AmCham moves to its own office !
The American Chamber of Commerce in Bangladesh (AmCham) has inaugurated its own office on 7th September 2019 located at The Pearl Trade Centre (11th Floor), Plot # Cha – 90/3, Pragati Sharani, a high-quality commercial property nearby the Baridhara diplomatic enclave and the U.S. Embassy, Dhaka. This move obviously shows greater commitment of US Companies & its affiliates working in Bangladesh, strengthening its presence and offering its members the opportunity to utilize the State-of-the-Art facilities.
Since 1988, starting as American Bangladesh Economic Forum (ABEF), the predecessor of the American Chamber of Commerce in Bangladesh (AmCham since 1996) housed in Sheraton and used to enjoy all the amnesties of the leading 5 star hotel till 2018 located in Shahbag which later on converted into “Ruposhi Bangla” hotel and now “ The Intercontinental” Dhaka. In this historical moment, AmCham thanks all the founding members, executive committee members, sponsors of the new premises and all members of AmCham and wishes to continue the distinction in coming days. With the support of our distinguished members, we were able to expand from a 400+sqft office space to just over 3150sqft. The additional space in the new premises, a futuristic architectural excellence equipped with all modern features will enable AmCham not only to run its daily operation from here but also allow us to better serve our members more efficiently and effectively having more control of event space and costs, as well as design some more interesting programs. AmCham is also in a position to let members avail the opportunity as well, at its multi-purpose “AmCham Abdul Monem Hall” where the inauguration took place. The evening of the event turned out to be an occasion for the members and well-wishers of AmCham to catch up with the good old times. The whole building starting from the entrance was decorated with numerous artistic pieces commemorating the true friendship between these two friendly nations. H.E. Earl Robert Miller, the US Ambassador to Bangladesh attended the inauguration as the “Guest of Honor” which was hosted by former AmCham President Md. Nurul Islam. The event was also attended by current Executive Committee members, former Presidentsand members of the Chamber, distinguished leaders from the business community, eminent citizens of the country and members of the diplomatic community.
Md. Nurul Islam, in his welcome remarks recalled the rich history of AmCham in Bangladesh, the organization now the leading country chamber that included the early days of ABEF (American Bangladesh Economic Forum), nearly three decades ago since 1988, the predecessor of AmCham and how it converted to the “American Chamber of Commerce in Bangladesh” in 1996 and hosted significant dignitaries from the government and private sectors in its numerous programs. Mr. Islam recalled the progression of the new office premises starting from the Sheraton Hotel to its present location and the many contribution made by its numerous committee members and thanked those who contributed in this move and recognized the members who supported the move financially through special contributions and sponsorships for its ground-breaking advancement in pursuing the chambers core objective – promoting bilateral economic relations between the USA and Bangladesh. The ABEF & AmCham in Bangladesh has been served by Syed Humayun Kabir, Dr. Forrest E. Cookson, Mr. Aftab Ul Islam, Andrew L. Fawthrop, Syed Ershad Ahmed & Md. Nurul Islam till date and except the first Mr. Kabir (deceased) and Mr. Fawthrop, all of the presidents were there to walk down the memory lane .
Dr. Forrest E. Cookson who led ABEF & AmCham since 1994-99 first took the stage following Mr. Islam and shared his memoirs on the journey . In his remarks Cookson recalled how SH Kabir and Mahbub Jamil laid the foundation and established the principles and character of the finest chamber in Bangladesh. He also said Freedom, Responsibility and Service are the core aspects of US business within and beyond its territory and AmCham Bangladesh has not deviated from there since day one and he wished to uphold the same for the days to come.
Mr. Aftab Ul Islam , the longest serving President in the history of AmCham for five (5) terms, in his remarks paid tributes to the members of the chamber for offering him the opportunity to serve them that long ! He exclaimed “History in the making” today as it had been long cherished dream of any chamber to have its own office . He recalled how it faced difficulty to fulfill the minimum requirement to be the signatories of Memorandum and Articles of Association which is now a chamber of 240+ members. He sincerely thanked the then Commerce Minister Mr. Tofail Ahmed M.P who had played an instrumental role in allowing ABEF to be registered as the “American Chamber of Commerce” in Bangladesh in his first term in office back in 1996. He also mentioned how AmCham pioneered in the single country Trade Show and to recognize performance of business personalities and entities from the private sector, introduced “The Business Executive Award” from 1997 and “Outstanding American Company Award” from 1999.
AmCham current President Mr. Syed Ershad Ahmed who had served as the President for first time in the year 2007-09, in his remarks mentioned that he had the privilege to witness and actively participate in the offing of ABEF followed by AmCham in Bangladesh from day one ! He mentioned that the desire to establish and operate AmCham from its own premise was first initiated during 2007; however couldn’t conclude due to unavoidable circumstances. He congratulated Mr. Nurul Islam for making it happen finally . He specially emphasized on undertaking research on vital issues of economic interest with a view to identify the problems, opportunities and recommend action and policies to overcome the snags on the way to progress. He called for stimulating greater understanding about each other’s economic potentials and supports measures calculated to benefit and protect the interests of the members.
The US Ambassador Ear R. Miller addressed the attendees with his remarks, congratulating AmCham for opening its own premises and its contribution of excellence in bi-lateral trade and investment in Bangladesh. The US envoy said he is eager to continue working with AmCham and their partners in the government to address the challenges to bring further investment and trade flow from USA. Bangladesh is rising and rapidly developing to achieve middle-income country status, Miller said. “All the progresses made in the economic journey, US and Bangladesh are indispensable partners in this extraordinary progress”. The US will continue this “strong support” for Bangladesh’s development. “We will focus on ensuing free and open Indo-Pacific region,” he said, adding that they will also support Bangladesh in addressing the challenges in the way forward. He referred to the readymade garment industry in Bangladesh, which is the second largest exporter of clothes in the world. “I truly believe Made in Bangladesh can someday be global gold standards for quality products, transparent business practices, ease in doing business and workers safety and rights.” Since the beginning of AmCham in Bangladesh the bilateral trade volume increased in almost 8-fold from less than 1 billion USD to more than 8 billion USD per annum making USA the single largest destination of Bangladeshi exports. It may be mentioned, USA is still the largest contributor to Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Bangladesh which is mostly lodged in energy sector responsible for lion share of the national supply. Amongst others, International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) – Bangladesh, President Mr. Mahbubur Rahman and AmCham Vice President Showkat Ali Sarkar also briefly recounted the beginning of the journey of the chamber which paved the avenue for other country specific and joint chambers establishment in Bangladesh.
Between courses the musical entertainment delighted the guests with a celebratory plaque placed in the stage for a ceremonial inauguration. It was at this moment U.S. Ambassador Earl R. Miller, AmCham (former) President Md. Nurul Islam and Executive Committee members were joined on stage by Mr. M. Syduzzaman, Mr. Mahbubur Rahman, AmCham’s present & former Presidents, AmCham Vice President and Executive Committee members for their fellowship and determination to get AmCham to where it is today in Bangladesh and to take next level and beyond. We once again take this opportunity to thank our members for the wonderful support we have received and the Executive Committee members for their vision and relentless dedication and passion; without these the chamber would not have become it has today.
It’s Your Chamber: if you’re in the area, please feel free to drop by and we’ll be more than happy to take you for a tour !