The year was 1797 and the place was the sixth largest city in the United States – Salem, Massachusetts. On May 22nd of that year, the first American ship returned from a nearly non-stop voyage from Manila with the first cargo of Philippine products. The vessel was the brig “Astrea” on her maiden voyage. She had sailed from Salem to Manila in 164 days and then returned in 163 days with a cargo of sugar, pepper and indigo. Now, more than 200 years later, we see the continuing growth of trade between the two countries.
AmCham came to life in 1902 as the Manila Coffee Round Table and later as Manila Merchants Association. Incorporated in 1920, it has since then recognized and reconfirmed the commitment of American business to the development and welfare of the Philippines and the Filipino people.