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Letter from America

12 months ago The American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) set up store in Gibraltar. James Lasry, the organisation’s president, and Nicole Kayner, co-ordinator, offer their thoughts on progress to date.

It has been just over a year since the American Chamber of Commerce Gibraltar (AmCham) was established and we are thrilled to share our level of progress so far. Accredited by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, AmCham Gibraltar is a business organization that was started last spring (2014) in order to develop business relationships between Gibraltar and U.S. companies and strengthen cultural ties. We have been hard at work doing just that.

It’s important to note just how extraordinary Gibraltar really is. We have a diverse, strong and vibrant economy, a highly skilled workforce and an ideal location at the intersection of Europe and Africa. But many U.S. companies don’t know about all we have to offer. Our goal at AmCham Gibraltar is to help spread the word and to equip Gibraltar companies with the connections and know-how they need to forge mutually beneficial business relationships with the United States.

Who we are…

AmCham Gibraltar is proud to already have over thirty local members. Representing a wide range of Gibraltar's industries from finance and maritime to law and insurance, our members are respected business leaders who represent the best of Gibraltar's potential. Our members are committed to promoting Gibraltar as an incredible place to do business and building lasting relationships with U.S. companies.

One Year On…

In order to help draw attention to all Gibraltar has to offer, we have already sponsored two Trade Missions. Our inaugural Trade Mission took place last May (2014) and was led by former U.S. Secretary of the Interior the Hon. Ken Salazar, who served during the first term of President Obama’s administration. Twenty-two companies attended, fifteen Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) were signed and 170 business-to-business introductory meetings took place. It was a fantastic networking opportunity for our AmCham members and we were pleased to be joined by a number of Gibraltar dignitaries as well. The highlight was a Gala Dinner sponsored by Chief Minister Fabian Picardo in St Michael’s Cave.

In November 2014, AmCham Gibraltar led a Trade Mission to the U.S. with stops in Washington D.C. and New York City. There we celebrated the official accreditation of the Gibraltar-American Chamber of Commerce by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. We are now officially the 117th international AmCham.

Current Happenings…

We are currently preparing for our upcoming Trade Mission to Gibraltar this June 21-23 at the newly refurbished The Rock Hotel. This next Trade Mission will focus on financial services, the maritime industry and e-commerce. The Trade Mission is open to all AmCham Gibraltar members and will feature exciting special guest speakers from the U.S. as well as Chief Minister Fabian Picardo and other local dignitaries. There will be a welcome reception on the evening of Sunday, June 21st. On Monday, the Trade Mission will feature presentations about Gibraltar’s unique position as a gateway to Europe and Africa and an overview of our key industries, favorable tax climate and fantastic business environment. Time will then be allotted for key meetings between the visiting U.S. companies and Gibraltar firms. We are looking forward to the opportunity to showcase Gibraltar’s dynamic economy and create new business prospects.

In preparation for the Trade Mission, AmCham held a “Perfecting Your Elevator Pitch” training session the morning of Friday, May 22nd.  It was led by respected business growth expert, Kevin Allen  -- who counts Google, Burberry, Smythson, Swedbank and Verizon as clients – and focused on providing guidance and insight into making a strong, business-generating pitch to potential clients. The event was a huge success with over 40 people participating. Attendees were coached in how to tailor their approach to fit the client’s needs and how to project a confident, knowledgeable image. Feedback was overwhelmingly enthusiastic and AmCham Gibraltar plans to continue to offer these types of training opportunities in the future. We knew the event was a success because during the entire two hour presentation, not one person looked at his/her phone!

Going Forward…

After last year’s Trade Missions we heard over and over again from U.S. companies about what a remarkable place Gibraltar is and that they were so pleased to have the chance to discover the wealth of opportunities here. Our goal at AmCham Gibraltar is to continue to provide these networking chances so that more and more companies “across the pond” decide to do business in Gibraltar.

It can be easy to take for granted all that we have here. Our team at AmCham Gibraltar is focused on making sure we are touting our unique strengths as effectively as possible so as to continue to grow our economy. As a result of last year’s Trade Mission, at least two deals are in progress, each of which has a value of over £50 million.

 James Lasry is the president of AmCham, and Nicole Kayner a co-ordinator.

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Morning Call: The best from Gibraltar

A selection of the best articles about politics, business and life on the Rock from the last seven days.

As we head towards the end of the financial year we find that Europe is still on everybody’s mind. The Gibraltar Chronicle reports on how essential it is to include Gibraltar in any post-Brexit negotiations, no doubt partly motivated by the potential confusion on which the New Statesman Gibraltar hub this week. We’ll have another perspective this coming week – click here on Tuesday to read it.

More positive news came as the Rock moved towards heritage status; we take all credit following our piece on the Neanderthal Caves a few weeks back. There have also been celebrations around international macaque day.

And life goes on elsewhere – the doctor who resigned after an altercation with then Chelsea head honcho Jose Mourinho is a high profile Gibraltarian who might be in court defending her quarter shortly; and fishermen are alarmed at the government’s apparent decision to extend Spanish fishing rights around the Rock.

But Europe remains the biggest thing – and is likely to do so for just under 100 days at least.

Guy Clapperton is the freelance journalist who edits the New Statesman’s Gibraltar hub. You can also find him in the Guardian, Computer Business Review and Professional Outsourcing which he edits.