International Chamber of Commerce
|International Chamber of Commerce|
The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC; French: Chambre de commerce internationale (CCI)) is the largest, most representative business organization in the world. Its hundreds of thousands of member companies in over 130 countries have interests spanning every sector of private enterprise.
A world network of national committees keeps the ICC International Secretariat in Paris informed about national and regional business priorities. More than 2,000 experts drawn from ICC’s member companies feed their knowledge and experience into crafting the ICC stance on specific business issues.
The UN, the World Trade Organization, and many other intergovernmental bodies, both international and regional, are kept in touch with the views of international business through ICC. The ICC was the first organization granted general consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council.
- 1 History
- 2 Membership
- 3 Congresses / Meetings
- 4 Governing bodies
- 5 Dispute Resolution Services
- 6 Policy and business practices
- 7 World Chambers Federation
- 8 Events
- 9 ICC Publications
- 10 ICC Commercial Crime Services
- 11 Special projects and initiatives
- 12 ICC Research Foundation
- 13 Funding
- 14 See also
- 15 References
- 16 External links
The International Chamber of Commerce was founded in 1919 to serve world business by promoting trade and investment, open markets for goods and services, and the free flow of capital. The organization's international secretariat was established in Paris and the ICC's International Court of Arbitration was created in 1923.
The ICC's first chairman was 20th-century French Minister of Finance Etienne Clémentel. ICC's current chairman is Gerard Worms. Harold McGraw III is Vice-Chairman and Victor K. Fung is Honorary Chairman. In January 2011, Jean-Guy Carrier  was elected Secretary General of ICC by the ICC World Council.
There are two ways to become a member of ICC:
1. Through affiliation with an ICC national committee or group.
2. By direct membership with the ICC International Secretariat when a national committee/group has not yet been established in your country/territory.
Congresses / Meetings
The ICC periodically has meetings of its various international members. A brief history:
- 1919 Atlantic City, NJ, US. (committee of trade leaders discuss creating the ICC) 
- 1920 Paris, France (formation of ICC) 
- 1923 (2nd congress) Rome, Italy 
- 1925 (3rd congress) Brussels, Belgium 
- 1927 (4th) Stockholm, Sweden 
- 1929 (5th) Amsterdam, the Netherlands
- 1931 (6th) Washington, DC 
- 1933 (7th) Vienna, Austria 
- 1935 (8th) Paris, France 
- 1937 (9th), Berlin, Germany 
- 1939 (10th) originally scheduled for Tokyo, Japan. changed to Copenhagen, Denmark.
- 1947 (11th) Geneva, Switzerland 
- 1949 Quebec, Canada 
- 1951 Lisbon, Portugal 
- 1953 Vienna, Austria 
- 1955 Tokyo, Japan 
- 1957 Naples, Italy 
- 1959 Washington, DC 
- 1963 Mexico City, Mexico 
- 1967 Montreal, Quebec, Canada 
ICC' s supreme governing body is the World Council, consisting of representatives of national committees. The World Council elects ICC’s highest officers, including the Chairman and the Vice-Chairman, each of whom serves a two-year term. The Chairman, Vice-Chairman and the Honorary Chairman (the immediate past Chairman) provide the organization with high-level world leadership.They play an important role in ICC section.
Strategic direction for ICC is provided by its Executive Board, consisting of up to 30 business leaders and ex-officio members. It is elected by the World Council on the recommendation of the Chairmanship. Meeting three times a year, the Executive Board oversees the establishment of ICC’s strategic priorities and the implementation of its policies.
The ICC International Secretariat, based in Paris, is the operational arm of ICC. It develops and carries out ICC’s work programme, feeding business views into intergovernmental organizations on issues that directly affect business operations. The International Secretariat is led by the Secretary General, who is appointed by the World Council.
In 90 of the world’s nations, members have established formal ICC structures called national committees. In countries where there is no national committee, companies and organizations such as chambers of commerce and professional associations can become direct members.
The Finance Committee advises the Executive Board on all financial matters. On behalf of the Executive Board, it prepares the budget and regularly reports to the board. It reviews the financial implications of ICC activities and supervises the flow of revenues and expenses of the organization.
Dispute Resolution Services
ICC International Court of Arbitration has received 15,000 cases since its inception in 1923. Over the past decade, the Court's workload has considerably expanded.
The Court's membership has also grown and now covers 86 countries. With representatives in North America, Latin and Central America, Africa and the Middle East and Asia, the ICC Court has significantly increased its training activities on all continents and in all major languages used in international trade.
ICC Dispute Resolution Services exist in many forms:
- Amicable dispute resolution offers a framework for the settlement of disputes with the assistance of a neutral. Parties choose the settlement technique, such as negotiation or a mini-trial.
- Dispute boards are independent bodies designed to help resolve disagreements arising during the course of a contract.
- Expertise is a way of finding the right person to make an independent assessment on any subject relevant to business operations.
- DOCDEX provides expert decisions to resolve disputes related to documentary credits, collections and demand guarantees, incorporating ICC banking rules.
Policy and business practices
ICC policies, rules and standards are prepared by specialized working bodies. Normal procedure requires policy statements first to be adopted by a commission, in consultation with national committees, and then approved by the Executive Board, before they can be regarded as official and public ICC positions.
Commissions examine major policy issues of interest to world business. Each national committee (NC) or group may appoint delegates to represent it at meetings. Officers are appointed by the Chairman and Secretary General in consultation with NCs. Meetings of commissions are normally held twice a year.
Task forces are constituted under the various commissions for a limited period to undertake specific projects and report back to their parent commission. Some task forces may include representatives of more than one commission.
Code of Advertising and Marketing Communication Practice
In September, 2011, the International Chamber of Commerce introduced the newly revised consolidated ICC Code of Advertising and Marketing Communication Practice, along with a dedicated website, www.codescentre.com, to guide advertising and marketing professionals around the globe. This Code sets ethical standards and guidelines for businesses using today’s rapidly changing technology, tools and techniques to market products and services. Developed by experts from all sectors of industry and all regions of the world, the code’s purpose is to protect consumers by clearly setting out guidelines for responsible marketing.
The Code is structured in two main sections—General Provisions and Chapters. The General Provisions section contains fundamental principles and other broad concepts that apply to all marketing in all media. Code Chapters are detailed and apply to specific marketing areas, including: Sales Promotion, Sponsorship, Direct Marketing, Digital Media and Environmental Marketing Claims.
World Chambers Federation
The World Chambers Federation (WCF) was established by ICC in 1951 as the International Bureau of Chambers of Commerce. WCF is the unique global forum for chambers of commerce and industry. It aims to facilitate the exchange of best practice and the development of new global products and services for chambers, and foster international partnerships between chambers and other stakeholders to help local businesses grow.
Chambers of Commerce and Industry can be defined as:
- serving one specific geographic area
- multi-sector organizations that accept members without sectorial restrictions
- not pursuing political goals (i.e., they do not participate in elections or nominate candidates for political positions)
- acting as a voice for the business community (i.e., they advocate for business and promote legislation that is advantageous to business)
- facilitating the role of chambers of commerce as local business support agencies
WCF organizes the World Chambers Congress every two years in a different region of the world. The Congress is the only international forum for chamber leaders and professionals to share best practices, exchange insights, develop networks, address the latest business issues affecting their communities, and learn about new areas of innovation from chambers around the world.
During the Congress, WCF also announces the winners of World Chambers Competition, the only global awards program to recognize the most innovative projects undertaken by chambers of commerce and industry from around the world. The next Congress will be held in Torino in 2015.
Staged all over the world, ICC events range from large topical conferences to training sessions for small groups. These smaller seminars and courses share ICC’s expertise on commercial arbitration, dispute resolution mechanisms like mediation, Incoterms, uniform customs and practice for documentary credits (UCP) and others.
ICC Publications is the publishing arm of the International Chamber of Commerce providing business with essential resources in three broad categories: ICC rules and guidelines, practical commentaries, and reference works. The content of ICC’s publications is derived from the work of ICC commissions, institutions and individual international experts.
ICC publishes mainly for international lawyers, arbitrators, bankers, traders and students covering topics such as international banking, international trade reference and terms, law and arbitration, counterfeiting and fraud and model commercial contracts. The best known publications, Uniform Customs and Practice for Documentary Credits and Incoterms®, have been translated into more than 30 languages.
ICC offers its publications not only in the traditional paper format, but also in electronic format, eBooks.
ICC Commercial Crime Services
ICC Commercial Crime Services (CCS) provides the world business community with a centralized crime-fighting body. It draws on the worldwide resources of its members in the fight against commercial crime on many fronts.
From its base in London, and comprising three distinct crime-fighting divisions, CCS operates according to two basic precepts: to prevent commercial crime and to investigate and help prosecute commercial criminals.
The specialized divisions of CCS are:
- International Maritime Bureau
- Financial Investigation Bureau
- Counterfeiting Intelligence Bureau
Special projects and initiatives
Business Action to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy
ICC established BASCAP to take a leading role in the fight against counterfeiting and piracy.
BASCAP unites the global business community to more effectively identify and address intellectual property rights issues and petition for greater commitments by local, national and international officials in the enforcement and protection of IPR.
The work of BASCAP aims to:
- Increase both awareness and understanding of counterfeiting and piracy activities and the associated economic and social harm
- Compel government action and the allocation of resources towards improved IPR enforcement
- Create a culture change to ensure intellectual property is respected and protected
BASCAP speaks out on the damage caused by counterfeiting and piracy, including:
- Harm to the economy, loss of employment prospects
- Danger to consumer health and safety
- Loss of innovation and poor quality products
- Financial links to organized crime
- Erosion of technology transfer
Business Action to Support the Information Society
ICC set up BASIS (Business Action to Support the Information Society) in mid-2006 to BASIS speaks out on a wide range of critical issues, including:
- Internet governance matters such as data protection, privacy, security, and the technical management and coordination of the Internet
- liberalization of the telecoms market
- ICTs as tools for development
ICC Business World Trade Agenda
The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), in partnership with Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry, has launched the ICC Business World Trade Agenda initiative to provide private sector leadership in helping to set a new multilateral trade policy agenda. The aim of this initiative is ultimately to drive World Trade Organization (WTO) multilateral trade talks out of an 11-year deadlock and "beyond Doha".
The World Trade Agenda is a strong business-led initiative to bolster rules-based trade. The WTO lends its support to this initiative by engaging business to provide recommendations to advance global trade negotiations.
The World Trade Agenda aims to:
- Define multilateral trade negotiation priorities for business
- Help governments set a trade policy agenda for the 21st century that contributes to economic growth and job creation
- Find answers to the current economic crisis and drive more effective trade talks
- Set concrete recommendations to advance global trade negotiations
- Sound the alarm on protectionism
- Gather input and validation from the global business community on trade agenda priorities and recommendations for achieveing a Doha victory
ICC Research Foundation
The ICC Research Foundation (ICCRF) was established in 2009 by ICC to commission independent research that contributes to public knowledge, education and debate on the benefits of global trade and investment. The research projects funded by the ICCRF and conducted by leading international researchers and organizations, contribute to the following aims:
- Demonstrate how employment and growth flow from an expansion of international trade and investment
- Establish that a multilateral approach is particularly beneficial to that end
- Document how protectionism works against the public interest by eroding employment, sustainable growth and the market economy
- Promote a deeper understanding by policymakers, the media and the public at large of the benefits of global trade and investment
National committees pay an annual subscription to ICC's International Secretariat in Paris to meet the organization's administrative expenses. The rate is proportionate to the economic importance of the country they represent. National committees are financially independent of the central body and are free to establish the level of their own membership subscriptions.
Direct members fall into two categories with their annual dues as follows:
- 1500 EUR (approximately US$2250) per year for 'local' members, i.e. local chambers of commerce, local companies, professional individuals;
- 3000 EUR (approximately US$4500) per year for 'national' members, i.e. national chambers of commerce, national trade associations, national business organizations, as well as companies with a predominant international activity, and occupying a leading position in the country. 
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