmCham thanks its office expansion partners – Armstrong, Haworth, Interface, and Kahler Slater – for their generous support.

Dear AmCham Member,

 

With your enthusiastic participation and support, 2015 has been an amazing year for AmCham.

Collage for end of year blog

  • APCAC: We hosted the annual business summit of the Asia-Pacific Council of American Chambers of Commerce (APCAC). Almost 500 delegates from across the region participated in the largest-ever APCAC meeting.
  • SG50: Our special SG50 survey identified the issues of the future and examined avenues for collaboration with Singapore over the coming decades. Along with two dozen CEO interviews, the results appeared in our SG50 publication, Reflections: Perspectives from the American Business Community, that Singapore government and business representatives hailed as constructive, forward-looking, and unique among SG50 contributions.
  • NextGen 2015: Our new Next Generation of Business Leadership program brought member companies’ future leaders together with senior executives to help the rising cohort develop the talents and knowledge to advance. We are accepting applications for NextGen 2016 now!
  • Programs: Our 200-plus programs offered thought-provoking and business-relevant exchanges.
    • Our 13 committees were more active than ever as co-chairs developed an exceptionally strong roster of sessions analyzing important developments and emerging trends across industry sectors.
    • Our Balestier, Global, and Asia Leader series gave us remarkable windows into the perspectives of Minister for Finance Heng Swee Keat, Secretary of State John F. Kerry, and a host of others.
  • Office: We almost doubled our floor space and can now host programs for larger audiences and offer a wider variety of small-meeting facilities in a sparkling Pacific blue and white decor. The options for space rentals by members have also expanded.
  • Strategic Plan: We completed our 2015-2020 Strategic Plan (click here to peruse it); thank you to everyone who contributed to this important effort.

 

We have grand plans for 2016 as well:

 

  • CSR: In January, moving beyond just CSR, we will launch AmCham CARES, a program to recognize AmCham member organizations that demonstrate an understanding of the links between business operations and society and conduct business in ways that create both long-term economic and social value. Member organizations with programs that meet the program’s thresholds will be recognized at the Annual General Meeting on April 22, 2016.
  • TPP: The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Task Force established in October 2015 will continue its drive to communicate to U.S. legislators and opinion-makers the TPP’s value to American business at large.
  • Innovation and Growth: Our initial innovation and growth series programs such as “Garage to High-rise” were hugely successful in 2015. In consonance with the Strategic Plan, we will continue to expand our focus on this area as a major programming theme.
  • Issue roundtables: Starting in December, we have scheduled a series of closed-door roundtables to discuss various manpower issues with a view to developing constructive avenues to meet current and future challenges. We will schedule additional roundtables to feed into the Future Economy Committee’s work as opportunities to contribute to the Government of Singapore’s deliberations arise.
  • Knowledge portal: Because members cannot always attend sessions of interest to them, we have established the members-only “knowledge portal” on our website (log in here). We are posting slide decks and other materials from speakers and hope to introduce video highlights of major events in 2016.

 

We would like to alert you to a few upcoming changes:

 

  • Membership satisfaction survey: In February, we will introduce a revamped annual membership satisfaction survey to ensure we have the benefit of your thoughts on what we can do to enhance the value of your membership.
  • Keeping your details up-to-date: The on-line system that allows members to update their personal information is now completely up and running. When you receive an email asking for updates, please take a minute to check your listing to ensure that your details, both on-line and in the printed Membership Directory, are accurate and complete.
  • Finances: The good news is that subscription fees will remain unchanged for the sixth year in a row. However, in recognition of the fact that costs have risen since the last dues increase in 2011, we will start charging a nominal fee for committee meetings to cover costs.

 

We are a member-led organization, and our members are the wellspring of our success. Members contribute in countless ways. To list a few: committee co-chairs and members identify the emerging trends and central topics that businesses need to understand to make decisions for tomorrow; member organizations offer their most senior leadership and subject matter experts as speakers to inform and inspire; our annual corporate partners, event partners, and advertisers enable us to offer world-class programming at affordable prices; and broad participation in Corporate Community Day projects the human face of the corporate and societal values we believe in. Your participation and contributions at every level have been invaluable to the expansion and strengthening of the AmCham community in Singapore.

 

Thank you for your engagement and support that made 2015 such a terrific year for AmCham. We look forward to collaborating with you and seeing you often in 2016!

 

With warm regards,
Judith

 

Logo collage

Get ready to apply! The AmCham CARES (Corporate and Societal Action: Recognition for Excellence in Singapore) award program is coming in January.

 

AmCham CARES will recognize AmCham member organizations that demonstrate an understanding of the linkages between business operations and society and that conduct business in ways that create both long-term economic and social value.

 

AmCham CARES is not a competition. It requires companies to achieve certain benchmark criteria with their corporate programs. The program is a great way to benchmark, share best practices, and look at ways to improve your current Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program.

 

There are just a few entry requirements: your organization must be an AmCham member; you must have implemented a CSR/corporate citizenship program for at least one year; and you need to be willing to share information with other AmCham members. A self-administered questionnaire assesses your program against four criteria: strategy/integration with the company mission, sustainability, measurability of results, and communications. Your answers will automatically generate a score for your CSR/corporate citizenship program.

 

The AmCham member companies with score that meet or exceed the program’s four thresholds will be recognized at the Annual General Meeting on April 22, 2016. This will be a wonderful occasion to highlight your company’s contributions and thank your CSR teams and partners!

 

Be on the look-out in January for the email announcing that the 2016 AmCham CARES program is open for applications!

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Myanmar’s opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) has claimed a parliamentary majority in Myanmar’s historic elections. This win is backed by tremendous support from both local and foreign parties – ex-President Thein Sein has promised that his government “will respect the people’s decision and choice and will hand over power as scheduled,” while U.S. president Barack Obama praised what he called Ms. Suu Kyi’s “tireless efforts and sacrifice over so many years to promote a more inclusive, peaceful, and democratic Burma.”

 

Myanmar is poised to undergo sweeping political and social reforms that are expected to improve its already positive growth outlook. AmCham’s ASEAN Business Outlook Survey established that Myanmar is a priority market for future business expansion in the ASEAN region, as almost all (87%) respondents in Myanmar indicate that their companies plan to expand. Since Myanmar’s move towards democracy could facilitate the further lifting of U.S. sanctions, this will most likely be a catalyst for increased foreign investment in Myanmar, as more than 90% of survey respondents there stated that the sanctions have played a significant role in their investment decision. Taken together, these factors predict an increasing American presence in Myanmar which will promote the forging of stronger ties and increased cooperation between the two countries.

 

Besides internal restructuring, the attractiveness of the Myanmar market will also be strongly affected by the transformation of the ASEAN region due to the realization of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). Two-thirds of Myanmar-based survey respondents believed that ASEAN integration would support their efforts to conduct business in the region. Myanmar-based companies, in particular, could benefit from the introduction of business-friendly measures such as the ability to move key personnel around the region and reductions in transaction costs. Thus, the general consensus among respondents was that these measures would have an important impact on their business activities.

 

Consequently, Myanmar appears to have a unique position in the ASEAN region, as it will be experiencing both internal and external reforms. For American companies, the pace of change in Myanmar could be even swifter as approximately 70% of survey respondents cited positive sentiment towards the U.S. as a key strength for doing business in the country, significantly higher than the ASEAN average. Therefore, Myanmar might be the most rapidly improving destination in Asia for American companies.

 

For more information on AmCham’s ASEAN Business Outlook Survey, click here.

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South Sumatra Governor Alex Noerdin

 

AmCham members were privileged to hear the latest on investing in Sumatra from local officials from four of the largest provinces on the island. South Sumatra Governor Alex Noerdin introduced the vast array of possibilities across the island and then spoke even more passionately about those in his home province. He was joined by representatives of North Sumatra (Medan), West Sumatra (Padang), and Lampung (Bandar Lampung) who spoke in depth about the opportunities in their provinces.

 

Principal Officer of the U.S. Consulate in Medan Robert Ewing

Principal Officer of the U.S. Consulate in Medan Robert Ewing

 

Principal Officer of the U.S. Consulate in Medan Robert Ewing chaired the first-ever session of its kind at AmCham. The sold out audience asked tough questions to the panel members and was rewarded with forthright replies that elucidated the potential and challenges of operations on Indonesia’s second largest island.

 

Tourism is one of the many promising sectors for investment on Sumatra

Tourism is one of the many promising sectors for investment on Sumatra

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U.S. Ambassador Craig Allen enumerated to an AmCham audience today six key reasons why the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is important:

 

  • Mega-regional:  The TPP is mega-regional, encompassing Southeast Asia, North Asia, Latin America, and North America.
  • Diverse:  It embraces countries with very different economies (industrial, services oriented, extractive, labor-intensive, etc.).
  • Large:  The deal is very large, representing 40 percent of global trade.
  • Deep:  The commitments in the deal are very deep, getting to important behind-the-border issues.
  • New:  The TPP represents a new approach to multilateral trade agreements, covering not just traditional disciplines, but also new fields such as e-commerce, labor, environment, state-owned enterprises, and transparency.
  • Open:  The TPP has a deliberately open architecture that allows other countries to accede.

 

Ambassador Allen, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Asia and current U.S. envoy to Brunei, described the TPP as the most significant trade policy agreement since the conclusion of NAFTA and the Uruguay Round in 1994.

 

AmCham encourages interested members to join our TPP Task Force.  Please drop an email to Jordyn at jarndt@amcham.org.sg if you would like to be on the e-mailing list for updates and meeting announcements.

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AMCHAM UPDATES

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