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International Chamber of Commerce

Coordinates: 48°51′51″N 2°17′32″E / 48.864112°N 2.292307°E / 48.864112; 2.292307
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
International Chamber of Commerce
NicknameThe World Business Organization
Formation1919; 105 years ago (1919)[1]
Founded atAtlantic City
PurposeEnable business worldwide to secure peace, prosperity and opportunity for all.
HeadquartersParis, France
Coordinates48°51′51″N 2°17′32″E / 48.864112°N 2.292307°E / 48.864112; 2.292307
Region served
Official language
English, French, Spanish
Secretary General
John W.H. Denton AO

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC; French: Chambre de commerce internationale) is the largest, most representative business organization in the world.[2] ICC represents over 45 million businesses in over 170 countries who have interests spanning every sector of private enterprise.

ICC's current chair is Philippe Varin [3] and John W.H. Denton AO is the current Secretary General.

ICC has three main activities: rule setting, dispute resolution, and policy advocacy. Because its member companies and associations are themselves engaged in international business, ICC has unrivalled authority in making rules that govern the conduct of business across borders. Although these rules are voluntary, they are observed in thousands of transactions every day and have become part of international trade.

A world network of national committees in over 90 countries advocates business priorities at national and regional level. More than 5,000 experts drawn from ICC's member companies feed their knowledge and experience into crafting the ICC stance on specific business issues through specialised ICC Policy Commissions.

ICC is the only buisness organisation to have Observer Status at the United Nations General Assembly, and is a representative voice for business at the World Trade Organization, and many other intergovernmental bodies, both international and regional, such as G20[4] on behalf of international business. ICC was the first organization granted general consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council and UN Observer Status.[5]



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. Its international secretariat was established in Paris and its International Court of Arbitration in 1923. Its first chairman was French Minister of Finance Étienne Clémentel.

The first chairman of the International Chamber of Commerce, Étienne Clémentel



Membership is gained through affiliation with an ICC national committee or via direct application to the ICC International Secretariat.[6]

Governing bodies


World Council


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 chair and the vice-chairs, each of whom serves a three-year term. The chair, Vice-chair and the Honorary Chair (the immediate past chair) provide the organization with high-level leadership.

Executive board


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.

International Secretariat


The ICC Gloabl Headquarters, 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.

National committees


In over 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.

Finance Committee


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's administered dispute resolution services help solve difficulties in international business. ICC Arbitration is a private procedure that leads to a binding and enforceable decision.

The International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce steers ICC Arbitration and has received over 28,000 cases since its inception in 1923.[7] Over the past decade, the court's workload has considerably expanded.

The court's membership has also grown and covers 85 countries and territories. 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:

  • Arbitration is a flexible and efficient dispute resolution procedure leading to binding and final decisions subject to enforcement worldwide.
  • Mediation is a flexible technique, conducted privately and confidentially, in which a neutral facilitator helps parties to seek a negotiated settlement of their dispute.
  • 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.

Expedited or 'fast-track' arbitration procedures automatically apply where disputes are worth US$2 million or less, if the arbitration agreement was made after 1 March 2017, unless the parties have specifically opted out of the expedited procedure in their agreement.[8]

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.[9]

Code of Advertising and Marketing Communication Practice


The ICC Code of Advertising and Marketing Communication Practice, underpins global advertising and marketing 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 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 Claim.[10]

World Chambers Federation


In 1951, ICC established the World Chambers Federation (WCF), formerly the International Bureau of Chambers of Commerce. WCF is the unique global forum uniting the worldwide network of chambers of commerce and industry.[11] It aims to connect and inspire chambers and 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.[12] WCF is a non-political, non-governmental body, with its membership comprising local, regional, national, bilateral and transnational chambers of commerce, as well as public-law and private-law chambers.

WCF was established by ICC and its chamber members following a resolution at the conclusion of the World Congress of Chambers of Commerce (Rome 1950). At its inaugural committee meeting held in Paris in December 1950, WCF was to be first known as the International Information Bureau of Chambers of Commerce. As its role expanded and grew during the 1960s, its name changed to become the International Bureau of Chambers of Commerce and by June 2001, it became known as the World Chambers Federation.

WCF also 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.

Training and events


Staged all over the world, ICC events range from large topical conferences to training sessions for small groups. These smaller courses share ICC's expertise on commercial arbitration and dispute resolution mechanisms as well as ICC's trade tools including Incoterms rules, Uniform Customs and Practice for Documentary Credits (UCP) and international contracts.[13]

The ICC Academy is the training arm of the International Chamber of Commerce and delivers online certification and professional development services to meet the educational needs of banks, corporate and other organizations at the forefront of international trade. The specialized programs, e-courses and certifications are designed by the International Chamber of Commerce's experts and practitioners.[14]



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, on the ICC Store.[15]

Commercial Crime Services


ICC Commercial Crime Services (CCS) provides the world business community with a centralized commercial crime-fighting body. It draws on the resources of its members in the fight against commercial crime on many fronts.

From its base in London, and comprising three distinct bureaux, CCS operates according to two basic principles: to prevent commercial crime and to investigate and help prosecute criminals involved in commercial crime.

The specialized divisions of CCS are:[16]

Special projects and initiatives


Business Action to Support the Information Society


ICC set up BASIS (Business Action to Support the Information Society) in mid-2006 to speak out on a wide range of critical issues, including:[19]

  • Internet governance matters such as data protection, privacy, security, and the technical management and coordination of the Internet
  • liberalization of the telecoms market
  • entrepreneurship
  • innovation
  • ICTs as tools for development

Commission on Anti-Corruption


The ICC's Rules of Conduct aim to "place an efficient and well-run integrity programme" to deal with corruption, extortion and bribery.

The ICC's Commission on Anti-Corruption first published "Fighting Corruption, A Corporate Practices Manual" in 1999; the manual provides "detailed practical guidance for compliance with the ICC Rules of Conduct and the OECD Convention".[20] The rules take account of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption signed in Mérida, Mexico on 9 December 2003.[21] There are nine rules of conduct for business "of a general nature", to be accepted on a voluntary basis and applied through self-regulation within the context of the national laws on bribery which apply to each business.[22] The ICC sees its role, and the function of its Commission on Anti-Corruption, to "promote the widest possible use of the Rules".[23]

United Nations representation


Since 1946, ICC has held top-level consultative status with the United Nations and a close working relationship with its specialized agencies. The current ICC Permanent Representative to the UN is Sabrina Klayman. December 2016 the International Chamber of Commerce was granted Observer status by the General Assembly of the United Nations on the basis of General Assembly Resolution (A/RES/71/156)[24] On 13 December 2016, ICC was granted Observer Status by 193 members of the UN General Assembly. ICC took up its position as Observer to the General Assembly on 1 January 2017.

Research foundation


See also



  1. ^ "International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Academy - Certifications in Int'l Trade & Finance". EduMaritime.
  2. ^ International Chamber Of Commerce (ICC) Definition. Investopedia (2011-04-21). Retrieved on 2013-07-19.
  3. ^ "Philippe Varin elected as Chair of world business". 11 June 2024.
  4. ^ "G20".
  5. ^ "ICC granted UN Observer Status". December 13, 2016.
  6. ^ How to join ICC?, accessed Jan 27, 2011 on "ICC - the world business organization". Archived from the original on 2011-02-25. Retrieved 2011-01-27.
  7. ^ ICC Booklet "Rules of Arbitration and Rules for a Pre-Arbitral Referee Procedure", P. 7, France 2005
  8. ^ Norton Rose Fulbright, Using fast track arbitration for resolving commercial disputes, published March 2018, accessed 29 December 2020
  9. ^ "Global insights". ICC - International Chamber of Commerce.
  10. ^ ICC Code centre - Welcome Archived 2016-06-05 at the Wayback Machine. Codescentre.com. Retrieved on 2013-07-19.
  11. ^ "World Chambers Federation".
  12. ^ "World Chambers Congress - ICC - International Chamber of Commerce". Iccwbo.org. 2019-06-14. Retrieved 2020-02-05.
  13. ^ "ICC Events". Archived from the original on July 13, 2009.
  14. ^ "Online Certifications in International Trade & Finance - ICC Academy". www.edumaritime.net.
  15. ^ "Explore all products | ICC Knowledge 2 Go - International Chamber of Commerce". 2go.iccwbo.org.
  16. ^ "Home". Icc-ccs.org. Retrieved 2020-02-05.
  17. ^ "Counterfeiting Intelligence Bureau". Home. 2008-04-24. Retrieved 2020-04-21.
  18. ^ "FraudNet". Home. 2020-04-21. Retrieved 2020-04-21.
  19. ^ "BASIS". Archived from the original on July 13, 2009.
  20. ^ ICC, ICC Rules of Conduct and Recommendations to Combat Extortion and Bribery (2005 Edition), accessed 14 April 2021
  21. ^ ICC, Combating Extortion and Bribery: ICC Rules of Conduct and Recommendations, 2005 edition, General Introduction, accessed 14 April 2021
  22. ^ ICC, Combating Extortion and Bribery: ICC Rules of Conduct and Recommendations, 2005 edition, Part I: Rules of Conduct to Combat Extortion and Bribery, accessed 14 April 2021
  23. ^ ICC, Combating Extortion and Bribery: ICC Rules of Conduct and Recommendations, 2005 edition, Part II: Follow-up and Promotion of the Rules, accessed 14 April 2021
  24. ^ United Nations General Assembly, Session 71, Resolution 156, Observer status for the International Chamber of Commerce in the General Assembly, accessed 25 September 2017