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  • 20 Mar 2019 4:37 PM | Rebecca Caroe (Administrator)

    One of the largest privately owned fleets in North America has become EROAD’s largest U.S. based enterprise customer.  

    The master supply agreement was signed in the United States for approx. 4,900 EROAD EHUBO 2 units.

    Given the fleet size and diverse geographical locations, it is anticipated that the majority of these units will be installed during FY20.

    The decision to switch to the user-friendly, accurate and reliable EHUBO 2 was made after a successful pilot programme. The customer’s full fleet operates out of hundreds of branches located within most States, forming one of the largest privately-owned fleets in the USA.

    Read full press release.

  • 19 Mar 2019 3:26 PM | Rebecca Caroe (Administrator)

    AmCham joins all New Zealanders in condemning violence against any individual based on race, religion or creed.

    The Prime Minister's words "You may have chosen us, but we utterly reject and condemn you" send the strongest possible message to the world. Our condolences go out to all the families of victims.

    AmCham has made a donation on the United for Christchurch fund raising page. [Photo Credit: Christchurch City Council Newsline/Kirk Hargreaves ] 

    Thank you for the photo.


  • 14 Mar 2019 11:31 AM | Rebecca Caroe (Administrator)

    This month we celebrate our 27th year at ATPI Business World Travel – established in 1992 our longevity is attributable to our loyal Clients, our amazing team of Travel Professionals and our proactive Suppliers.  A winning combination. Thank you and congratulations to all! 

    We’re amidst the peak of our inbound tourist season in New Zealand and Australia which creates the perfect storm as our Business Travellers have also gotten back on the road with a flourish. Domestic New Zealand travellers will be aware of the challenges with securing hotels or motels at reasonable rates and of course car rental availability is a problem. We’re concerned about containing your travel budget and to avoid extremely high accommodation rates (most are plus 50% to 100% over normal year round rates) we strongly recommend just making day trips to your business destinations. Once there, think about taxis, Uber or car sharing firms instead of scarce rental cars.  Also keep an eye on our New Zealand Calendar of Events (call us for your copy) and avoid destinations hosting concerts, sports events or multiple cruise ships on a single day. The record hotel rate we saw was a 4-star hotel in Albert Street Auckland – last room between Hamilton and Warkworth – at $10,000 for the night!  The pressure will ease as we move toward Easter. 

    United Airlines has confirmed its schedule for the Northern Summer  and will offer three flights weekly between Auckland and San Francisco every Mon/Thu/Sat. The flight departs at 1330hrs and lands into SFO at 0640hrs which allows for connections to destinations right across the US and Canada and with an appealing early evening arrival into East Coast destinations such as New York, Boston and Miami. United will operate a Boeing 777-200 aircraft featuring the well-liked Polaris Business Class, Premium Economy Class, Economy Plus and Economy Class.  

    Emirates has reduced the check-in luggage allowance on its lowest fare categories. Seat sale type fares are often booked in V or X class and these categories of fare will only attract a 15kg luggage allowance. Conversely Emirates does offer one of the highest luggage allowance of all airlines for all other economy fares at either 25kg, 30kg or 35kg per person. Emirates flights between the US and Dubai sit at 2 pieces/ 23kg each for Economy Class.  

    North American airlines operating the Boeing 737 Max8 model aircraft include Southwest, American Airlines, Air Canada and Westjet.  The FAA has now grounded the entire fleet of this aircraft type worldwide (there are 350 in service around the world) following the safety concerns raised about this newer model Boeing following the two devastating aircraft crashes. The aircraft is denoted as ‘7M8’ on your itineraries – not to be confused with the widely used Boeing 737-800 which carries the code ‘738’. The various airlines have advised us of the adjusted schedules and we have re-arranged clients travel to accommodate this.

    Bonvoy is the new branding for the Marriott group’s Guest Loyalty Programme. Previous brandings have been Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest. The three-programme integration will be completed this month and the new cards issued to members.   Marriot merged with Starwood in 2016 and from the New Zealand perspective most clients have been SPG Members. The top tier Bonvoy Ambassador Elite recognises those roadwarriors who stay in the group’s hotel for a minimum of 100 nights or spend more than US$20,000 annually, individually. 

    One of our US based Virtuoso partners arranges our private sightseeing for clients in a number of cities in the US. One of the highlights is their private tours around Washington DC. They offer  guided tours into a wide range of attractions – from the National Archives, Mount Vernon, walking tours of Alexandria and their popular tour of the Potomac River. Clients enjoy the personalised attention from their very skilled and specialised Guides. 

    Zion National Park in Utah celebrates its 100th Anniversary this year. There are activities planned throughout the year. 

    A reminder that travellers to the US who qualify for an ESTA must apply for these a minimum of 72 hours prior to departure. These can no longer be applied for within this time frame.  And an additional reminder to ensure you carry a hard copy of your ESTA form for both the US and Canadian versions.  The US ESTA can be re-printed from the ESTA system any time (via our website www.bwt.co.nz/Traveller Resources/ESTA). The Canadian one allows only one print when you first receive your application. Remember that if you need to show it that there is no wi-fi  or other means of internet access within most Customs and Immigration halls.

    Travel better! At ATPI/Business World Travel we’re a member of the prestigious US-based Virtuoso, an invited group of the world’s leading travel agents and where we can achieve benefits over and above any other travel agent or booking site for our clients. For a similar rate as any advertised rate included on the hotel site, Bookings.com or Expedia you’ll receive:

    • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
    • Daily Breakfast for two 
    • Food & Beverage or Spa services credit usually around US$100 
    • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
    • Complimentary Wi-Fi
    • Often some other kind of personalised in-room amenity
    • Take a look at www.virtuoso.com or call one of our BWT Travel Advisors

    Grant Bevin is an AmCham member and Managing Director of ATPI 

    Grant.Bevin@atpi.com

  • 14 Mar 2019 10:57 AM | Rebecca Caroe (Administrator)

    Organic Initiative (Oi) is delighted to announce that its 100% certified organic cotton feminine hygiene products will now be available in most Walmart stores from March 12, 2019.

    By being 100% certified “organic cotton, the tampons, pads and panty liners are free from synthetics, chemicals sprays, perfumes and dyes. They are also biodegradable, and with a woman using about 11,000 products in her lifetime, having a readily available alternative to synthetic feminine hygiene products is a game changer. Being affordable and available throughout Walmart in the USA gives women easy access to the product range, and more choice.

    Feminine hygiene sales in the U.S. are $2.7b per annum and Walmart accounts for about 20% of these.

    Oi CEO, Helen Robinson says that Oi believes all women should have access to an affordable range of premium, organic tampons, pads and liners. “Our initiative is to be the new norm and we invite all women to make the healthy, certified organic feminine choice. It’s a small change each month every woman can make for themselves and for our world."

    Read more


  • 13 Mar 2019 3:51 PM | Rebecca Caroe (Administrator)

    By Paul Adams, CEO EverEdge Global

    According to a recent report from the UK Treasury, the world’s five most valuable companies are together worth £3.5 trillion, yet their balance sheets report just £172 billion of tangible assets. The other £3.3 trillion of value is missing in action.

    Imagine if the directors and management teams of these five companies chose to only actively manage the 5% of assets recorded on their balance sheets. They would be ignoring the key driver of 95% of corporate value their intangible assets and critically failing to fulfil their fiduciary duty to manage all their company’s assets.

    It seems almost inconceivable that directors and management would not actively manage their valuable intangible assets, but we see it happening everyday albeit to varying degrees, ranging from merely failing to actively recognise these assets to outright denial they are even relevant. A large driver for this is that accounting standards like GAAP or IFRS were essentially designed for an industrial age economy and consequently they almost completely ignores intangible assets, lumping them under the amorphous term “good will” or recording them solely at cost.

    When and why should you value your intangible assets?

    Read the rest of Paul's article.

  • 04 Mar 2019 11:59 AM | Rebecca Caroe (Administrator)

    I’m Ian Leader with United Way New Zealand - see video below

    Q1 Isn’t doing good just for charities?

    It used to be. But the impact of social negativity requires it impacts on business and so business has a very active role to play in their own sustainability and sustainable communities mean sustainable business.

    Q2 How are business relationships cemented in that framework?

    There are lots of ways from pure charity and philanthropy. Through to very strategic ways of engaging with community through employee volunteering and through strategic investment and now with the growth of social enterprise by actually doing business with social good business.

    Q3 The World Economic Forum in Davos gives the perception that big business is out to get the little guy. I work for a big business, what can I do?

    There’s lots of ways. We find now that a lot of employees vote with their feet and business that is seen to be anti-community and if there is not an alignment with their values, people are not interested in working for companies that do bad things for the community. We are now getting employees voting with their feet.

    A lot of employees now expect employers to be setting up community engagement programmes which is everything from employee volunteering through to payroll giving. And also a huge expectation that companies should be contributing to the community from their own coffers.

    A wonderful book Corporate Social Opportunity by Professor David Grayson and Adrian Hodges.

    It talks about the need to shift away from social responsibility which is more of a tax and legislation approach to corporate social opportunity to actually take advantage of all of the opportunities that strategic and thoughtful engagement with community provides to business as an employer for its shareholders and also from a trade point of view. So it is doing business and doing business well not just in the community but with the community.


  • 04 Mar 2019 10:48 AM | Rebecca Caroe (Administrator)

    US-based investment firm Bridgewest Group has acquired Provoke Solutions, the owner of the popular Xero add-on, SuiteFiles.

    The terms of the agreement will see Mason Pratt remain as CEO of the Provoke brand while, corporate services will become centralised, delivering back-office support for finance, human resource and technology functions.

    “We have an amazing bunch of people working across our companies, and now have the resources to fast-track growth and create new job opportunities through Bridgewest’s expertise and financial support,” Pratt told Reseller News.

    “Partnerships with global leaders like Bridgewest are extremely hard to come by in New Zealand, which makes this new relationship all the more exciting for our team.”

    Headquartered in San Diego, Bridgewest is a global investment platform with expertise across technology, biotech, wireless communications, infrastructure for Internet of Things and semi-conductor sectors, in addition to real estate and financial services.

    Bridgewest - which completed the deal through its Kiwi subsidiary Bridgewest NZ Holdings Limited - has been a major funder of Provoke for 18 months, working closely with the company directors since forming a strategic alliance in 2017.

    “This is a very exciting transaction for us,” said Dr. Masood Tayebi, co-founder and CEO of Bridgewest Group. “Having spent the last 12-18 months looking to add a software services business to our high-tech portfolio, we wanted to take the time to ensure capability, culture and a focus on innovation were aligned with Bridgewest’s vision.

    “We recognised that Provoke is a leader in enterprise software, especially in the cloud, artificial intelligence and machine learning disciplines, and believe their design-led approach makes them an excellent partner for Bridgewest.”

    According to Dr Tayebi, securing the executive leadership and providing continuous service to Provoke’s client base was a “non-negotiable” component of the acquisition. 

    Read more in Reseller News

    Image credit: Provoke

  • 01 Mar 2019 3:58 PM | Rebecca Caroe (Administrator)

    Fonterra has taken a stake in Motif Ingredients, a US-based food ingredients company that develops and commercialises bio-engineered animal and food ingredients. 

    Judith Swales, head of Fonterra’s Global Consumer and Foodservice business, says the move is part of the Co-operative’s commitment to its farmer-owners to stay at the forefront of innovation to understand and meet the changing preferences of consumers. While the terms will not be disclosed, Fonterra’s investment represents a minority stake in the business.

    “Farmers expect their Co-op to get the most value from every drop of their milk and also keep an eye on tomorrow to futureproof their Co-op for generations to come.

    “Dairy nutrition will always be at our core, but we also want to explore how we can capture more value from new types of nutrition.

    “The complementary nutrition category – where plant, insect, algae and fermentation-produced nutrition co-exist alongside animal proteins, including cows’ milk – is fast evolving. It’s not a case of either/or, but both,” says Judith.

    Jonathan McIntyre, Motif Ingredients’ CEO, says

    “Through biotechnology and fermentation, Motif will propel the next food revolution with affordable, sustainable and accessible ingredients that meet the standards of chefs, food developers, and visionary brands.”


    Read more


  • 31 Jan 2019 3:48 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Global Education Systems Ltd (Global Ed) is proud to have secured a new partnership with the largest education publishing company in the United States, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH).

    Directors Tracy Strudley and Jill Eggleton QSO have been working with HMH for 12 months. This partnership sees the development of a new Global Ed series, JillE Literacy. It is a reading package containing over 320 books, written by Jill Eggleton, international education consultant and author, to support HMH’s new reading programme, Into Reading.

    Global Ed has also worked with New Zealand-based company, Essential Resources, to build supporting teacher material for JillE Literacy.

    Eggleton, is delighted with the new partnership. “We need more engaged students. Therefore, we need books that excite them — books that spark emotion, imagination, critical thinking, curiosity and creativity. Getting students interested in reading is my passion.” says Eggleton.

    As part of the agreement, Eggleton will travel to the United States twice a year to train teachers on how to teach reading.

    “We are immensely proud to be working with HMH,” says Global Ed director, Tracy Strudley. “Their access into classrooms in the United States is second-to-none. Our goal is to teach reading. By doing so we are allowing greater opportunities for students of today and tomorrow. HMH can sell these books across USA, Canada, South America and the Middle East.”

    The books will be available for classroom use from June 2019.
    Erin Kinard, VP Product Management & Strategy: Humanities, Core Solutions, said “Our partnership with Global Ed will allow us to enhance Into Reading, our next generation core curriculum solution, providing teachers with powerful literacy solutions and engaging titles that empower them to grow learners into strong readers and confident students.”

    https://www.globaled.co.nz/

  • 11 Jan 2019 8:53 AM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. We’re so glad you joined us for our 20th State of American Business.

    As we traditionally do, I’ll start by giving the Chamber’s assessment of the economic conditions.

    Our own surveys find that optimism is consistently high. Business owners tell us they have been encouraged by stronger economic growth. We have achieved a growth rate in the last year that many “experts” claimed was out of reach. And it was driven in no small part by deregulation and tax reform. The Chamber projects continued growth of around 2.6% for 2019. We expect unemployment to remain low, wages to keep expanding, and inflation in range of the Fed’s target of 2%.

    Now, there are some who seem determined to talk us into a downturn. But rumblings of a recession just don’t match up with reality. Even with all of the challenges in Washington, uncertainties in the world, and fluctuations in the markets, strong economic conditions are expected to hold steady for the foreseeable future.

    These numbers are important—continued economic growth sets the table for almost everything else we want to achieve as a country. But growth is not an end in itself. Our economy is, and always has been, about people.

    So today I want to discuss something more enduring than a set of numbers from a moment in time—and that is the role of the American Dream—or, more accurately, the countless American dreams that together have propelled our nation forward for more than 240 years.

    You might say that the original American dreamers were the founders of our government who conceived a more perfect union … who led the grand experiment of a new republic anchored in religious, personal, and economic freedom.

    American dreamers took that freedom and ran with it. They applied their ideas, talent, and toil to great American feats—the transcontinental railroad … the assembly line … the interstate highway system … the personal computer … the worldwide web…the Internet of Things. These and other innovations have allowed generations of Americans to pursue their unique dreams.

    We talk about the American Dream as a singular concept, but it comes to life in countless ways. Without the ideas and industry of all these dreamers, we could not have built the most dynamic and resilient economy on earth.

    Our challenge today is to preserve, strengthen, and expand the American dream—and put it within the reach of every child, every family, every worker, and every entrepreneur. That’s how we, in our time, build a more perfect union and leave a country to our children and grandchildren that is even better than we have been blessed to know.

    The Chamber’s agenda for 2019 and beyond is built around this simple idea—to harness our new-found economic strength, do everything we can to keep it going, and put it to work on behalf of all Americans who hope for a shot at their own unique American dream.

    Now, if I tried to spell out every part of this agenda, you and I would be here all day—and all night. I’m sure none of us want to do that! Instead, I’ll highlight five key priorities, tell you about a few other important pro-growth issues, and raise several longer-term concerns that I believe are well worth some careful thought and attention.

    Workforce and Immigration

    The first big issue centers on the American workforce.

    We must have a steady supply of talented and hard-working people to do the work of a modern economy so our nation can compete and lead. And we need the right policies, systems, and opportunities in place to prepare those people so that they can compete and succeed.

    It’s no secret that our nation is currently falling short on both of those imperatives. We have people without jobs—who lack the skills or education to fill open positions. And we have jobs without people—employers tell us positions are sitting vacant because they can’t find the workers they need, when and where they need them.

    The Chamber is at the center of this complex challenge. We’re working to strengthen the foundation of opportunity by focusing on early learning and K-12 education. We’re promoting smart choices in post-secondary education or training so that students can get a return on their investment and earn credentials of value in the market.

    We believe that the future requires lifelong learning. So we must change the way we think about, accredit, and fund post-secondary education. Businesses can help by regularly training and retraining their employees so that their skills remain sharp and relevant.

    The Chamber’s Foundation is creating business-led solutions, like Talent Pipeline Management, and has launched academies in 26 states to help businesses source and train workers.

    We must not overlook those who are on the sidelines. Veterans and military spouses should have new opportunities to transition into the civilian workforce. Older Americans should have incentives to work well past 65. The formerly incarcerated should have a second chance at building a productive life—starting with a stable job. And it is crucial that we work together to tackle big challenges, including addiction and the inability of many Americans to move where the jobs are.

    Getting these people back into our economy will not only expand our talent pool; it will extend opportunity to those who perhaps have given up on their American dreams.

    I want to talk about another critical piece to this challenge—that’s immigration.

    The fact is, employers don’t have the workers they need at every skill level, and in key industries—such as health care, agriculture, manufacturing, and transportation.

    Our nation must continue to attract and welcome industrious and innovative people from all over the world, and finally fix our broken immigration system. This is a politically fraught issue, with passions running high on both sides, that has vexed our nation for many years. Compromise will be necessary—but it’s possible, because each side has something it wants, and each side has something to give.

    So today we are calling on the president and Congress to come together and support a reasonable solution: Protection for the Dreamers and long-term Temporary Protected Status beneficiaries and the resources necessary to secure the border. The Chamber will continue to fight for these and other reforms.

    Modern Infrastructure

    You may not think of infrastructure as integral to opportunity. But our highways, bridges, ports, and waterways have long stood as monuments to American achievement—and they have literally moved the American Dream.

    We want to keep it that way, which means we face the crucial task of modernizing the physical platform of our economy, much of which has already outlived its lifespan. Nearly everyone agrees that investing in our infrastructure is a major national priority—what’s missing is a sense of urgency. Things are only going to get worse, which is why we are calling on our leaders to pass a significant infrastructure package this year.

    As everyone knows, the challenge is how to pay for it. You’ve heard me say for years that a modest increase to the motor vehicle fuel user fee—which hasn’t been adjusted in 25 years—can be a big part of the solution. I’ve also said the Chamber is open to viable alternatives—but we haven’t heard too many other ideas.

    So we’re going to put some money on the table. The Chamber will be offering cash prizes totaling $25,000 to those who can come up with the best, most viable ideas for a long-term sustainable funding source for infrastructure. We want to hear from everyone—students, academics, business leaders, the people out there doing the building—everyone. We’ll consolidate and publish all of the good ideas we receive—and we’ll have a big debate starting February 5th at our annual Infrastructure Summit.  

    We’ll also talk about the Chamber’s other infrastructure priorities, including the urgent need for permitting reform and getting a whole army of people ready to do the work.

    I’ve been working on these issues for more than 30 years. It is my hope that the public and private sector leaders of this country will finally come together and help build the next generation of U.S. infrastructure—a modern, safe, and efficient system that history will regard as one of the great American feats of the 21st century.

    Is that too ambitious? Good. Let’s go do it.

    Global Trade

    Now, to trade. The modern trading system is an American triumph.

    Selling Made in America goods and services to the 95% of the world’s consumers who live outside the U.S. is absolutely fundamental to our growth and prosperity as a nation. In fact, 49 of every 50 U.S. companies that sells goods overseas are small businesses—many of them could not survive without trade, especially in America’s heartland. Trade also supports some 35 million American jobs—a number that could dramatically grow, or shrink, based on our nation’s trade policies.

    To preserve and expand the robust trade that benefits so many Americans, our leaders should focus on several priorities.

    First, we must advance strong new trade deals, starting with the U.S.-Mexico-Canada-Agreement. The USMCA is a good deal that must be approved to maintain the relationship with our top two export markets. Now that we’ve struck a deal with Canada and Mexico, the administration must make good on its repeated promise to remove the steel and aluminum tariffs that were imposed in the heat of negotiations.

    This would be an encouraging sign for all of our partners, including those we’re pursuing new market-opening agreements with—Japan, the EU, and the UK.

    And what about China? The Chamber supports the administration’s negotiations to address China’s theft of intellectual property, forced technology transfer practices, and other unfair trade and industrial policies.

    What we don’t support is a trade war, which is being waged through mounting tariffs. Let me be very clear. Tariffs are taxes paid for by American families and American businesses—not foreigners. Instead of undermining our own economy, let’s work with our allies to apply pressure on China and use the tools provided by U.S. trade and international laws that we helped create.

    Limiting trade is self-defeating; leveraging trade is essential to success in a global economy and creating jobs.

    Responsible Governing

    Progress on these priorities requires responsible action by our nation’s leaders and lawmakers. 

    Given the rocky start to the year, it’s understandable there are questions about what can be accomplished under a sharply divided government. The divisions aren’t just between the parties—they’re within the parties.

    Governing by crisis is no way to do the nation’s business. Our leaders must responsibly fulfill their duties. And not just because it’s their job to do so … but because dysfunction saps confidence, threatens growth, and consequently poses a threat to opportunity in this country.

    For many years, the Chamber has rated and endorsed Senators and members of Congress based on the votes they have cast for or against business priorities. Today we’re announcing that, for the first time in 40 years, we are fundamentally changing the way we measure lawmakers’ contribution to our economy, and we are revamping our congressional scorecard.

    Starting with this Congress, we will not base our support solely on casting the right votes—though that remains essential. We will give lawmakers credit for showing leadership on good legislation—even if it doesn’t pass or even come up for a vote. And we’re going to take bipartisanship into account. Lawmakers should be rewarded for reaching across the aisle—not punished.

    You can get a copy of our new scorecard when you leave today. Do us a favor. Share it with every member of Congress you know. We want their feedback, and yours. Tell them this will change what you need to do to earn the support of the American business community from this day forward.

    This new approach reflects our belief that many of Washington’s troubles—including dysfunction, division, and incivility—could be helped by rebuilding the political center and restoring responsible governing. 

    Protecting Business

    Government is an important partner in creating the conditions for growth, but it’s business that makes dreams possible by spreading opportunity, creating jobs, and generating wealth. When businesses thrive—communities thrive. Successful companies do a whole lot of good through philanthropy and corporate citizenship. 

    That’s why the Chamber is focused on defending the profoundly positive role of business in our economy and society—and fighting back against attacks, especially on public companies. I’m talking about a growing assault on companies who are being silenced, pressured, or intimidated into advancing narrow special interests—often at the expense of the companies, their shareholders, and their employees. These attacks are coming from some activist investors, proxy advisory firms, mass and class action trial lawyers, as well as some political activists and politicians.

    They are a disincentive for companies to grow, or to go and stay public. And fewer public companies means fewer opportunities for Americans to build wealth through shared ownership.

    So today we’re announcing that the Chamber is launching an aggressive and comprehensive new campaign to meet these coordinated attacks head on.

    We are pursuing regulatory and legislative changes that make it easier for businesses to go and stay public … and that allow companies to focus on long-term growth. We’re working with the SEC and Congress to bring real transparency and oversight to proxy advisory firms and to reform the shareholder voting process. We’re educating directors so they are better armed to deal with public policy battles that are waged in the boardroom.

    We’re vigorously opposing proposed legislation to federalize large public and private companies through the requirement of a federal charter. That’s one of the worst ideas I’ve heard in a town that knows no shortage of bad ideas. And we will work for meaningful ESG reporting that is grounded in reality and reflects the diversity of American business, across sectors and all over the country.

    What we won’t do is stand by and allow Americans from all walks of life to be robbed of the opportunities to invest and take risks that are so essential to our prosperity and the American Dream.

    The Broader Agenda for Growth

    Let me turn briefly to several other important issues that we’ll focus on this year.

    One is health care, which makes up 18% of our economy. The Chamber is focused on reforming the current system to reward value and quality while continuing to support innovation and access.

    That means keeping America the pharmaceutical innovation lab of the world … and opposing price controls. It means finding the right policy mix so people can get the quality care they need while hospitals, insurers, and ERs are able to keep operating. Business can help make the numbers work. And it means giving workers and families the tools to take greater charge of their health through innovative programs and products, like health savings accounts.

    We also have to respond to calls for government-run, single-payer health care—because it doesn’t work! We’ll use all of our resources to combat it.

    Another key issue is energy. New and innovative ways to produce more American energy has lowered costs and improved efficiency, greatly benefiting businesses and families alike. But powerful forces want to reverse this progress. The Chamber is intensifying its efforts to combat the “Keep It in the Ground Movement,” eliminate bureaucratic delays to permitting, and promote new energy infrastructure to keep our resources—and our economy—moving.

    Maintaining a dynamic and growing economy also requires prudent regulation and legal reform. We will continue to seize opportunities in the agencies and in the courts to restore common sense to rule-making, building on the progress of the last two years.

    America’s tort system drains hundreds of billions of dollars from our economy, and undermines justice. The Chamber will keep up our 20-year fight for commonsense legal reforms at the federal and state levels, including fixing the broken mass and class action system, stopping asbestos litigation abuse, and pushing back hard against over-enforcement.

    We’re also focused on robust cybersecurity. Malicious cyberattacks cost our economy up to $109 billion a year. Cyber challenges, such as protecting critical infrastructure and addressing liability concerns, require a coordinated effort by business and government. The Chamber is helping lead that partnership. We also continue to help businesses of all sizes understand, anticipate, and mitigate cyberattacks.

    Finally, we can’t overlook the reality that America’s powerhouse economy has been fueled by advanced technology and intellectual property. The Chamber advocates for rational policy solutions to capitalize on the promise of technology. For example, the Chamber is leading a multi-industry push for a federal data privacy law that will protect consumer privacy and promote innovation. And we continue to lead the worldwide effort to safeguard intellectual property, which is essential to driving growth, creating jobs, saving lives, and solving big challenges at home and abroad.

    All those issues—and others that are important but too numerous to mention here—will help form our agenda for 2019.

    Overarching Concerns

    I would be remiss if I didn’t close by raising some of the bigger issues that transcend an annual agenda.

    Whether we move forward on the big policy issues I’ve addressed today will depend, in part, on the national and international environment in which we live and do business. Plans, agendas and, indeed, economic forecasts can be easily sidelined by events we didn’t anticipate, think about, or prepare for. So let me send you on your way this morning with a few things that are on my list of concerns. And I’d be interested to know what’s on your list. Drop me a note or an email.

    First, authoritarian regimes are on the rise across the globe. The U.S. and our allies spent the last 70 years working to expand democracy and freedom, which has played a large role in global growth and progress ever since. Today, we face the task of rebuilding domestic consensus for supporting democracy abroad—and the Chamber is poised to lead.

    Our Center for International Private Enterprise shows how democracy can be advanced around the globe through private enterprise and market-oriented reform. And our International Division—made up of dozens of policy experts, numerous bilateral business councils, and a network of AmCham partners in 103 counties—helps shape global policy.

    We must also reaffirm and modernize multilateral and regional organizations and cooperative arrangements—such as the WTO, NATO, the EU, and others. Let’s not lose sight of the extraordinary prosperity and peace they’ve provided for three quarters of a century.

    Second, and closely related, free speech is under assault at home and abroad. When governments move from regulating conduct to regulating or even suppressing opinion, a dangerous line has been crossed. There’s an answer to speech you don’t like—it’s more speech! Not less. The same is true in politics. We need more voices participating in the process, not fewer. And we must guard against any effort to silence the voice of business—or any other voice—through threats, intimidation, or excessive regulations.

    Third, we all marvel at and benefit from rapid technological advancement. But the misuse of technology and data by even a few bad actors is dangerous and invites the very thing I warned about last year—a techlash. And then you risk strangling the goose that laid the golden egg with overregulation.

    Fourth, anyone who thought I wasn’t going to mention the looming insolvency of our entitlement programs doesn’t know me very well! If we fail to act, it will be a one-two punch to the American Dream: the most vulnerable will be left with a fraying safety net, and future generations will be left with mountains of debt that make today’s debt look like the proverbial mole hill.

    Fifth, and finally, there is a lack of appreciation for the free enterprise system. Failed ideas like socialism or government-managed economies are steadily creeping into the political mainstream. Here’s all you need to know: When a centralized government tries to plan everything for everyone, it provides inferior service for all. Even with its occasional flaws and excesses, no one has ever devised a better system than free enterprise.

    I don’t know about you, but I’m going to stick with the entrepreneurs, the innovators, and the dreamers.

    Conclusion

    Ladies and gentlemen, American business is the product of American dreamers—and it is the conduit for American dreams.

    We’re working to foster the world’s most competitive workforce—so businesses have deep wells of talent to draw from and people have broad opportunities to succeed.

    We’re urging modernization of our nation’s infrastructure because it is the foundation on which dreams are built. We’re advocating for trade deals, and not trade wars, because continued growth requires global engagement.

    We’re pushing our leaders to restore responsible governing and rebuild the political center so that Washington, and the states, can be a help and not a hindrance. We’re advancing an agenda for growth now, and anticipating the challenges that threaten prosperity later.

    And we’re confronting attacks on companies and assaults on free enterprise so that businesses can continue to do what they do best: create opportunity and fuel the dreams of all Americans.

    We are a nation of dreamers. Even better, we are a nation where dreams can be achieved.

    Let’s keep it that way.

    Thank you very much.