Yesterday morning on one of the rainiest days in Singapore since 1981, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris arrived at Gardens by the Bay to give a policy speech at Flower Field Hall. In her speech, she emphasized the importance the U.S. places on partnerships in Singapore, in Southeast Asia and throughout the Indo-Pacific. American values were on full display – candor, openness, inclusiveness, and optimism with an eye toward a future where human rights, peace, stability, and freedom endure.
In line with these values and to the excitement of our business community, VP Harris announced during her speech that the U.S. is offering to host APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) in 2023. In doing so, the U.S. demonstrates a commitment to the economic prosperity of the region by working with APEC to promote balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative, and secure growth.
Following the policy speech, VP Harris joined business leaders next door in the aptly named Waterview Room where torrents of rain continued to wash down the floor-to-ceiling windows. She came in like a beam of light and was eager to have a conversation on supply chain partnerships, collaboration, and coordination.
I had the honor of moderating the roundtable that also included Minister for Trade and Industry Gan Kim Yong and six business leaders in Singapore from 3M, BlackRock, GlobalFoundries, P&G, Temasek, and UPS. These six companies were selected to take part in the roundtable because of the strategic and operational contributions they make to improving supply chain resilience. For about an hour, we discussed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the climate crisis, and production capability & capacity on supply chain resilience with special consideration for frontline workers and workplace safety.
You can read additional details and commentary on the Vice President’s visit via various media outlets. What I wanted to share with you in this message is my personal experience of her visit. First, I was acutely aware during the roundtable that I had a responsibility to represent the interests of the American business community and deliver on AmCham’s promise of advocacy, business insights, and connections. Second, I can assure you that both VP Harris and Minister Gan are keen to partner with industry to both identify issues and develop solutions. Finally, the success of private-public partnerships is dependent upon the three key elements Minister Gan detailed: trust, diversification, and connectivity. Our business community has an abundance of these key elements, so it is incumbent upon us to take the lead in:
- Creating innovative business models in manufacturing, distribution, and resupply
- Tackling the climate crisis through adaptation and mitigation measures (there is no time to waste)
- Ensuring workforce protection, upskilling and development
As VP Harris reminded us at the conclusion of the roundtable, we have a lot of work ahead of us. Over the coming months, AmCham members will be called upon to support the U.S.-Singapore Partnership for Growth and Innovation as well as the continuing U.S.-Singapore dialogue on supply chains to enhance cooperative efforts. Please stay tuned as we identify areas in which we can play an active role.
Flowers come after the rain. I can already see signs of flowers budding.
See you at AmCham soon,
Dr. Hsien-Hsien Lei
Chief Executive Officer
The American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore