I write my remarks this month just on the heels of two important AMCHAM events – the annual Asia Pacific Council of American Chambers of Commerce ( APCAC) Doorknock to Washington, D. C., and the Independence Day picnic. While I was fortunate enough to attend the APCAC Doorknock, sadly travel kept me from enjoying the fabulous Independence Day picnic here in Bangkok on July 1.
APCAC DOORKNOCK, JUNE 19- 22
APCAC represents the thirty American Chambers of Commerce and American Business Associations in Asia Pacific, and focuses on U. S. business interests in the region. Together APCAC represents over 15,000 company members and over $ 637 billion in U. S. exports in 2016. This year was a crucial year for APCAC to be in Washington, D. C. to emphasize APCAC’S commitment to maximizing opportunities for American companies and workers that will result in economic growth in the U. S. and abroad. While it was clear that the focus in the nation’s capital is on U. S. domestic job growth, APCAC repeated the message that we strongly support robust commercial and economic engagement in the region by the Trump Administration and Congress. Open, fair and high standard rules- based trade practices will translate to more jobs in the U. S. and abroad.
I was pleased to be part of the forty person APCAC delegation representing a wide variety of American Chambers from the region – from Mongolia to New Zealand and Japan to Bangladesh. We participated in three days of intense meetings with U. S. Chamber of Commerce, White House Officials, Departments of State, Commerce and Treasury, Think Tanks and Congress. The AMCHAM delegation, consisting of Kit Heffner, RMA Group, AMCHAM Executive Director Judy Benn and myself, also met with the Royal Thai Ambassador to U. S. His Excellency Pisan Manawapat. It was an exciting conversation, as it had just recently been announced that Prime Minister Prayut will most likely visit the U. S. sometime in July, and the Royal Thai Government is busily preparing for that visit in order to reinforce the strong economic, commercial and strategic ties that our two countries have held for 184 years.
You can read on page 33 the summary of the recommendations we delivered in Washington D. C. which focused on trade, taxes and travel.
INDEPENDENCE DAY PICNIC
The annual AMCHAM Independence Day picnic celebrating the 241st anniversary of U. S. Independence was a roaring success – even the weather cooperated in ensuring that the rain stayed away. More than 1,500 members and guests were in attendance for a day full of music, games and activities and some awesome U. S. food items including hot dogs and hamburgers, ribs and chili, and lots more. This party, which was six months in planning, is the biggest annual event organized by the Chamber. The Independence Day Committee, chaired by Tom Whitcraft, RMA, and Khun Wanvisa Komindr, Citibank, pulled together fifty star sponsors, fourteen food and drink vendors, staff support from G4S and Manpower to cover security, cleaning and logistics and over 100 raffle prize and charity game donors to make the day a great success.
There are so many people to thank for their support that I would fill this page, but we have a full list on pages 49 and 51. I do want to personally thank Bangkok Patana School for being our host for the day, Mattel for again hosting Mattel Happyland for the children, and Coca- Cola and Boon Rawd for donations of beverages,
tents, tables and chairs. Of course, my thanks to Independence Day Committee and the AMCHAM staff for all their hard work. The proceeds from this event go to the AMCHAM Thailand Foundation to support the student scholarship and FulbrightAMCHAM English Teaching Assistant programs.
I will note that although the picnic was on July 1 and so should be part of the July- August edition of T- AB Magazine, we wanted to get our thank you to all those who supported the picnic out now and to share some of the pictures of everyone having fun on the day!
BOARD OF GOVERNORS ELECTION
You should be receiving the announcements circulating on the opening of nominations for election of the 2018- 2019 Board of Governors. The AMCHAM Board is responsible for the policy making of AMCHAM and the general direction of its activities. The fifteen Governors of the Board are elected by voting members to staggered two year terms. Each October approximately one half of the Board is up for election at the Annual General Meeting in October. Each Governor is eligible to serve 2 consecutive two year terms and then is required by the Chamber’s bylaws to step down for one year before running again.
A Nominating Committee was appointed by the Board in the spring to identify and solicit candidates to run for the Board. It is desirable that the Board be as diverse as possible, to include a range of industry, nationalities, gender and company size to reflect the diversity of AMCHAM’S membership. This year’s Nominating Committee consists of:
• Steve Rich, AMCHAM Governor, Managing Director & Thai
land Country Manager, Caterpillar • Ornkanya Pibuldham, AMCHAM Governor, Managing Di
rector & Chief Country Officer, Bank of America • Benjamin Krieg, Travel & Tourism Committee Co- Chair,
General Manager, Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 • John Andes, Tax Committee Co- Chair, Partner, KPMG • Jonathan Blaine, Tax Committee Co- Chair, Tax Director, DFDL.
This year, there will be nine Board spots available for election, as the Nominating Committee will also be soliciting to fill a oneyear term vacated by the mid- term resignation as Governor of Wail Farghaly, General Motors.
If you have an interest in running for the Board or to learn more about the process, please see page 57 or contact nominations@ amchamthailand. com
Best regards, Jeff Nygaard President