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  • 25 Aug 2017 4:42 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Even without U.S. Government, Most Strategic Trade Framework for U.S. Businesses

    SINGAPORE – August 25, 2017: In October 2009, the American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore (AmCham Singapore) became the first U.S. business association to urge the U.S. government to place the Trans-Pacific Partnership (“TPP”) at the top of its trade policy agenda.

    While the U.S. withdrew from the TPP in January 2017, AmCham Singapore urges the eleven members of the TPP to reach a successful conclusion to ongoing deliberations and implement this high-standard agreement as soon as possible, ideally at or before the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders’ meeting in Vietnam this coming November.

    AmCham Singapore believes the TPP as negotiated provides the foundation for implementing the high standards needed to further economic growth and development in the Asia-Pacific region and represents the future of sustainable international trade. The TPP will simplify trade, support investment, facilitate the internationalization of small and medium enterprises (“SMEs”) and instil market confidence.

    “As Singapore serves as America’s business headquarters for Asia, we see first-hand many competing frameworks for creating the architecture for trade in the region, such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership,” said Dwight Hutchins, Chairman of AmCham Singapore.

    “The TPP is, by far, the best and most strategic trade framework from a business perspective – even without the U.S. government in it – as the high standard elements within it are supportive of U.S. businesses,” said Steven Okun, Chairman of the AmCham Singapore TPP Task Force.

    Not only does this agreement provide duty-free access to the TPP-11 members for nearly all goods and all manufactured goods, it also dramatically opens-up opportunities for the flow of services and investment sectors. It enhances protections for intellectual property rights, promotes cross-border data flows, ensures fair competition by state-owned enterprises and provides new opportunities for many government procurement contracts. Beyond any other trade agreement, it also includes unprecedented protections for the environment and labor.

    Bilateral agreements are an important part of any country’s trade policy; multi-party agreements are equally critical, if not more so. One of the greatest deterrents to exporting, especially by competitive smaller companies, is the complexity of different trade and regulatory rules for every market. Bilateral trade deals are good at opening markets one at a time, but regional trade deals are more effective in enabling exports to multiple markets as they establish a uniform set of rules.

    An agreement like the TPP allows companies to better navigate the complexities of trade among the member markets, thereby increasing their ability to scale their operations to reach non-domestic markets. Rules of origin in multi-party agreements also support integrated sourcing critical to the development of global value chains based on the best in the Asia Pacific region.

    “Like any trade agreement, the TPP is not perfect from any individual perspective," said Mr. Okun. “Still, a multi-party agreement based on the principles established within the TPP is the type of trade agreement needed in the 21st century. That is why AmCham Singapore supports the TPP-11 coming into effect.”

    ### Background The American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore is the largest foreign business chamber in Singapore and Southeast Asia, representing 700 leading corporations, with over 5,000 members, to provide business critical insights, sustained policy advocacy, and opportunities to connect with businesses and government leaders in the region. American companies' direct investment in Singapore exceeds an estimated U.S. $229 billion.

    For more information, please contact: Dustin Watson Head of Government & Public Affairs, AmCham Singapore Tel: +65 6597 5732 Hazlyn Aidzil Public Affairs Executive, AmCham Singapore Tel: +65 6597 5752

  • 04 Aug 2017 3:06 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Zespri International wins Supreme Award at 2017 American Chamber of Commerce DHL Express Success & Innovation Awards

    Auckland, 3rd August 2017 The 18th annual AmCham DHL Express Success & Innovation Awards were held at the Pullman Auckland Hotel last night, with Zespri International winning the Supreme Award for trade with the United States.

    Amcham was delighted to welcome back the Hon Steven Joyce as keynote speaker and presenter of the three key exporter awards with the new U.S. Ambassador Scott Brown presenting the Importer of the Year award.

    While trade of goods with the USA was down marginally in the last year by dollar value, the USA on still represents 11% of New Zealand total merchandise trade, with total bilateral trade worth around $16 billion. The companies on show at these awards highlighted some of New Zealand’s most innovative products and services that are taking on the world.

    Mark Foy, Country Manager for DHL Express New Zealand, who announced the supreme winner, said: “Zespri has established itself as a leading innovator in the horticultural industry, with their focus on sustainability and continuous improvement a testament to their achievements. Zespri’s successful growth into the US market is a reflection of their market research on this key export trade lane and DHL congratulates them on their success.”

    The Supreme Award is chosen from the winners of each of the categories presented on the night. The complete list of winners is as follows:

    This year’s award finalists were some of the strongest AmCham has seen in the last eighteen years and the judges decided to award a number of Highly Commended certificates. These were presented to:
    Brand USA
    Crimson Consulting
    Pharmaceutical Solutions Limited
    Scott Technology Ltd

    The AmCham DHL Express Success & Innovation Awards celebrate success and innovation in the export, import and investment sectors between New Zealand and its third-largest trading partner, the USA.  Winners of the importer, exporter, tourism and bilateral services award categories receive an Economy Plus® Round Trip Ticket to the USA from United Airlines.

    At the dinner Baldwins were presented with a plaque in recognition of 25 years membership.

    In addition to AmCham, DHL-Express and United Airlines, the Awards are also supported by 3M New Zealand, Baldwins, Fonterra, The Pullman Auckland Hotel, media partner The Business, and event manager Lime & Soda.

  • 07 Jun 2017 5:06 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Inland Revenue will receive more information about US multinationals operating in New Zealand following the signing of a new bilateral arrangement with the US Internal Revenue Service to share country-by-country reports.

    Revenue Minister Judith Collins says this is great news as it means Inland Revenue will have better information about how multinationals allocate profits from their operations here.

    “This will further enhance Inland Revenue’s risk assessment processes to make sure that the right amount of tax is being paid,” she says.

    The arrangement will see country-by-country reports exchanged between the two countries on an annual basis starting from 2018.

    Inland Revenue will reciprocate by sharing information on New Zealand-based multinationals with the IRS.

    “The exchange of country-by-country reports is a key part of the OECD’s work on base erosion and profit shifting so I’m pleased to see we’ve been one of the first to sign a bilateral arrangement with the US,” Ms Collins says.


  • 31 May 2017 4:05 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)
    U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson Travel to Sydney and Wellington

    U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will be in Sydney, Australia, June 5–6, with Secretary of Defense James Mattis to participate in the 2017 Australia-U.S. Ministerial Consultations hosted by Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Australian Defense Minister Marise Payne.

    Secretary Tillerson, Secretary Mattis, and their counterparts will discuss the full range of U.S-Australian cooperation on bilateral, regional, and global issues.  The Secretaries will coordinate our policies and identify ways to further strengthen the alliance and deepen cooperation between our two governments.

    The Secretary will then travel to New Zealand to reaffirm our strong ties and discuss coordination on shared strategic interests with Prime Minister English and Foreign Minister Brownlee.

    Follow Secretary Tillerson’s travel to Australia and New Zealand via @StateDept and @USAsiaPacific on Twitter and go to the Department’s Flickr account for the latest trip photos.  Keep track of all of the Secretary’s travels at

    NZ welcomes US Secretary of State visit

    Foreign Affairs Minister Gerry Brownlee has welcomed the announcement that United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will visit New Zealand next week.

    Secretary Tillerson will meet with Prime Minister Bill English and Minister Brownlee in Wellington on June 6.

    “New Zealand and the United States enjoy a long-standing friendship,” Mr Brownlee says.

    “We share a deep interest in maintaining peace, prosperity and stability in the Asia Pacific region and we have worked closely together to counter terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan. The United States is our third-largest individual trading partner.

    “We welcome Secretary Tillerson’s visit as a chance to strengthen the close relationship between New Zealand and the United States, to discuss some of the world’s most pressing issues, and to further promote our economic ties,” Mr Brownlee says.

  • 12 May 2017 4:27 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Trade Minister Todd McClay has welcomed Cabinet’s decision to ratify the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and says the move shows leadership with Japan who has also ratified the agreement.

    “Cabinet’s decision sends a clear message that we see value in a common set of high-quality rules across the Asia-Pacific and we are keeping all of our options open,” Mr McClay says.

    “TPP remains valuable both economically and strategically. It stands to improve access for New Zealand exporters and lower tariffs around the Asia-Pacific, including Japan, the world’s third largest economy.”

    Ratification comes ahead of the APEC Trade Minister’s meeting in Vietnam later this month where Mr McClay will Co-chair a separate meeting of TPP Ministers.

    “Following the U.S. withdrawal from TPP, our export sector and business community sent a clear message to find a way forward for this valuable agreement and that’s what we have been working hard to do,” Mr McClay says.

    “We are still actively exploring alternative options for TPP and expect other TPP partners to also ratify in the coming months.”

    “There is a building consensus that a common set of high quality rules across the Asia-Pacific will greatly benefit regional economic integration and support openness. High-quality trade deals are a key driver of growth, competition, innovation and productivity that create jobs and lower costs for consumers."

    Note to editors: New Zealand's implementing legislation and regulations only take effect on the date that the Agreement enters into force for New Zealand.


  • 21 Apr 2017 5:42 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    President Donald Trump has announced plans to nominate former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown to be the US ambassador to New Zealand.

    Brown supported Trump during the presidential campaign and had been considered for other administration jobs, including secretary of Veterans Affairs. Brown is a veteran.

    The Senate must confirm the nomination. The White House announced Trump's plans on Thursday.

    Brown represented Massachusetts in the US Senate from 2010 to 2013 after winning a special election to fill the seat held by the late Ted Kennedy, a Democrat.

    Brown then lost the seat to Elizabeth Warren. In 2014, he was the Republican nominee for the US Senate in New Hampshire but lost to incumbent Senator Jeanne Shaheen.

    Brown is currently a contributor to Fox News Channel.

    - AP

  • 18 Apr 2017 6:53 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Foreign Minister Murray McCully will travel to Hawaii today to meet with senior figures in the United States Pacific Command. Mr McCully will also meet with members of Hawaii’s political leadership, senior academics and opinion makers.

    “The US Pacific Command is responsible for US military operations in over half the world’s surface,” Mr McCully says.

    “Honolulu is a pivotal channel for New Zealand’s views on Asia-Pacific into Washington, D.C. and my visit is an opportunity to emphasise the value of New Zealand-US cooperation in the Asia Pacific.”

    Mr McCully will also inaugurate the New Zealand Consulate-General in Honolulu, which was opened in 2014.

    “New Zealand’s presence in Honolulu has deepened our connections with US military leaders and is a gateway for our engagement with North Pacific countries.”

    Other areas of cooperation with the US in Honolulu include climate change, fisheries, humanitarian aid and disaster risk management.

  • 12 Mar 2017 3:33 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    The new Trade Agenda reinforces the Administration’s commitment to defend American interests through the promotion of truly free and fair trade.

    Washington, D.C. – Today, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative ("USTR") released President Trump's 2017 Trade Policy Agenda, as required by Congress.

    The 2017 Agenda outlines the new Administration’s four trade priorities: promoting U.S. sovereignty, enforcing U.S. trade laws, leveraging American economic strength to expand our goods and services exports, and protecting U.S. intellectual property rights.

    USTR leads development and implementation of the President’s Trade Policy Agenda, which it provides with the Annual Report on trade developments. To read both, please click here.

  • 18 Jan 2017 9:53 AM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Good evening ladies & gentlemen.  Welcome to this special farewell reception and a Happy New Year to you all.  My name is Derek Syme and I am the president of AmCham in New Zealand.

    Firstly, I would like to welcome our guests of honour Ambassador Mark Gilbert and Nancy Gilbert.

    I would also like to extend a very warm welcome to our other VIPs here tonight

    • -        His Worship the Mayor, Phil Goff
    • -        Deputy Mayor, Bill Cashmore
    • -        US Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission, Candy Green
    • -        US Consul, Melanie Higgins
    • -        Other diplomatic corps members
    • -        Sir Bob Harvey and Dame Wendy Pye

    I would like to thank EY for allowing us to use their facilities for this evening’s farewell reception for US Ambassador Mark Gilbert and Nancy Gilbert.

    Thank you also to Mike Smith and IBM for your sponsorship of the evening.

    Well it has been a whirlwind 2 years since Ambassador Gilbert & Nancy arrived in NZ.  Without scarcely a pause, they have undertaken their roles with enthusiasm and focus that is second to none.  The Gilbert’s have crammed in so much that it is hard to know where to begin when talking about their great achievements.

    There have been several significant highlights during the Ambassador’s tenure over the last 2 years and I will touch on just a few…:

    • 1)    The visit of US Vice President Joe Biden including a highly successful reception, where the Vice President spoke and met a number of our members. – The night was a real highlight for me as I managed to get a great selfie with the Vice President!
    • 2)    The arrival of the USS Sampson, the first US warship to visit NZ for over 30 years and its key role in assisting with the Kaikoura earthquake, in a time of real need.
    • 3)    The visit of US Secretary of State John Kerry to NZ and his trip with the Ambassador to Antarctica.
    • 4)    The signing of TPP in Auckland by USTR Ambassador Michael Froman.  Ambassador Gilbert played a significant role in securing Ambassador Froman to speak to our members following the signing.
    • 5)    The inaugural Air NZ flight & service to Houston where the Ambassador joined the trade mission with Minister Steven Joyce.
    • 6)    We have also had the arrival of United & American Airlines services from San Francisco & Los Angeles, furthering business and tourism links with the USA.
    • 7)    The Ambassador lead highly successful business delegations from NZ to the Select USA Summits in Washington in 2015 & 2016.
    • 8)    The Ambassador and Nancy joined the AmCham board visit to AmCham in Sydney in 2015.  He also played a significant leadership role in the success of AmCham Australia’s visit to NZ late last year and his participation has ensured stronger ties between the two AmChams. 

    He has worked diligently to reach as much of the New Zealand business community as possible, giving his time to speak to social entrepreneurs and tech start-ups, as well as larger corporations and industry groups.

    Ambassador Gilbert has also worked tirelessly to bring together academia, industry and government in order to better facilitate an exchange of knowledge and skills.  This included the visit to NZ of Dr. Dave Newman (NASA’s Deputy Director) and Ambassador Gilbert is following Rocketlab’s progress with keen interest.

    In summary, the ambassadors’ energy levels are truly remarkable and an 8 hour working day is completely irrelevant.

    But it is not all about Ambassador Gilbert, as Nancy has also played an important and significant role supporting him.

    One of Nancy’s highlights was the Wahine Toa leadership conference which brought together 140 Maori women from across the country.  This group held discussions on civic engagement, women’s empowerment, and networking among communities of Maori women and across the Pacific.

    The Gilberts successfully secured President Obama’s Special Assistant for Native American Affairs, Karen Diver, to keynote at the conference and engage with iwi leaders, civil society organizations, youth groups, and parliamentarians throughout New Zealand.

    Nancy is also a big promoter of the tourism relationship, especially with her expertise as a former business owner of a tour company in Florida.  This shone through when the Embassy hosted the “National Parks” IMAX film.

    The Gilberts have also championed the exceptional growth in NZ wine sales to the USA… (please note that Ambassador Gilbert may have been “personally” responsible for significantly increasing those numbers!)

    But it is not just what you have both done during your time in New Zealand…  it is how you have done it…  And on this front, we think its been all class.

    You have not only achieved a huge amount but you have created many lasting friendships along the way.

    For those of you following the Ambassador and Nancy on Twitter you will have seen many accolades flowing from throughout NZ over the last week which shows how much of a difference they have both made.

    They have even found time to pull together a “YouTube” photo montage of everyone they have met in NZ during their time here.  They are without doubt one of the best tour guides and official photographers in NZ, having taken some amazing pictures of NZ’s best scenery.  Perhaps the NZ Tourism Board should seriously consider a consultant’s role for them both in the future!

    The Ambassador and Nancy have lifted diplomacy to a whole new level and while we wish there were “4 more years”, we have to say farewell for now. You will always be welcome back in NZ and we wish you all the very best for whatever the future holds for you.

    We would like to present you with a small token of our appreciation which reads… “In recognition of the outstanding contribution you have made to the United States/New Zealand relations during your time in New Zealand.  You have been a true friend and supporter of New Zealand and AmCham.”