AMCHAM Executive Director’s Remarks
Each June I have the opportunity to attend the Asia Pacific Council of American Chamber of Commerce ( APCAC) Doorknock in Washington, D. C. This annual event brings together 29 American chambers of commerce from 22 economies throughout the Asia- Pacific region. The purpose of the Doorknock is to meet with members of the U. S. Administration and Congress to influence regulatory frameworks affecting American business in the Asia- Pacific region. This year the Doorknock focused on four issues that we urge our Government to undertake in order to increase competiveness of U. S. business in Asia- Pacific: ratify the TransPacific Partnership ( TPP); adopt a territorial ( residential- based) tax system; repeal the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act ( FATCA); and support the APEC Business Travel Cards ( ABTC).
Although Thailand is not party to the TPP, ratification of this free trade agreement is crucial to the Asia- Pacific region. Not only will TPP help set the gold standard for trading rules in Asia- Pacific, but it helps ensure the U. S. remains engaged in robust economic activities with its Asia- Pacific partners. From an AMCHAM Thailand standpoint, we hope that Thailand sees the benefits of TPP and is interested in joining as soon as it is ratified by the U. S. You can view our full talking points and pictures from the Doorknock on pages 30- 31.
AMCHAM THAILAND FOUNDATION
In 2004, AMCHAM officially registered the AMCHAM Thailand Charitable Foundation. Although the Chamber has been active in supporting the student scholarship and Adopt- a- School programs since the early 1980s, funding for these activities had been mixed with the Chamber’s regular accounting activities. By registering the Foundation in 2004, we were able to receive recognition as a registered charitable foundation and to allow charitable donations to be deducted for tax purposes. Each year for the last 12 years, the Foundation has averaged over Baht 14 million in donations, the largest part of the donations coming from AMCHAM through our social activities such as the Independence Day Picnic, silent auction at the Governors Ball and sport tournaments. As one of AMCHAM’S 60th anniversary activities, we sought to rebrand the Foundation. We changed the name to remove the word “Charitable” from the English name to correspond to the Thai name of the Foundation. The Foundation has always focused on education – offering scholarships, renovating schools and most recently supporting Englishlanguage capacity building through the Fulbright English Language Teaching Assistantships ( ETA). We want to reinforce that funding these activities is not charity, but an investment in the future of Thailand’s youth.
We also created a new logo which signifies the close ties between Thailand and the United States. You can see the new logo on page 38.
As a last note on the AMCHAM Thailand Foundation, there are still about Baht 225,000 left in matching funds for the Adopt- a- School program. If you are interested in helping one of the many undersupported schools who are looking for playgrounds, libraries, water tanks/ filtration systems or other items, please contact Khun Pen in the AMCHAM office at pen@ amchamthailand. com. Judy Benn Executive Director