Dear AMCHAM Mem­bers,

Thai-American Business (T-AB) Magazine - - President’s Remarks -

It is an honor to have been elected to be the Cham­ber Pres­i­dent for 2016. Hav­ing spent last year on the Board un­der the lead­er­ship of Dar­ren Buck­ley, I feel priv­i­leged to lead the Cham­ber this year and be the rep­re­sen­ta­tive of U. S. busi­ness in Thai­land. I fol­low a long line of dis­tin­guished busi­ness peo­ple who have served in this role, in­clud­ing sev­eral from Chevron.

I want to ex­press my ap­pre­ci­a­tion to Dar­ren who stood as AMCHAM Pres­i­dent for 2014- 2105 through some very chal­leng­ing times, both po­lit­i­cally and eco­nom­i­cally. Dur­ing that pe­riod, the Cham­ber con­tin­ued to de­liver its strong mes­sages of sup­port­ing trade and in­vest­ment, good busi­ness ethics and a fo­cus on Cor­po­rate So­cial Re­spon­si­bil­ity as a key dif­fer­en­tia­tor of U. S. busi­ness.


This year is the Cham­ber’s 60th an­niver­sary – a very aus­pi­cious mile­stone in the Thai cal­en­dar ( Fifth Cy­cle). The Cham­ber was founded in March 1956 with eight com­pa­nies and for­mally reg­is­tered in Fe­bru­ary 1957 with an im­pres­sive 32 com­pa­nies as mem­bers. The Cham­ber’s mem­ber­ship grew as high as 672 com­pany mem­bers ( ex­clud­ing non- res­i­dent com­pa­nies) in 2014.

The past 60 years have cer­tainly seen many changes in Thai­land – ex­plo­sive eco­nomic growth in the ‘ 70-‘ 90s, political in­sta­bil­ity, eco­nomic down­turns in 1997 and 2008, a chang­ing re­gional land­scape with the emer­gence of ma­jor neigh­bor­ing coun­tries such as Viet­nam and Myan­mar, and the launch of the ASEAN Eco­nomic Com­mu­nity have made for ex­cit­ing times to do busi­ness in Thai­land.

To help cel­e­brate this spe­cial oc­ca­sion, late last year we launched our 60th an­niver­sary logo and for this edi­tion of T- AB Mag­a­zine we have reached back in his­tory to high­light some of the ma­jor events and changes of past years. First, we man­aged to get in touch with 19 for­mer AMCHAM Pres­i­dents and Tom Seale, AMCHAM’S Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor from 1982- 2001, to ask for a short mes­sage from them and an up­date on where they are to­day. It is al­ways nice to be able to keep in con­tact with those who have served the Cham­ber and are part of its suc­cess.

The Cham­ber staff went through more than forty years of back edi­tions of T- AB Mag­a­zine to search for ar­ti­cles that best de­scribed the found­ing and growth of AMCHAM. We reprinted four of th­ese sto­ries within, two writ­ten by two of AMCHAM’S found­ing mem­bers, Lewis Cyk­man and Al­bert Ly­man, which pro­vide a fas­ci­nat­ing view of what Thai­land was like post- World War II up un­til the 1980s. We also dis­cov­ered an in­ter­est­ing ar­ti­cle ( au­thor long since for­got­ten) which pro­vides a his­tory and back­ground on Amer­i­can Cham­bers glob­ally.


How­ever, sixty years is not all about the his­tory, it is also about po­si­tion­ing the Cham­ber for the next decade and fur­ther. There are a num­ber of chal­leng­ing is­sues fac­ing Thai­land and its path for­ward, and the Cham­ber will con­tinue to urge and sup­port the Royal Thai Govern­ment on a suc­cess­ful eco­nomic path. With that in mind, sev­eral of our new ini­tia­tives this year fo­cus on ad­vo­cacy and the eco­nomic front.

First, the Cham­ber has merged the for­mer East­ern Se­aboard and Trans­porta­tion and Lo­gis­tics Com­mit­tees into a Trade and In­vest­ment Com­mit­tee. This new Com­mit­tee will also sup­port our man­u­fac­tur­ing mem­bers in the var­i­ous is­sues they face while do­ing busi­ness in Thai­land. The mis­sion

of this new Com­mit­tee will be to work to en­hance the trade and in­vest­ment pol­icy en­vi­ron­ment that al­lows U. S. com­pa­nies in­vest­ing and op­er­at­ing in Thai­land to con­tin­u­ally im­prove their com­pet­i­tive­ness, to in­crease mar­ket ac­cess with the same level of play­ing field and to re­duce or bet­ter yet, elim­i­nate trade and in­vest­ment bar­ri­ers, while pro­mot­ing re­la­tion­ships be­tween the two na­tions. The Com­mit­tee has al­ready met and scoped out a num­ber of ac­tiv­i­ties for this year.

Con­cur­rently, we are re- in­vig­o­rat­ing the Govern­ment Affairs Com­mit­tee which had min­i­mal ac­tiv­ity in re­cent years. This Com­mit­tee will be re­formed with a fo­cus on how to best help the Cham­ber and its Com­mit­tees achieve their ad­vo­cacy ob­jec­tives. A ma­jor task of the Govern­ment Affairs Com­mit­tee, and of the Trade and In­vest­ment Com­mit­tee, will be in eval­u­at­ing and in­form­ing mem­bers of the im­pact of the Trans- Pa­cific Part­ner­ship ( TPP) free trade agree­ment on Thai­land and work­ing to reach out to the Thai Govern­ment and Thai busi­ness sec­tor for col­lab­o­ra­tion to en­cour­age Thai­land’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in this im­por­tant Asia Pa­cific trade ini­tia­tive.


The Trea­surer’s re­ports and fi­nan­cial state­ments for both the Cham­ber and the AMCHAM Thai­land Char­i­ta­ble Foun­da­tion can be found on pages 28 and 32, re­spec­tively. The Cham­ber had an­other suc­cess­ful year end­ing with a sur­plus and was able to make a Baht 4.8 mil­lion do­na­tion to the AMCHAM Thai­land Char­i­ta­ble Foun­da­tion ( ATCF). While The Cham­ber’s fi­nan­cials and mem­ber­ship stayed strong, most of the growth can be at­trib­uted to the Myan­mar and, to a smaller ex­tent, Lao chap­ters. Both of th­ese Chap­ters showed strong growth in 2015 while Thai­land com­pany mem­ber­ship de­clined for the first time in re­cent his­tory. How­ever, thanks to an­other suc­cess­ful Cor­po­rate Part­ner­ship pro­gram year, the Cham­ber was able to meet all its goals in fund­ing pub­li­ca­tions, events, socials ac­tiv­i­ties and other pro­grams.

Ex­penses were flat for the year, re­flect­ing good fi­nan­cial pru­dence in the Cham­ber’s spend­ing in un­cer­tain times. We are also pleased that de­spite a small de­cline in the Cham­ber’s do­na­tions to ATCF, the Foun­da­tion was able to meet its an­nual goals of pro­vid­ing 199 schol­ar­ships to un­der­priv­i­leged Thai univer­sity stu­dents, pro­vide a match­ing fund for Adopt- a- School projects and help fund the Thai­land- U. S. Ed­u­ca­tional Foun­da­tion’s English Teach­ing As­sis­tants ( ETA) pro­gram hosted un­der Ful­bright. Due to AMCHAM’S fund­ing, the pro­gram was able to ex­pand to add two ad­di­tional Amer­i­can ETAS in the Ray­ong in­dus­trial area.

AMCHAM’S full fi­nan­cial state­ments and au­di­tors’ re­port has been emailed to you and can also be down­loaded from the AMCHAM web­site. Please re­view the state­ments and at­tend the An­nual Gen­eral Meet­ing sched­uled for March 24 where we will for­mally ask the Cham­ber’s mem­ber­ship to ap­prove them.

Best Re­gards, Brad Mid­dle­ton Pres­i­dent

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