Dear CanCham Members and Friends,
It is my pleasure to support the Canadian Chamber in Thailand, as President for 2015-2016. I have been a board member for over 20 years now and am committed to supporting Canadian and Thai business initiatives by fostering Thai-Canadian relationships. I will start by saying that we have re-branded the TCCC as CanCham this year and recently launched at the Thanachart Maple Leaf Ball.
Our key objectives as a Canadian Chamber here in Thailand is to provide our members with 1. Value added business support benefits, products and services; 2. Business and social access to the Thai & Canadian Markets; and 3. Business support activities to raise the profile of our Chamber members.
If you know the Chamber, we raise only a third of our revenues from memberships and two-thirds of our revenues from activities in support of our members. This means that we are very active with over 35 Chamber events, speaker events, seminars, workshops networking events and joint initiatives with the Canadian Embassy, Canada ASEAN Business Council, the Thai Chamber of Commerce and other foreign chambers in Thailand to mention a few.
Thailand is clearly the hub of access to all of SE Asia. If you are keen to access the wealth of the SE Asian markets of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, being located in Thailand provides many advantages. As a Chamber we have supported the Canadian Embassy in setting up a number of business missions to a number of these countries over the past few years, helping to introduce our members to new opportunities to expand their business interests.
Thailand has had steady economic development and strong support industries, the country’s industrial production has grown and diversified rapidly both in long-established and newly emerging industries. Thailand too has gained a well-deserved reputation throughout the world for its gracious hospitality and its friendly and diverse culture. Importantly there are numerous government agencies supporting investors with both Tax Incentives and Non-tax Incentives. Thailand recently was ranked 49th of 189 countries by the World Bank for ease of doing business. Canada in comparison ranked 14th. Clearly the Government of Thailand is concerned about this and CanCham, as part of the JFCCT, is supporting efforts to improve efficiencies in doing business in Thailand.
If you are looking for innovation, stability and profitability, then invest in Canada. Canada welcomes foreign business investments and offers many competitive advantages. Canada is ranked first as the best country in the G-20 to do business, according to both Forbes and Bloomberg. Our members can support these linkages and our Chamber will work to develop two way communication and trade. Canadian business is known to be both ethical and environmentally sound. Canada has a highly educated workforce and by far the lowest business tax in the G-7.
The Executive Board of the Canadian Chamber holds its annual planning session early in the year to update and prioritize our business plan. Priority events this year include our Maple Leaf Ball for Thanksgiving and the very successful Beaver Golf Tournament. Both events were greatly improved and attendance has been maxed out to waiting list only. Also, the CanCham Board decided to further expand our collaboration with other Chambers, thus increasing the attendance and variety of nationalities participating.
Active contribution and assistance from Canada’s Ambassador to Thailand, Dr. Philip Calvert, plus his entire team has greatly stepped up the Embassy-CanCham cooperation in promoting trade ties between the two countries.
The CanCham holds an honorary position on the board of the Canada ASEAN Business Council (CABC) located in Singapore. Our Executive Board decided that association with the CABC most suitably meets our goals for CanCham member representation in the region. We actively participate in CABC board meetings via teleconference or by physical presence when practical. Through the CABC, CanCham members now have another line to the Canadian government and a more regional Canadian presence in Asia. The chamber also has strong linkage and collaborates with other Canadian chambers in the region. CANCHAM members are extended benefits to attend some partner events at member’s costs in those countries.
The CANCHAM with the dedication of our Corporate Social Responsibility Committee continues to support the People’s Eye Care Foundation (PECF). In 2015, through the generous contributions of our members and partners, the CanCham donated THB 700,000 to the foundation who provided cataract and ocular lens surgeries to the needy and poor throughout the provinces of Thailand. They would not normally get the chance to have their eyesight either saved or restored. The number of people we can help is only limited by the donation amount generated.
The chamber also supports the Thai Red Cross and the YWCA in their fund raising efforts by participating in the annual fairs. Combined donation to these two initiatives for 2014 amounted to close to THB 100,000. Earlier in the year, the chamber worked to generate publicity and funds in partnership with our members to help the victims of the earthquake in Nepal.
The Chamber office saw a change at the helm by welcoming a new Executive Director, Kelly Cailes, in early 2016. Kelly brings with him both past knowledge of the CanCham and private business experience to help promote our CanCham goals. The next time you are near our office, why not pop in to say hello. Alternatively, you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and he would be happy to come see you and your team. Kelly is supported by our Membership & Events Coordinator and our Accounting and Administrative Coordinator. Through the Canadian Embassy we also had the benefit of an intern from UBC in Vancouver, who provide important support to our team. The CanCham team is committed to assisting our members in whatever we can.
In closing, as President of the CanCham Thailand I would like to thank all of our members, associates and staff for the active contribution in making a strong and vibrant organization. I would also like to give a special thanks to the Ambassador and his team for all their support in many ways. Finally, no chamber could successfully operate without the dedication and time that the Board Members, Advisors and Executive Director put into it. They truly are the machine that keeps us moving ahead.
If you have any comments or suggestions and would like to contact me directly, please feel free to do so at email@example.com. I have provided a summary below of the events and activities that CanCham conducted in 2015-2016.
Ron D. Livingston