The Amcham Story
The AMCHAM story
25 years ago in the Fall, the United States Ambassador to Luxembourg, the honorable Clay Constantinou, invited the leaders on the American business community in Luxembourg to his residence for a meeting.
He advised these company leaders of his concern that they needed to prepare themselves for a more complicated world in which government access to the Luxembourg Prime Minister and key government ministers and officials would become more difficult. He likewise advised them that they needed to start to devote more attention to matters in Brussels as the European Commission and other pan European governing entities gain more power and influence.
To better position themselves to successfully function in this new world, he urged them to establish an American Chamber of Commerce in Luxembourg with a pan European affiliation linked to other American Chambers of Commerce across Europe and with the US Chamber of Commerce in the United States.
The US Companies listened, agreed with the wisdom of this approach and formed an American Chamber of Commerce in Luxembourg, affiliated with the US Chamber of Commerce and with the other AMCHAMs across Europe.
Several years later, the leadership of AMCHAM in Luxembourg conducted an internal review. Based on the feedback from the members, they decided to internally reengineer the business model with the goal to achieve growth in influence and membership, as a first step adopting four pillars of activities to support and provide services to the members and broader society by focusing on the following services:
- Networking in the English language to connect members with each other and with decision makers in Luxembourg (and elsewhere) for mutual support and benefit.
- The gathering and sharing within the membership of information concerning how Luxembourg works: Understanding the rules of the game concerning how things work, what are the objectives behind the rules and policies as well as what to do, how to do it, with whom to do it…who to contact and what to say…who not to contact and what not to say.
- Problem solving: identifying problem areas where current business policies and practices are not the best they can be… identifying alternative practices and solutions either as a result of internal brainstorming and analysis or by the discovery of alternative solutions from other jurisdictions which could be brought into practice here in Luxembourg to the benefit of companies and the broader society.
- Engagement and lobbying with the government to communicate the concerns of the AMCHAM community members and engage with the government to find solutions.
Based on these four pillars of service the management of AMCHAM looked internally to see what they needed to change to best put these four pillars into effective implementation. They committed to make the following changes:
- Ensure a predominance of AMCHAM’s focus on improving and optimizing the internal Luxembourg environment and solving local issues impacting Luxembourg’s attractiveness as the optimal European location for International companies looking to engage in European business.
- Establish as many committees as appropriate to ensure access to needed information and influence in all of the spheres of activity which touch businesses operating in Luxembourg.
- Broaden the base of membership beyond the base of American affiliated companies to include all companies of good quality functioning within the Luxembourg economy.
- Put service to members first: we never forget that service to you is our first priority.
As a result of these pillars of focus, AMCHAM Luxembourg has grown during the past 25 years to become the largest private Chamber of Commerce in Luxembourg. We are an organization representing almost 400 member companies representing a demographic of 30% US Companies, 20% Purely domestic Luxembourg companies, and 50% international companies from around the world. We are broadly international while being also primarily locally focused. We are connected within the American Chambers of Commerce in Europe (ACE) to a pan European network of like-minded English-speaking business networking organizations and connected likewise with the US Chamber of Commerce, the largest business organization in the world. We are unique and optimized to serve!
This past year of 2020 has been a tough year…certainly for our members and friends, but for us as well. As soon as the crisis hit, we shut down the office to protect our staff, cancelled our scheduled events to protect our members and undertook a rapid reorganization revamp to go digital! We have upgraded our IT equipment and implemented new policies of operation launching digital committee meetings via ZOOM, putting on digital events. Most importantly, we have launched a weekly digital Newsletter (to replace our quarterly Connexion magazine) which has aggregated together all of the government and economic news about subsidies and policy issues (all translated into English language to fit the needs of our Anglophone audience).
Now with the medical crisis coming under control, we are focusing our efforts on the economic recovery to make sure the voice of the international community is heard and considered by the government officials making and implementing the decisions. We are concerned by the challenges ahead and believe there is much work to be done… and so we will work hard to support and defend the needs of our constituency.
To our members, we say: thank you for allowing us to serve and support you!
To the ecosystem of the Luxembourg government, society and economy, we say: Thank you for allowing AMCHAM to represent our constituents and for listening when we tell our member’s needs, concerns and recommendations. Thank you for including us and our members as partners to make Luxembourg the best it can be… for all of us!
To those who are not yet members, we say: join us!
To all, we say: Together we can face the challenges of today, find solutions and overcome these challenges and make the world better and more successful for our shareholders, our fellow employees, and for the inhabitants and ecosystem of Luxembourg.
In line with the Luxembourg philosophy moto, we say: Let’s make it happen!