Saipan Chamber of Commerce
Saipan Chamber of Commerce
The Saipan Chamber of Commerce started even before the political status of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) was defined in 1978. Towards the end of 1959, a group of entrepreneurial businessmen got together to form a loose association of businesses. Back in the 1950’s the population of Saipan was still very small, there were hardly any cars on the island, no resort hotels, no traffic lights. But what the islands did have was the spirit to move forward and use business to bring prosperity and a diversity of services to the people who live here.
In 1959, Jose C. Tenorio, also known as Joeten, became the first President of the Saipan Chamber of Commerce. Many of the initial meetings were held in lateral quonset huts and at the former Saipan and Royal Taga Hotels.
Back then there were different challenges that the organization faced. For example, Joeten represented the Chambers interests during the political negotiation and transition period from Trust Territory to Commonwealth status with the United States of America. The Chamber was then officially incorporated in 1976, two years before the islands became an official Commonwealth of the United States.
Today the Saipan Chamber of Commerce has 140 members ranging from sole-proprietors to large resort hotels, service companies to garment factories and construction companies. The diversity of our membership reflects the diversity of the people of the Commonwealth.
Purposes and Goals
The Saipan Chamber of Commerce, established in 1959 and incorporated in 1976, is a non-profit association of businesses and professional individuals working together to improve business opportunities and build a better economic and civic community on Saipan. The Chamber of Commerce prides itself on its main charge of being Saipan’s “Voice of Business”.
The Chamber guards its political neutrality. Its objectives are to organize efforts in the best interests of business and economic development of Saipan. In addition, the Chamber and its members adhere to a strict code of ethics designed to underscore all business activities with the responsibility of being good citizens, neighbors and members of our local as well as our global community.
Membership in the Chamber enables individuals to accomplish work together that would be difficult on an individual approach. The Chamber is a volunteer-operated organization. Memberships are available for businesses, non-profit or institutional organizations, government entities, and private citizens with an interest in participating in the Chamber’s activities.
The Saipan Chamber of Commerce, according to its By-laws, is organized to promote and protect the commercial, professional, financial and general business interests, and the trade and commerce of Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Any member may be expelled from the Chamber for “unbecoming conduct”. The Saipan Chamber of Commerce proclaims and reaffirms its commitment to the highest ideals of free enterprise in an American democratic society.
What the Saipan Chamber of Commerce does best.
The Saipan Chamber of Commerce has played a significant role in the economic development of Saipan from the times of the Trust Territory through the formation of the new Commonwealth, and continues to facilitate economic health and responsible growth for today and into the future.
The scope of the Chamber’s activities is flexible, depending on the needs of the community and the desire and ability of volunteer Chamber members to carry them out. The Chamber of Commerce continues to involve itself in the macro-economic issues affecting our community. These include active participation in education, labor, legal, environmental, small business, human relations, cultural and other business and philanthropic concerns.
Developing and maintaining a good working relationship between the Commonwealth and the US Federal government is an ongoing goal of the Chamber. Positive relations with government, business and the people of the CNMI is the key to achieving the Chamber’s goal of promoting a healthy, vibrant economy for our island.
How we get the job done
Volunteer Chamber members carry out most of the work of the Chamber through a network of committees. Members select committees to participate in annually. Chamber committees are empowered to pursue activities that accomplish Chamber goals and address the needs of the business community. The Chamber’s committees meet regularly to conduct the ongoing work of the Chamber in specific focus areas.
The Saipan Chamber of Commerce is supported entirely by its members. Membership investments are the backbone of our Chamber, and comprise the financial resources to accomplish our work. The Chamber currently employs two full-time staff, the Executive Director Christine Parke, and the Chamber Coordinator, Francine Camacho. They are responsible for the management of the Chamber office and all associated chamber activities.
A nine member Board of Directors governs the Chamber. The membership elects members to the Board annually to serve for terms of one calendar year for officers, and staggered two calendar year terms for directors. The Board of Directors is responsible for reflecting the various views of the general membership and establishes Chamber policy on critical and non-critical issues.
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