Dear AmCham colleagues,
Thanks to all of you for making 2014 another great year for the Chamber. With your support, we reaped outstanding results promoting the interests of AmCham members in Singapore and the region by providing insights, advocacy, and connections.
- Our committees delivered top-notch programming for their members with over 100 meetings on topics of professional interest from the significance of elections in Indonesia and India to the amazing possibilities of 3D printing.
- We introduced new forums to explore the needs and interests of members in the higher education and intellectual property spheres.
- The new Balestier Series brought many distinguished Singaporeans to our stage, from Energy Market Authority CEO Chee Hong Tat in April to Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin in December. Other Balestier speakers included Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy Dean Kishore Mahbubani, Minister for Social and Family Development Chan Chung Sing, Singapore National Employers Federation President Stephen Lee, and NTUC Secretary General Lim Swee Say.
- The Global Leader and Asia Leader Series gave us remarkable insights into the work and thoughts of participants such as former Procter & Gamble Chairman and CEO/current U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Bob McDonald, Stanford Research Institute/SRI Vice Chairman Curt Carlson, and Kimberly-Clark Asia Pacific President Achal Agarwal.
- Regular briefings chaired by U.S. Ambassador Kirk Wagar and meetings with visitors such as Deputy Lead TPP Negotiator Drew Quinn and Ex-Im Bank Chairman and President Fred Hochberg kept members up-to-date with U.S. government policies and initiatives.
This year brought a special focus to the U.S.-Singapore relationship as we celebrated the tenth anniversary of the entry into force of the bilateral Free Trade Agreement. Ambassadors Wagar, Tommy Koh, and Frank Lavin along with American and Singaporean business leaders highlighted the spectacular successes of this far-reaching agreement.
We also renewed our focus on strengthening our connections with the Government of Singapore and on developing substantive input on matters of member interest. With manpower issues on everyone’s mind, our annual manpower survey and successive workshops with senior Ministry of Manpower officials encouraged productive dialogue on Singapore’s foreign manpower regulations and plans to amend the collective bargaining framework for professional, managerial, and executive employees. Our first-ever SME survey was also well received by the Government.
We launched the annual ASEAN Business Outlook Survey at the ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting in Myanmar in August; the publication received considerable attention from ASEAN governments and media. Crossroads, the guide to doing business in Southeast Asia that we produce in conjunction with the U.S. Commercial Service, again put essential information at the fingertips of current and future investors and exporters.
We continued to work with the Asia-Pacific Council of American Chambers of Commerce (APCAC) to deliver our messages to Washington, D.C. In a major breakthrough, the Department of Homeland Security started to issue the APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC). We are grateful to the Customs and Border Protection team at the Embassy for their exceptional efforts to conduct the in-person interviews for the ABTC as well as the Global Entry program right here in Singapore.
Throughout the year, we also focused on building our community. The Yellow Ribbon Fund, which supports the re-integration of ex-offenders into society and the workplace, was AmCham’s chosen charity for the second year. The annual charity golf tournament raised $35,000 for this cause. In addition, we continued to support Singapore Management University students through the AmCham Scholarship Fund. This year’s Corporate Community Day — which included the opportunity to participate in the Yellow Ribbon Fund’s annual run — set new participation records as we gave time and care to the people of Singapore.
To promote our own sense of community, we offered occasions to network with each other such as the Welcome Back reception in the fall and regular networking nights in member company venues.
We anticipate that 2015 will be even more exciting. We look forward to welcoming everyone to our expanded and renovated Shaw Centre premises when the construction is completed in January. The enlarged Stamford American Auditorium will be able to accommodate 115 people, and the Visa Boardroom will have a fresh new look, while a new meeting room and a relaxed pantry/lounge area will offer new venues. In addition, our office will serve as a prominent showcase for the impact of American businesses in Singapore.
Our 2015 Balestier Series will kick off with a luncheon featuring Monetary Authority of Singapore Managing Director Ravi Menon on January 28.
In honor of Singapore’s 50th anniversary, we will host the 2015 APCAC Business Summit, March 11-13, at Marina Bay Sands. With the theme “The United States and Asia — New Opportunities in the Pacific Century,” the meeting will attract 350 participants from across the APCAC region, which runs from Pakistan to Guam, Japan to New Zealand. The conference site is up and running — click here to learn more and register.
To commemorate the role of American business in Singapore’s extraordinary economic rise, we will invite members to participate in an “SG50” survey early in 2015. This will inform a special publication that will provide a snapshot of the past half century and project how we can meet our shared ambitions in the coming decades. We aim to launch the publication during the week of July 4 with broad distribution to AmCham members, the U.S. and Singapore governments, and leaders of other key Singapore institutions.
Early in the year, we will introduce a new Young Professional Program for members’ under-40 future leaders. This will include a series of mini-seminars with senior business leaders and subject matter experts. Please stand by for more information about this program.
Finally, please be on the look-out for announcements of U.S. Ambassador-led business missions to other countries in the region.
We are a member-driven organization. Thank you for your invaluable input on the issues that we should address and your suggestions for programs that will be most beneficial to you and your fellow members. Thank you too for your financial and other sponsorship support as well as for your enthusiastic participation in AmCham programs and activities.
We hope to see everyone often throughout the year.
With best wishes for a festive new year and happy 2015,
Judith and the AmCham team
Save the dates in 2015:
– March 11-13: 2015 APCAC Business Summit
– April 24: Annual General Meeting