U.S. Government Bimonthly Briefing – 26th March 2020
On March 26th, AMCHAM’s Honorary National Executive Board Members, Ms. Aileen Nandi, Minister Counselor Commercial Affairs, U.S. Embassy and Mr. Robert Garverick, Minister Counselor EEST, U.S. Embassy, briefed members amidst concerns arising out of the outbreak of COVID-19 and the ensuing governmental lockdown over a conference call. More than 40 members participated in call. Ms. Ranjana Khanna, Director General CEO, AMCHAM, introduced both speakers. Post their opening remarks, the participants raised issues and sought clarifications and interventions to their present challenges related to COVID-19 ranging from exemptions from lockdowns and temporary closures based on essential business services.
Ms. Aileen Nandi, in response to a question raised about employees being stranded in the U.S. with their visa/permits running out, encouraged them to check out U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for more details. Mr. Rob Garverick encouraged all U.S. citizens to sign up for Smart Traveler Enrolment Program (STEP), a free service that allows U.S. citizens traveling abroad to enroll with the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate to get regular security updates. The USG update on the COVID-19 situation and any impact they perceive from a trade perspective, with focus on overall economy, particularly life sciences, pharma sector, banking and financial services, supply chain and transportation, was also discussed. It was proposed to set up similar conference calls for all regions with the U.S. Consulates so that issues could be addressed locally quickly.