Hi, well aside from all the projects, this move is a good one, just what Bahrain needs, more of these economic bodies, enjoy:
The new Bahrain American Chamber of Commerce (Bahrain AmCham) was officially launched today at a function.
Claimed to be the first AmCham in the GCC, the new chamber will lead to a closer working relationship between the American and Bahraini businesses.
It will act as a catalyst for the Free Trade Agreement in order to enhance the common economic interests of the businesses in both Bahrain and the US.
William T Monroe, the US Ambassador to Bahrain, welcomed the formal establishment and accreditation of the AmCham in Bahrain. He said he expected the AmCham to give an important and positive boost to American companies operating in or entering the Bahrain market.
He said: "The timing is especially fortuitous as we expect the Free Trade Agreement, when ratified, to heighten interest in Bahrain from US companies. I know that US companies will be pleased to find an American Chamber up and operating here."
Samir Benmakhlouf, president of the new chamber, said: "Our vision for the Bahrain American Chamber of Commerce that it should become a leading impact player in the policy-making arenas of both the US and Bahrain governments. We expect it to endorse and recommend solutions to trade and investment issues that protect, benefit and enhance the common economic interests of its member companies and the nations of Bahrain and the US."
The chamber currently has 20 members, all prominent Bahraini and American companies. There are more than 180 companies which are either 100 per cent owned by Americans or American joint ventures in Bahrain.
The chamber's board consists of Samir Benmakhlouf (president), Khalid Al Zayani (first executive vice-president), Adel Al Safar (second executive vice-president, Trevor Stokes, (VP - programs), Steve Kent (VP - membership), Qays Al Zubi (VP - legal), and James Walsh (treasurer).
Answering a question on the impact of FTA on other regional agreements, Zayani said the FTA is the best thing that has happened in relation to GCC's talks with others. Talks with the European Union had dragged for years on a free trade accord, but now there seems to be an urgency to sign an accord after the Bahrain-US FTA, he said.
As part of AmCham's initiative to improve and strengthen the relationship between US and Bahraini companies, the chamber will set up committees and working groups to discuss areas of value to members and identify topics for monthly meetings.
All committees are expected to play a role in promoting Bahrain and US Free Trade Agreement initiatives.
The committees and working groups will focus on areas such as FTA, liberalisation of international trade, business sectors, Bahrain labour reforms, standards and certification and fiscal policy.