The Guam Chamber of Commerce exists to advance the general welfare of its members by promoting the economic, social and environmental well-being of the Territory of Guam; The Chamber seeks to develop, encourage, promote and protect the commercial, professional, financial, and general business interest of the Territory of Guam, to extend and promote the trade and commerce, and foster, develop and protect the industry of the Territory; to procure laws and regulations desirable for the benefit of business in general; and to provide a forum for the reflection of sentiments of business regarding matters affecting its interests.
To be the voice and impetus for economic growth on Guam through
- Creating opportunity, and
- Upholding the Hafa Adai spirit*
*The quality of living on Guam that makes it unique.
Throughout the world people have awakened to the importance of the system of free enterprise - a system of private individuals working in the freedom of the market place in competition with each other, creating wealth and employment, for society and providing the basis for stability. The private sector must find solutions for society's needs. Proposals to encourage and enable more Guamanians to work, prosper, save, invest and realize their ambitions can only come from an organization that is free from bureaucracy and where every member has a say.
The Guam Chamber is such an organization. It is a voluntary organization. Strong because of an extensive membership, united in its goals of advancing the general welfare and prosperity of Guam, and guided by its Code of Ethics. With only five employees, it has no bureaucracy to strangle proposals, but rather encourages membership input.
Businesses sometimes fail to recognize the fact that the Chamber of Commerce is their salesman and watchdog - unceasingly promoting their products and services while at the same time protecting their interests. This is particularly important in the political arena, where a single voice can go unheard, but the collective, united voice of the Chamber of Commerce has often proven effective and beneficial to business.
Who Are We?
The Guam Chamber of Commerce is a non-profit voluntary association of over 400 business and professional individuals and firms united in their desire to improve business and build a better social and economic community on Guam.
The membership of the Chamber is predominantly drawn from the business community. Membership in the Chamber enables segments of the community to accomplish collectively what they would be unable to do individually. While the activities of the Chamber may have varied over its over 90 years of existence, Guam's economic development and well-being remains a constant priority. Our member companies provide jobs for more than 40,000 people who make Guam their home. Our combined membership represents 70% of Guam's Gross Island Product, which totals more than $3 billion. Seventy-eight percent (78%) of the business entities we represent are directly involved in Guam's tourism industry.
Accordingly, the Chamber has assumed the responsibility of strengthening the private sector by proposing solutions to community-wide problems. In recent years it has involved itself largely with the problems and possible solutions of Government spending levels, the promotion of a larger U.S. military presence on Guam, providing seminars to enhance business development and management skills, Guam's inclusion in the tax treaties between the United States and foreign nations, promoting visa waiver programs to enhance tourism growth, and the removal of federal and local barriers to increase business activity and effectiveness on Guam.
The preservation of Guam's natural beauty is also important to the Chamber of Commerce. Hence, the Na' La' Bonita Guam program was established in 2000, which continues to be a contributing factor to community involvement in island beautification.
The ideals of the Guam Chamber of Commerce are embodied in its Code of Ethics, to which all members ascribe.
How Do We Work?
A volunteer twenty-member Board of Directors governs the Chamber. The Board of Directors is vested with the power to establish the Chamber's public positions and policies. The membership elects members to the Board at yearly elections with one director seat guaranteed for small business representation.
The Chairman of the Board is the principal elected officer of the Chamber and its chief executive officer. The Vice-Chairman and Secretary/Treasurer are other elected officers of the Chamber. Together with the Immediate Past Chairman of the Board, the member who received the most votes at the last Board election, and the President, form the executive committee that functions as a clearing house on Chamber matters.
Chamber members through a network of committees carry out most Chamber work. A work plan is drafted early in the administrative year, providing the blueprint for the Chamber's work. Volunteers from the Chamber membership are assigned to committees to work towards the accomplishment of the goals in the plan.
What Do We Do?
The scope of Chamber activities is unlimited, depending on the needs of the community and the desire and ability of the Chamber to carry them out. Chambers of Commerce have traditionally been the information agency of an area or community, maintaining factual data, folders and maps to answer inquiries of all types, whether they be personal interviews, telephone or by mail, coming from residents and visitors alike. The Chamber promotes the area's economy and encourages business and industrial investment, broadening the tax base and providing employment. To business prospects and newcomers, the Chamber represents the community's "front door."
The Chamber of Commerce is becoming increasingly involved in macro-economic issues touching on education, human relations, environmental, cultural and governmental concerns. These problems have caused the Chamber of Commerce to become a viable force in seeking solutions to some of Guam's social problems.
How Do We Get the Job Done?
There are six standing committees within the Chamber: the Retail Merchants Committee, Wholesale Merchants Committee, Small Business Focus & Development Committee, Maritime Affairs Committee, Guam Young Professionals and Armed Forces Committee whose policies and actions are governed by committee by-laws. Two have additional membership fees associated with membership as follows:
The Guam Young Professionals (GYP) Exists to energize, engage and empower the young professionals of our island to be inspired, be influential and be connected; recognizes the economic and social importance of engaging our young professionals in all issues and opportunities impacting our community and region and the need to retain existing, and attract young professionals to lead our community into the future. An annual fee of $50 for Chamber member companies or $75 for non-Chamber members is assessed from each young professional wishing to engage in GYP activities.
The Armed Forces Committee (AFC) is a voluntary group of dedicated individuals working together to promote development of Guam's business and commerce with the military. Goals of the AFC are to foster goodwill and support the continuing presence on Guam; to act as a liaison to facilitate a stronger relationship between Guam's civilian and military communities; to enhance public awareness of the important economic and socio-cultural impact of the military in Guam; to promote Guam as a leisure destination for uniformed and civilian military employees; and, to enhance networking contacts and exchange of information with the military. Any authorized representative of a voting Chamber member in good standing may become a member of the AFC. An annual fee of $150 is assessed from each member.
Other committees are established to carry out continuing activities and in some cases are subject to Board approval. As the need arises to address international, federal and local issues of concern to the Chamber, special ad hoc committees may be appointed by the Chairman of the Board or at the discretion of the Board.
The Chamber is supported entirely by its members. Membership dues are the backbone of the Chamber, with special assessments occasionally called. Administrative staff consists of the President, Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, two Staff Assistants and an Administrative Assistant. The Chamber office is located at 173 Aspinall Avenue, Suite 101, Ada Plaza Center in Hagåtña, which also houses most meetings held by the Board and Chamber Committees.
Code of Ethics
Each member of the Guam Chamber of Commerce ascribes to a Code of Ethics, which serves as inspiration for each Member to rise above minimum standards. Through the code, the Chamber proclaims and reaffirms its commitment to the highest ideals of principled free enterprise in the American democratic tradition and in the context of America's outpost in the Pacific Rim. While each Member must find within his conscience his own measure of right and wrong, as a body, the Chamber adopts this code to encourage and exhort its Members to the common good, within its purposes, and, when necessary, to judge that conduct which is unbecoming a Member of this Chamber.
General Membership Meetings
Membership meetings are regularly held once a month (generally on the last Wednesday of each month) with notices of each meeting faxed or sent electronically in advance to all members of the Chamber. The Annual Membership meeting is held in November.