Over 20 representatives attended the meeting, which has been hosted annually by the ICC World Chambers Federation since 2002. The meeting took place at ICC headquarters in Paris and provided a rare opportunity for participants to keep pace with developments on issues pertinent to chambers of commerce and their respective business communities. It was also an occasion to discuss the role of transnational chambers, highlight current collaborations and identify potential opportunities.
Established in most regions of the world, a transnational chamber of commerce is a group of chambers, representing chambers within a geographic region, economic grouping, cultural or language basis.
While representing regions with vastly divergent gross domestic products and import/export markets – from war-torn Afghanistan to economically sound Qatar – participants gathered with one common goal: to identify opportunities to strengthen the chamber network to the benefit of their members.
Underscoring the vital role of chambers Georges Fischer, Chair of the World Chambers Network, pointed out that when someone is looking for an international trading partner their first instinct is to consult a chamber of commerce. “Chambers have a trusted brand name with a unique focus that we can maximize on,” he said.
The format of the meeting allocated time for each participant to give a brief overview of their current priorities and undertakings, which ranged from expanding reach and membership, to projects to improve corporate social responsibility and environmental practices. Lee Ju Song, Director of ICC Asia and Chair of the ICC World Chambers Federation Certificate of Origin thanked attendees for their continued support in their implementation and promotion of the ATA Carnet System. An Ibero-American Association of Chambers of Commerce proposal for the development of a Silk Road chambers network project was presented by Barcelona Chamber of Commerce International Director Joseph Maria Cervera Casanovas.
During the meeting, Eurochambres’ Director of International Affairs Dirk Vantyghem recognized the role of ICC on G20 matters and showcased its own initiative in this area. Representing chambers of several G20 member states, Eurochambres offered to share its position statements with ICC.
Meeting participants included representatives from the Chamber of Commerce of the Russian Federation, Junior Chamber International, Ibero American Association for Chambers of Commerce, Conference Permanente des Chambres Consulaires Africaines and Francophones, South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation Chamber of Commerce and Industry, World Chambers Network, China Chamber of International Commerce, Confederation of Asia Pacific Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Federation of the Gulf Cooperation Council Chambers, and Eurochambres.
WCF Chair Rona Yircali, who led the meeting concluded: “We all believe in the importance and potential of chambers, and we have seen today how more and more countries are recognizing that too.”