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Letter to the Editor

Thursday, July 29
Dear Editor:

Mr. Lloyd Keays of Rotterdam makes the surprising accusation in the Messenger (July 28, 2010) that the American Chamber of Commerce in Georgia is lobbying against fuel standards and tighter controls on auto emissions in the latest issue of its magazine ""

It appears that Mr. Keays was enjoying himself so much on his stay in Georgia that he did not take the time to carefully read the article that provoked his ire.

On pages 36-37 of the latest issue of, we published two opposing views on the issue of regulating automobile emissions and fuel quality standards. On page 36 was the position of the Association of Oil Product Importers and Distributors, which favors imposition of European standard emission inspection and fuel quality standards. On page 37 was the opposing view of economists at Freedom University, expressing the typical libertarian opposition to government regulations for the protection of public health. At the top of page 36, the "tag line" introducing the two articles states: " asks the Association of Oil Product Importers and Distributors and economists at Freedom University to debate how to improve the city's air quality." Therefore, neither the pro-regulation stance articulated by the association nor the anti-regulation stance articulated by the "Freedom" economists were the positions of the American Chamber of Commerce. They were the positions of the respective organizations, as we made clear.

Nobody could be happier than the undersigned writers of this letter -- an American member and a Dutch member of the AmCham board of directors -- that Mr. Keays enjoyed so much his stay in Georgia. Having made our lives in this country as businessmen, husbands and fathers, we love its nature, its agriculture, its land and its people. And we care deeply about its environment. As members of the Board of Directors of Amcham -- and many of our colleagues on the board feel the same way -- we value that AmCham supports corporate social responsibility in this country that strives to conform local standards and conditions to the best that America and Europe have to offer.

Mr. Keays comments on the great potential of Georgian agriculture are also well taken. We couldn't agree more. Indeed, the virtues of Georgian agriculture and the need to develop it more were precisely the theme of the issue that Mr. Keays was reading at Prospero's Books, and the issue contained three lengthy articles on that very subject.

We invite Mr. Keays not only to come back to Georgia again and again as a tourist, but also to consider investing in this wonderful country to help it realize its potential in the agriculture sector that interests him so much. AmCham stands read to assist him in any way it can.

Ted Jonas
DLA Piper Georgia, Member of the Board of AmCham