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Thank you to all the AmCham member companies and employees who contributed so much to the success of Corporate Community Day (CCD) 2015!  Thank you too to the U.S. Embassy for partnering with us once again this year for our 13th CCD together and to Ambassador and Mrs. Wagar, DCM and Mrs. Hall, and numerous mission staff for your support.

 

CCD gives us a chance to extend a helping hand to those in need and raises awareness of the importance of volunteerism. In this jubilee anniversary year, more than 2,000 volunteers representing 77 member companies fanned out across the island to conduct programs from food distribution to beach clean-up. These efforts benefited more than 8,000 Singaporeans. Bringing to life our belief in the importance of corporate and societal excellence through our participation in CCD, the participants sought to make positive and lasting impacts on the communities in which we work and live.

 

We look forward to seeing you next year for CCD 2016. Please contact Hazlyn Aidzil at haidzil@amcham.org.sg for more information.

AmCham Singapore Appeals for Swift Approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership

 

The American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore (AmCham) urges the United States Congress to support the creation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and take action to ensure its successful conclusion. The TPP is a landmark free-trade agreement that will promote American growth and jobs. It covers an unprecedented range of sectors important to our economy including commodities, services, and new technologies, and sets standards that will shape commerce in the 21st century.

 

With a population of almost 800 million and a combined GDP that represents over 40% of the world total, the 12 negotiating parties – which include Singapore as well as its ASEAN neighbors Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam – can expect to reap immense economic benefits from increased trade volumes and stronger economic ties within the TPP grouping. This will create jobs in member economies and provide more opportunities for companies of all sizes to grow and expand their reach in the region. Small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) have been a particular focus in the negotiations.

 

In addition, the TPP will incorporate 21st century cross-cutting “horizontal” issues such as regulatory coherence and transparency that will improve the environment for trade and investment in the region. These are issues faced by companies across all countries and sectors; addressing them ensures that growth-stimulating regional integration will proceed more smoothly and efficiently.

 

AmCham welcomes the comprehensive access to markets that the TPP is expected to bring to companies in the region. One of the defining features of the TPP is its commitment to liberalizing trade across all sectors in a non-discriminatory manner. A successful TPP will revolutionize international trade in the Asia-Pacific region.

 

James Andrade, AmCham Singapore Chairman, stated, “The Asia-Pacific region will continue to see high growth rates for years to come. The TPP will enable American companies to take advantage of this environment through deeper trade and investment ties in the region. Increased regulatory coherence will be especially helpful for smaller firms that want to establish operations in multiple locations in the Asia-Pacific region.”

 

“AmCham Singapore applauds the ground-breaking work on the TPP of U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman and his negotiating team. The TPP will enable AmCham members to grow their business in the region. In addition to providing immediate benefits for American firms, increased trade also stimulates economic growth locally. This will add a significant boost for our members’ business interests in TPP economies,” AmCham Singapore Executive Director Judith Fergin said.

 

APCAC Applauds TPP Negotiators on Historic Agreement
APCAC Urges Passage as Attention Shifts to Congress

 

The Asia Pacific Council of American Chambers of Commerce (APCAC) congratulates the U.S. Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiators led by United States Trade Representative Michael Froman, Wendy Cutler, Acting Deputy USTR and Barbara Weisel, Assistant USTR for Southeast Asia and the Pacific. Their skill, hard work, and sacrifice led to an unprecedented agreement that has the potential to secure American commercial engagement in Asia-Pacific for generations.

 

“TPP represents the very best of American leadership. Each of the parties now returns to their respective capitals to discuss the agreement’s details and seek legislative approval. APCAC welcomes this transparent process and we urge the U.S. Congress to approve this Agreement with bipartisan support so that American businesses and workers can begin utilizing the full potential of TPP,” said Jackson Cox, Chairman of APCAC.

 

“Trade liberalization moves forward across the region with or without the TPP. Being part of the TPP ensures the U.S. remains a leader in the region, and not relegated to the sidelines,” said Steven Okun, Vice Chairman of APCAC for TPP. “Consideration of the TPP will take place in the most transparent way possible, and we look forward to engaging in a constructive dialogue to show how the TPP will be a win-win,” he added.

Corporate Community Day (CCD) 2015 is around the corner! We look forward to seeing many of you engaged in CCD on October 17.

 

CCD is our most significant philanthropic activity. Each year, AmCham members volunteer for a variety of causes around Singapore on a single day to create a big one-day impact. The inaugural CCD took place in 2003 with 6 participating member companies and grew to a record high of 87 participating member companies last year. In 2014, over 2,000 CCD volunteers served more than 7,500 beneficiaries through 54 separate community service engagements.

 

CCD is carried out in partnership with the U.S. Ambassador and the Embassy staff. Along with the AmCham Chairman, AmCham CSR Chair, and Executive Director, the Ambassador and Deputy Chief of Mission visit as many CCD events as they possibly can, participating in events ranging from food distribution to the less-privileged to tree planting at park connectors. AmCham and the Embassy also conduct their own CCD activities.

 

This year’s CCD joins the celebrations of Singapore’s jubilee. AmCham members are proud to give back to the community where our families live, work, and play in in this very special year.

 

Click to here read more about CCD. If your company is interested in participating in next year’s CCD, please contact Hazlyn Aidzil at haidzil@amcham.org.sg.

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AmCham thanks all the generous contributors and enthusiastic participants who made our charity silent auction at the September 3 Welcome Back Reception a marvelous success.  The wide variety of colorful, useful, and entertaining items on offer provided something for everyone, and the bidders eagerly responded.

 

The proceeds of the auction will be donated to our charity of the year, the Yellow Ribbon Fund, which offers ex-offenders a second chance. Warm thanks to everyone who helped us make so much progress toward our special SG50 goal of $50,000!  The next chance will be the Stamford American Thanksgiving Charity Golf Tournament, we hope to see you there as sponsors and players!

 

Silent Auction at the September 3 Welcome Back is Set for Success!

 

AmCham looks forward to a wonderfully convivial evening and a terrific silent auction to raise funds for the Yellow Ribbon Fund, our charity of the year, at our Welcome Back reception on September 3.  AmCham thanks the many generous contributors for their exciting contributions to this inspiring effort.

 

Reception guests will have a wide selection of marvelous items to choose from.  Some will be available in a classic silent auction where interested purchasers register their bid offers on a sign-up sheet.  Other items will be available through an exhilarating raffle where hopeful future owners purchase chances to win the items of their choice.  There will be lucky draw prizes too!

 

Here’s the list of items that will be on offer at the Welcome Back. We hope to see you there!

 

Silent Auction Name of Donors Item Value (SGD) Reserve Price (SGD)
1 American Dragons Singapore CORPORATE DRAGON BOATING TO BUILD YOUR TEAM 4,000 900
2 Bruno Art Group CELEBRATING THE ENCHANTED ISLAND OF SINGAPORE BY RENOWNED POP ARTIST CHARLES FAZZINO 8,800 5,000
3 Cognita SUPER CHEF BIRTHDAY PARTY FOR 20 KIDS! 2,500 500
4 Peter Hedger RARE ANTIQUE SAMARKAND RUG 8,500 4,000
Raffle Name of Donors Item Value (SGD)
1 Bose SOUNDING BETTER WITH BOSE 600
2 Brown Forman JACK DANIEL’S NO. 27 GOLD TENNESSEE WHISKEY N.A (Not yet sold in Singapore)
3 Certain Cellars RUTHERFORD NAPA VALLEY CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2012, 3 LITER 328
4 Estée Lauder ESTÉE LAUDER TIMELESS BEAUTY PACK 850
5 Estée Lauder LA MER LEGENDARY BEAUTY PACK 1,275
6 Estée Lauder CLINIQUE EVEN BETTER BEAUTY PACK 200
7 Harley-Davidson EXPERIENCE HARLEY-DAVIDSON – WOMEN’S LEATHER JACKET 340
8 Harley-Davidson EXPERIENCE HARLEY-DAVIDSON – WOMEN’S HOODED LEATHER JACKET 280
9 Harley-Davidson EXPERIENCE HARLEY-DAVIDSON – MEN’S LEATHER JACKET 395
10 Harley-Davidson EXPERIENCE HARLEY-DAVIDSON – MEN’S LEATHER JACKET 450
11 LAMC ROCK ON WITH DEF LEPPARD! 336
12 Mondelēz International DEATH BY CHOCOLATE 300
13 Nike JUST DO IT 250
14 Pangdemonium CHINGLISH DRAMATIC COMEDY EVENING FOR 4 260
15 Sacha & Sons THE TASTE OF A NEW YORK DELI RIGHT HERE IN SINGAPORE 200
16 Sheraton Towers Singapore WEEKEND STAYCATION AT THE SHERATON TOWERS 440
17 The St. Regis Singapore OVERNIGHT REST AND RELAXATION AT THE ST. REGIS 1,200
18 The Fullerton Hotel Singapore A DELICIOUS DINING EXPERIENCE FOR TWO AT THE FULLERTON HOTEL SINGAPORE 150
19 The Westin Singapore DELUXE STAYCATION AT THE WESTIN 1,200
20 UCT Additive Manufacturing Center 3D PRINTING MINI FIGURINE OF YOURSELF OR A FAMILY MEMBER 650
21 United Airlines FLY THE FRIENDLY SKIES TO SAN FRANCISCO – TWO ROUND TRIP TICKETS ON UNITED 2,700
22 W Singapore Sentosa Cove MARVELOUS SUITE OVERNIGHT RETREAT AT THE W HOTEL 1,540
23 Yellow Ribbon Fund SPECIAL PAINTING BY A CHANGI PRISON INMATE 550

SG50-website-logoEvery year, on behalf of our members, AmCham raises funds for the charity of the year.  Our current charity of the year is the Yellow Ribbon Fund (YRF), which helps ex-offenders re-integrate into their families and communities upon release from prison, supports their families, and provides training to qualify ex-offenders for good and steady jobs.

 

Our relationship with YRF is strong.  In addition to contributing through the annual Stamford American Thanksgiving Charity Golf Tournament, AmCham members have directly supported YRF by running in the annual charity race, participating in the Dining Behind Bars program, and, most importantly, offering employment to ex-offenders.

 

In honor of SG50, we seek to raise at least S$50,000 to present to YRF at this year’s golf tournament on November 25.  We are over half way to our goal.  We need your support to get us over the line!

  • We challenge you to be one of the first 10 of AmCham’s member organizations to pledge a cash donation of $5,000 (with GST $5,350) or more for SG50 for the 2015 Stamford American AmCham Thanksgiving Charity Golf Tournament.  In return, you will win a seat at a very special luncheon created especially for the occasion by Celebrity Chef Justin Quek of Sky on 57 at Marina Bay Sands.
  • Contribute an item or service or event to the silent auction at the annual Welcome Back party! This annual get-together is always one of our most popular and well-attended.  Your contribution will enliven an already festive evening and enable us to make a truly SG50-plus contribution to YRF.
  • If you wish to make a personal donation of less than $5,000, please let me know.  Every contribution, no matter how large or small, will help!

Please contact me at cxiang@amcham.org.sg  or 6597-5742 with your inquiries and contributions.

U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Michael Froman briefed AmCham members today on the current progress of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). He expressed optimism that it will be concluded soon. He encouraged AmCham members to support this groundbreaking agreement. The TPP will help define high standards for the region and it is an open platform, which offers opportunities for growth for decades to come. AmCham Singapore supports the TPP because it will also bring significant benefits to AmCham members.

 

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Every year, the Asia-Pacific Council of American Chambers of Commerce (APCAC) meets annually with U.S. Government decision-makers during a “Washington Doorknock” in June.  This annual trip increases the U.S. Government’s awareness of American business activities and concerns in the region.

 

AmCham Singapore’s delegation for the 2015 Doorknock included Penny Burtt of Visa, Angela Mancini of Control Risks, Steve Okun of KKR, Brian Rogove of Cognita, and Executive Director Judith Fergin.  We were joined by representatives of the AmChams in Australia, China, Japan, Mongolia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.  We met with more than 50 Senators, Representatives, and Congressional staffers from both sides of the aisle.  We briefed and were briefed by senior administration officials from USTR and the Departments of State, Commerce, and Defense; leading think tanks and political commentators; and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

 

The 2015 Doorknock coincided with Congressional approval of the Trade Promotion Authority Act.  This landmark step cleared the path ahead for conclusion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations.  We highlighted the importance of TPP in every meeting.  Other topics included reform of the U.S. global taxation regime, the on-the-ground impact of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), Ex-Im Bank reauthorization, and the APEC Business Travel Card.

 

An important feature was the presentation of the 2015 APCAC Award to Representative Gregory Meeks (D-NY) by AmCham Singapore Governor Steve Okun.  Representative Meeks and Chief of Staff Sophia Larfargue (also pictured) participated in the bipartisan House Ways and Means Committee delegation led by Congressman Paul Ryan that AmCham Singapore hosted in February.   Mr. Meeks is a founding co-chair of the Friends of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Caucus in the House. The award honors strong supporters of Asia-Pacific Council of American Chamber of Commerce (APCAC) principles and objectives who have made outstanding contributions over a period of time in furthering U.S. business interests in the Asia Pacific region, and who have promoted free and fair trade worldwide.

 

The concluding highlight was a session that Singapore Ambassador to the United States Ashok Mirpuri hosted for the Singapore delegation.  Themes of the wide-ranging discussion included the TPP and the role that American business will continue to play in Singapore’s economy.

AmCham Singapore joined AmChams across the region in urging Congress to approve Trade Promotion Authority for the President. The full letter is reproduced below. As a reminder, we need to show Congress that we support the TPP, so if you will be engaging with members of Congress, make your support visible.

 

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TO THE MEMBERS OF THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS:

 

On behalf of the Asia Pacific Council of American Chambers of Commerce (APCAC), we urge Congress to approve the “Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015,” which will renew Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). For more than a century, our American Chambers of Commerce (AmChams) have been the most influential voice of US business in the Asia-Pacific region. Together, our 29 AmChams represent the interests of more than 15,000 American and Asia-Pacific companies and account for than $600 billion in annual trade and investment in the region.

 

TPA is an important tool for promoting economic growth and job creation through expanded trade. It is critical to US competitiveness, to US global leadership, and to our members.

 

A case in point is the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a comprehensive trade agreement the United States is negotiating with 11 economies throughout the Asia-Pacific region. TPP will bring hundreds of billions of dollars of benefits both to the United States and to our allies in the region and will establish modern and high standard legal frameworks which will benefit American commercial interests and American jobs. TPP will deepen our alliances and partnerships abroad and represents America’s best chance at establishing the rules of trade in this critical region. The agreement will also help promote a global order that reflects both our interests and our values.

 

The global economy is expected to grow by $36 trillion over the next five years, and half of that growth will be in Asia. Yet America currently is losing its competitive edge in Asia. Excluding China, East Asia in 2014 purchased a smaller share of US exports in 2014 than it did five years earlier, despite a 54% increase in total US merchandise exports in that period. This is a troubling trend and we need Congress to swiftly pass TPA and TPP so that America can recapture its market share in this vital region.

 

Historically, free trade agreements (FTAs) provide a boon to the American economy and according to the Peterson Institute, TPP is estimated to increase US exports by $123.5 billion by 2025. In 2014, the 20 FTA partner countries of the United States purchased nearly half (46.7%) of all US goods exports. This is a remarkable performance given that these countries represent just 10% of global GDP outside the United States. On a per capita basis, our FTA partners purchase 12 times as many US goods and services as non-FTA countries.

 

As representatives of US business in Asia, we see the importance of TPA. While foreign governments may initiate negotiations with the United States without TPA in place, they have proven reluctant to make the difficult political choices associated with the final stages of negotiations in its absence. In this sense, TPA will help US negotiators secure agreements of the highest quality and greatest commercial value, including in the case of TPP.

 

To ensure continued US leadership and the continued success of US companies in the Asia-Pacific region, we strongly urge you to support TPA.

 

Sincerely,

 

The Asia Pacific Council of American Chambers of Commerce

The American Chamber of Commerce in Australia

The American Chamber of Commerce in Bangladesh

The American Chamber of Commerce in China

The American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong

The American Chamber of Commerce in Japan

The American Chamber of Commerce in Korea

The American Chamber of Commerce in Mongolia

The American Chamber of Commerce in New Zealand

The American Chamber of Commerce in Okinawa

The American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai

The American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore

The American Chamber of Commerce in Sri Lanka

The American Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam

As those of you who were able to join us for the 2015 APCAC Business Summit can attest, the annual spring conference of the Asia-Pacific Council of American Chambers of Commerce (APCAC) is the premier platform for American business leaders to share knowledge and discuss issues relevant to American business in Asia-Pacific.  We were pleased to welcome so many members, counterparts, and friends from across the region and thank everyone again for making the Summit such a success.

 

While the Summit remains the premier event in Asia, APCAC’s annual Washington Doorknock brings the issues facing American business here directly to lawmakers on Capitol Hill.  During the Doorknock, business leaders and executive staff from APCAC member chambers meet with administration officials, think tank fellows, political commentators, Senators, Representatives, and Congressional staff members to discuss policy issues affecting American business in Asia. As the United States government continues to focus on supporting and promoting U.S. business in Asia, it is more and more important that frontline business leaders provide insights about opportunities and obstacles based on personal and corporate experience in the region.

 

Indeed, it’s this “boots on the ground” experience that lawmakers value and the reason that APCAC delegations continue to get high-level meetings year after year.  The issues that participants discuss change as the environment in Asia-Pacific changes, but the need for U.S. lawmakers to hear from us never does.  Last year, AmCham Executive Director Judith Fergin joined the Washington Doorknock on behalf of the Chamber and wrote a synopsis of the event.  In addition to participation by our executive team, AmCham Singapore has historically sent strong delegations from our membership, reinforcing the message that U.S. policies and decisions truly matter to executives in Asia.

 

This year’s Washington Doorknock will take place June 22-25.  If you can possibly make it, I strongly encourage you to do so because the issues that Members of Congress hear are the issues we discuss on the Doorknock.  Why not make sure those issues are your company’s issues?

 

Click the image below to sign up now!

 

APCAC Doorknock Poster 1

 

If you have any questions about the Doorknock or any of our advocacy efforts, please do not hesitate to contact me.

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AMCHAM UPDATES

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