The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)
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 ICC has permanent observer status with the United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...
. The UN, the World Trade Organization
The World Trade Organization is an organization that intends to supervise and liberalize international trade. The organization officially commenced on January 1, 1995 under the Marrakech Agreement, replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade , which commenced in 1948...
, and many other intergovernmental bodies, both international and regional, are kept in touch with the views of international business through ICC.
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
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...
and the ICC's International Court of Arbitration
The International Court of Arbitration is an institution for the resolution of international commercial disputes. The International Court of Arbitration is part of the International Chamber of Commerce....
was created in 1923.
ICC's first Chairman was 20th c. French Minister of Finance Etienne Clémentel. ICC's current Chairman is Gerard Worms. Harold McGraw III
Harold Whittlesey "Terry" McGraw III is chairman, president and chief executive officer of McGraw-Hill Companies and chairman of the Business Roundtable, an association of CEOs of American companies.-At McGraw-Hill:...
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, Holland
- 1931 (6th) Washington, DC
- 1933 (7th) Vienna, Austria
- 1937 (9th), Berlin, Germany
- 1939 (10th) originally scheduled for Tokyo, Japan. changed to Copenhagen, Denmark.
- 1947 (11th) Geneva, Switzerland
- 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 represents ICC's chamber of commerce members worldwide. WCF was first established by ICC in 1951 as the International Bureau of Chambers of Commerce.
WCF is a non-political, non-governmental body representing the interests of local, national, regional, bilateral and transnational chambers of commerce and industry.
Chambers represent companies of all sizes, particularly small-to medium-sized enterprises. WCF promotes and protects the chamber of commerce as an essential intermediary between business and government and between business and the general public.
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
Arbitration, a form of alternative dispute resolution , is a legal technique for the resolution of disputes outside the courts, where the parties to a dispute refer it to one or more persons , by whose decision they agree to be bound...
, counterfeiting and fraud and model commercial contracts. The best known publications, Uniform Customs and Practice for Documentary Credits
The Uniform Customs and Practice for Documentary Credits is a set of rules on the issuance and use of letters of credit. The UCP is utilized by bankers and commercial parties in more than 175 countries in trade finance...
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
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 serve as the voice of businesses on Internet governance and information and communications technologies (ICTs) issues.
Governments and other actors are demanding a far greater voice in how these technologies are managed. Sharing experiences and pooling the expertise of governments, business and civil society is crucial to building understanding on these issues. Through the networks of ICC, BASIS ensures that business perspectives are taken into account.
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 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.
- Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry
The Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry has been serving the Economy of Pakistan and has continuously contributed to its development and progress...
- London Chamber of Commerce & Industry
The London Chamber of Commerce & Industry was established on 25 July 1881 at Mansion House in the City of London with 130 members. The London Chamber represented the London Metropolis and not just the City of London. Many of the original 130 members still play a role in London Chamber today...