AMCHAM eecxutive edcirtor’s emr arks
Summer is here along with the heat and afternoon showers!
NEW THAI CUSTOMS LAW
We are extremely happy to provide an announcement on page 38 on the long awaited changes to the Thai Customs Act which was published in May and will become effective 180 days from publication. Recommending amendments to the 1926 Customs Act has been a primary advocacy effort of AMCHAM for many years. I personally have worked on this issue since 2003 and have discussed the need for change with every Prime Minister, Finance Minister and Customs Department Director General ( and others) over the past fourteen years! As many of you may know, the old Customs Act had a number of provisions which were troublesome – including the penalty and reward sections and the calculations of fines. While the new Customs Act stops short of meeting international best practices and standards, it resolves many problems our members faced. The new Act is a huge improvement that will provide clarity and transparency to the Customs process. I wish to thank many of the AMCHAM Customs Committee Leaders over the last decade or so including: Dave Carden, Fedex; Paul Sumner, PWC; Khun Malika Bhumivarn, Bollinger & Company; Florina Vistal, Ford; Dennis Grover ( previously DHL); Khun Pongsathorn and Khun Kittipong, Philip Morris; and Liam Benham, ( formerly Ford) and the dozens of other Customs Committee members who worked on this issue over the years. Well done and proves that with perseverance, miracles can happen!
AMCHAM MYANMAR ESTABLISHED
You may have noticed we are no longer displaying Amcham Myanmar activities and announcements in the T- AB Magazine. I am pleased to announce that after almost four years of AMCHAM Thailand “incubating” Amcham Myanmar, they are now on their way to being an official full- fledged Amcham. The registration papers for a legal entity have been filed, office space has been identified and a search for an Executive Director is underway. Amcham Myanmar was officially launched as a Chapter of AMCHAM Thailand on October 31, 2013 with fifty company members. There were a number of constraints placed on going forward with a legal Amcham at that time, mainly due to the U. S. sanctions on Myanmar. The last of those sanctions ( with the exception of some provisions of the Patriot Act for U. S. financial services) were lifted in October 2016 paving the way to allow the Chapter to become self- sufficient. Amcham Myanmar’s membership now stands at 160 companies and keeps growing. We hope there will be an official opening of the new Yangon office sometime in early Fall.
AMERICAN- LAO BUSINESS ASSOCIATION
As of June 1, Amcham Lao ( also previously operated as a Chapter of AMCHAM Thailand) has become stand alone. Due a low U. S. company presence in Laos and legal registration issues, the American business group in Laos has been renamed the American- Lao Business Association. The reorganization will give them some breathing room in growing their membership without having to meet the U. S. Chamber of Commerce accreditation standards. They will continue to be part of the American Chamber family through their membership as an Associate in APCAC ( Asia Pacific Council of American Chambers of Commerce) and will represent U. S. business in Laos through their association with the U. S. Embassy and the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry.