The number of constituents registering opposition to the Transpacific Partnership (TPP) vastly outnumbers the number of people expressing support, according to a delegation of U.S. Congressional staff visiting Singapore this week.  During a breakfast meeting  at AmCham on April 8, the House and Senate staffers said that supporters of TPP need to speak up now — and in great numbers.   The Congressional staff painted a clear picture of the environment on Capitol Hill right now, stating that all they are seeing is buttons like this:

To counter the negative messages that have bombarded their offices for the past three years, Senators and Representatives need to hear from TPP supporters in corporate headquarters and in their districts.  Messages of how the TPP will benefit a firm or a constituent personally will have important credibility.  To counter the sheer weight of opposing numbers, these messages need to come from large numbers of constituents back home.

 

Now is the time for U.S. businesses to mobilize their leadership, employees, suppliers, and contractors to write, email, and telephone their Washington representatives.  Let’s all help swing the numerical balance of constituent opinion in favor of approving this critical trade deal.

 

I’m really looking forward to the APCAC Washington Doorknock the week of June 22.  This will be our chance to take our message about TPP and tax reform to the Hill, the Administration, and leading think tanks all over town.  If the TPP is coming down the negotiating home stretch, this will be the perfect time to show why we care.  The Congressional Staff indicated that they had never seen a pro-TPP button, so I’m looking getting one of these made and wearing it during the Doorknock:

I love tpp button (final) big

If you want to join the Singapore Doorknock delegation, please click on the links below.

 

Washington Doorknock

LKY

 

On behalf of the Board of Governors, membership, and executive office of The American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore, may I express our deepest condolences upon the death of your father, former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. His contributions to this nation were profound and enduring. His strategic vision, inspired policies, and purposeful leadership created and sustained the environment that has allowed Singaporeans and foreign friends to pursue together the shared goal of a prosperous and economically vibrant country.  We join the government and people of Singapore in mourning the loss of a great nation-builder and global leader.

– James R. Andrade, AmCham Singapore Chairman and VP, Research Development & Quality, Asia Pacific, Mondelēz International

 

Investors would be drawn by Singapore’s predictable, enforceable and fair rule of law. Mr. Lee Kuan Yew’s enduring legacy will continue to inform investors’ decisions.

– Judith Fergin, Executive Director, AmCham Singapore *The quote along with those of other business leaders may be found here.

 

The American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore joins the people of Singapore in mourning the passing of an historic leader. Former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew’s contributions to modern Singapore were profound and enduring. His strategic vision, inspired policies, and purposeful economic leadership transformed this nation into the prosperous metropolis that we inhabit today. AmCham Singapore’s board and members express our deepest sympathy to his family and the people of Singapore upon this great loss.

AmCham Singapore *The message along with those of other world leaders and organizations may be found here.

 

Singapore is an extraordinary success story of our modern world, much admired beyond its shores because of the vision of Mr Lee Kuan Yew. He dedicated his life to transforming the nation from Third World to First World in just 50 years, making it a world class financial and business hub. Singapore will continue to thrive for many years to come because of the strong foundation that he has laid during his time of service in government.

– Citi

 

Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew’s life was defined by political turmoil. His worldview was shaped by his participation in, or witness to, the major convulsions of his era – Japanese militarism, the Chinese revolution, anti-colonialism, the Cold War, the challenges of economic development, racial schisms, and religious violence. In his search for stability amidst the chaos and blood of the 20th century, he reached for Confucianism, with its emphasis on order, hierarchy, and cohesion. Lee leaves us with five core lessons from his 60-plus years in public life…On a personal level, Lee earned a well-deserved reputation for intellectual capabilities, lucidity of expression, and personal probity…

Frank Lavin, CEO, Export Now *The full article may be found here.

 

We at ExxonMobil will never forget the important and lasting contributions made by Mr Lee Kuan Yew. His leadership and policies helped us build our business and bonds in Singapore. For us, his legacy can be seen in the strong foundation on which our Singapore business now stands.  We look forward to continuing to honor his achievements by working to grow our business and deepen our ties here.

– ExxonMobil

 

GE was one of the pioneers who invested in manufacturing plants in Jurong industrial estate in 1969. Since then, GE has developed in tandem with Singapore’s aspirations – from low wage assembly operations to a high technology centre providing solutions to our global customers and a regional financial services and commercial hub. All 8 of GE’s businesses have a presence in Singapore. GE is a keen participant in Singapore’s continuous transformation because Singapore brings out the best in us. Singapore’s single-minded push for innovative solutions to your water security challenge made it an easy decision for us to establish a 70+ strong Singapore Water Technology Centre, which was opened in 2009.

– GE

 

Singapore provided our company with a safe platform and environment in which to expand outside of the US market, allowing the ownership of the company to feel secure in their investment outside of their comfort zone.

– Marking Services

 

The Procter & Gamble Company extends our deepest condolences to the nation and the people of Singapore.  We stand together in grieving this loss and honoring his legacy.

 

Mr. Lee Kuan Yew transformed Singapore, making the country a global economic power and a great place for international companies to invest and conduct business.  P&G is honored to call Singapore our home in Asia, and we value our long-term partnership with the government and people of Singapore.

 

As Singapore marks the 50th anniversary of its independence this year, the founding Prime Minister will be remembered as the architect who helped transition Singapore into one of the most dynamic international business hubs in the world.  He will be greatly missed.

– Procter & Gamble

 

In addition, the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) and the Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF) organized a program of tribute to former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew and invited the senior Singaporean and international business associations to participate.

LKY tribute

 

AmCham Chairman James Andrade spoke on behalf of the Chamber.

LKY James Andrade

 

In addition, former AmCham Chairman Landis Hicks also spoke at the session.

LKY Landis Hicks

 

AmCham Executive Director Judith Fergin and members of the AmCham Board of Governors at the program of tribute.

LKY AmCham Board

 

 

main backdrop

 

We would like to warmly thank everyone who contributed so generously to the 2015 APCAC Business Summit March 11-13.  Our sponsors and partners, speakers and presenters, delegates, and volunteers ensured that a grand time — informative, collegial, and enjoyable — was had by all.  We were proud to welcome representatives from the 27 members of the Asia Pacific Council of American Chambers of Commerce to our conference.  Thank you from the governors, members, and executive staff of AmCham Singapore!

 

Please click here for an more extended recap of the Summit.  In addition, we will load all of the pictures from the Summit in next few days.  Stay tuned!

GIPC2015-538x218

The 2015 Global Intellectual Property Center Index ranks Singapore first among Asian economies and fifth among all economies surveyed in this map of the international IP environment.  The index, developed by the Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC) of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, investigates the IP conditions of 30 economies that comprise nearly 80 percent of global gross domestic product.

 

Offering compelling, data-based evidence of the economic value of rigorous IP regimes, a new annex to the 2015 GIPC Index provides first-of-its-kind data on correlations between strong IP protections and thriving innovative economies.  The annex identifies a positive relationship between:

 

  • Strong IP rights and R&D expenditure: Companies in economies with advanced IP systems are 40% more likely to invest in R&D.
  • Strong IP rights and high-value job growth: Economies with favorable IP regimes employ more than half their workforce in knowledge-intensive sectors.
  • Strong IP rights and FDI: Strong IP protections in the life sciences sector account for 40% of life sciences investment. Additionally, economies with beneficial IP protection see 9-10 times more life sciences investment than countries with weak IP protections.
  • Strong IP rights and innovative activity: Economies with robust IP environments yield 50% more innovative output compared to countries with IP regimes in need of improvement.

 

The report highlights Singapore’s many strengths among the 30 indicators examined, including recent amendments to the Copyright Act that strengthened the overall framework and mechanisms available against online piracy, an advanced national IP framework, patent linkage and an adequate patent enforcement legal framework, an adequate regime for legal software in the government, a legal framework provides for protection of unregistered marks, enforcement of exclusive trademark rights, and the existence of ex officio authority for customs officials.

 

The report enumerates key areas of weakness, including still relatively high rates of software piracy as surveyed by BSA 2014, high rates of per capita P2P sharing, relatively high rates of trademark counterfeiting, and limits on ex officio powers with regards to in-transit seizure.

 

Singapore made the decision decades ago that its economy would grow more rapidly, the quality of the jobs for its citizens would improve more quickly, and the forward momentum of its development would accelerate more reliably if it implemented a world-class system to protect IP.

 

American companies recognize the immense value of Singapore’s IP regime.  We can all see the results in the remarkable expansion of R&D facilities, innovation centers, and manufacturing platforms for ultra-sophisticated products.

 

Singapore’s position in the 2015 GIPC Index as the highest-rated country in Asia is a real tribute to Singapore’s determination.  The authorities recognize that IP creation is never static and they continue to bring important improvements to Singapore’s IP system.  AmCham Singapore looks forward to continuing to collaborate with the government in this vital area.

AmCham Governors and Congressmen

AmCham Governors and Congressmen

 

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) and members of his congressional delegation have urged AmCham Singapore member companies to deliver the message to their Congressional representatives and American voters that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is important for American jobs and economic growth—and to do it now.

 

TPP negotiations are approaching the endgame. As negotiators focus on wrapping up, the White House and the Hill are buckling down on what they need to do to secure Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) and subsequent congressional approval of the TPP.

 

The President put TPA and the TPP squarely on the agenda in his State of the Union Address in January. In response, Chairman Ryan told MSNBC, “I agree with every word he [President Obama] said in the speech with respect to trade and Asia and getting in there and helping write the rules instead of China writing the rules. The president is in the middle of negotiating a trade agreement with Asian nations, representing 40 percent of global GDP. This means more jobs for America. This means more exports for us.”

 

Lead U.S. negotiator Michael Froman testified to the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Committee on Finance that “the Administration is committed to securing bipartisan Trade Promotion Authority. America has always been strongest when it speaks with one voice, and that’s exactly what Trade Promotion Authority, or TPA, helps us do.” In his statement to the Senate hearing, Committee Chairman Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) stated, “the time for TPA is now.”

 

AmCham members should seize the moment to explain to their Senators and Representatives why the TPP’s success matters.

 

Chairman Ryan addresses AmCham members

Chairman Ryan addresses AmCham members

 

This was Chairman Ryan’s advice to AmCham members on February 16 during his delegation’s visit to Singapore. In his words, “the stakes are high — because how we act today will set the rules of the global economy for years. Right now, other countries are rewriting those rules without us, and we’re falling behind. For instance, in the first ten years of this century, the countries of East Asia completed 48 trade agreements. The U.S., on the other hand, negotiated just two in that region. Not surprisingly, our exporters’ share of East Asia’s imports fell by 42 percent. On the other hand, if these trade talks are successful, they could bring huge benefits to the U.S. economy. For instance, the two biggest agreements currently in the works — the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership — would give our exporters greater access to 1 billion customers and two-thirds of global GDP. The fact is, if we don’t write the rules of the global economy, other countries will.”

 

Chairman Ryan and his delegation made Singapore the first stop on their three-country journey to advance the U.S. trade agenda. With members from the Ways and Means and Foreign Affairs Committees, Chairman Ryan’s delegation included three co-chairs of the congressional Friends of the TPP Caucus — Representative Gregory Meeks (D-NY), Representative Dave Reichert (R-WA), and Representative Charles Boustany (R-LA) — as well as Representative Pat Tiberi (R-OH), Representative Vern Buchanan (R-FL), and Representative Adrian Smith (R-NE). The delegation also visited Malaysia and Japan.

 

After the visit, Chairman Ryan thanked AmCham for hosting the delegation and reiterated both the importance of the TPP and the U.S.-Singapore bilateral relationship.

Welcome to AmCham Singapore’s new website!

 

We are very pleased to introduce our new website with a brand-new look and a user-friendly feel.  Two of the most exciting innovations upgrade the calendar of events and member connectivity.

 

  • The calendars for committee meetings and events are now integrated so that you can see at a glance what is coming up of interest to you across the span of AmCham activities.   One click and you’re at an event’s site for further details and registration.
  • Check out the “Settings” feature.  Members can now update their personal details on-line.  Main members can log on to update their roster of employee members — keeping that roster current and fully occupied will help maximize the benefit that their organizations derive from its membership.
  • Connect with other members through the “Membership Directory” feature.  Just log in and key in the text to find or identify particular members.  A special feature allows you to email a member; for privacy reasons, you won’t be able to see the recipient’s address until he or she chooses to reply.  A built-in protective feature prevents spamming through this portal.

 

Another new feature is the SME resource center that provides links to the many sources of Singapore Government assistance to SMEs.  The new website also offers expanded space for members to contribute news and analysis to our community.
This final new addition to the website is the “AmCham Updates” section.   We will communicate regularly about AmCham initiatives and results through this avenue.  Please let us know of any questions of general interest that you’d like to read about here.
Since its founding, AmCham Singapore has built its reputation on the strength of providing its American, Singaporean, and international members unsurpassed opportunity and advantage through business advocacy, insights, and connections.  We hope that this enriched website will allow us to deliver even better services and results for our membership.  We look forward to hearing from you.

 

 

With best regards,
Judith and the AmCham team

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.

 

3D Printing Demonstration at ICT Committee Meeting

  • 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.

 

 

 

Balestier Series (Tan Chuan Jin)

  • 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.

 

 

 

 

SRI international

  • 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.

 

 

Tommy KohThis 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.

 

Yellow RibbonThroughout 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

About

AMCHAM UPDATES

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