• Frequently Asked Questions

Who is the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)?

ICC is the world’s largest business organisation representing 6.5 million companies of all sizes and all sectors in over 130 countries. We provide a voice for business at inter-governmental level, supporting national business groups with 3,000 business experts from around the world advising ICC on policy work. We are the only business organisation with UN Observer Status, act as a strategic partner to G20 and the World Trade Organization and have relationships with all the major international institutions. We have three central roles;
  1. Promote responsible free trade
  2. Provide the rules and standards that govern international business
  3. Help companies and states settle international disputes
 

Are the ICC and ICC United Kingdom the same organisation? Who is the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)?

Yes. ICC United Kingdom is the representative office of ICC in the UK and has four central responsibilities:
  1. Provide a voice for British business at inter-governmental level, within ICC.
  2. Promote ICC products and services to the British business community.
  3. Manage and coordinate the British membership of ICC.
  4. Represent ICC with the UK government and stakeholders.

The UK was a co-founding member of ICC in 1919, with the Chairman of Natwest Bank, Sir Walter Leaf, acting as the second global Chairman after French Minister of Finance, Etienne Clémentel. Today the UK is the fifth biggest financial contributor in the ICC network and plays a major role in shaping international policy, particularly on priority issues such as G20, digital trade, access to finance and anticorruption.

Are you the same thing as the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC)? 

No. The BCC is the national body that represents accredited British Chambers of Commerce and British business groups overseas. The BCC is a member of ICC, acts as the UK representative at the ICC World Chambers Federation General Council and is represented on the Board. Most national chambers of commerce have the same type of relationship with ICC national offices.

ICC represents business at inter-governmental level, supporting the British Chambers of Commerce at national level and local chambers of commerce at local/regional level and overseas British Chambers of Commerce and business groups in foreign markets. ICC focuses on the international policy environment and dispute resolution with national, local and overseas chambers of commerce focusing on bi-lateral trade support. Each compliment the other.

All have distinct roles but make up the chamber of commerce family. Historically, local chambers of commerce were established first (up to 500 years ago), then national chambers of commerce and finally the international chamber of commerce in 1919 in the aftermath of WWI and the establishment of international institutions.

How many national offices are there in ICC?

90, covering all the major trading nations in the world with representatives in a further 40 trading markets.

Are all the offices the same set up?

No. Most offices are co-located in national chambers of commerce, particularly in emerging markets. There are a number of independent offices like the UK, particularly in the EU. ICC USA is run by the US Council for International Business (USCIB), a much larger organisation also affiliated to the International Organisation of Employers and Business at the OECD (BIAC). ICC China is embedded within the CCPIT, the government agency responsible for trade.

ICC United Kingdom was originally hosted by the British Chambers of Commerce when it was set up in 1920 and later spent a period co-located in the Confederation of British Industry (CBI). Today the office operates independently with both bodies represented on the Board.

Can I be a member of every office, i.e. be a global member?

No. There is no mechanism to join ICC at global level. Businesses join ICC through their national office. There is no mechanism to join once and access every national programme although there are opportunities to offer significant discounts for multiple national memberships.  It is common for companies to be members of several offices depending on operational structures and priorities.

How much does it cost to join ICC?

Prices vary per country and size of programme. In the UK, we have a mixed membership and sponsorship approach with fixed price bands based on UK turnover for companies or number of partners for legal firms. We also have a Platinum Partner band for our largest funders. A price list is available on request.

Where is ICC headquarters?

33-43 avenue du Président Wilson, 75116 Paris, France. www.iccwbo.org

How does ICC fund itself? 

ICC is private sector funded. There are three main sources of income in ICC; membership and sponsorship, events and publications. Different offices fund themselves in different ways with the majority hosted and subsidised by national chambers of commerce. Some specific projects and programmes may receive government funding but this is not typically the core funding of ICC as a whole. In the UK, approximately 80% funding comes from membership and sponsorship, 15% from events and sponsorship and 5% from publication sales. We receive no government funding.

Every national office pays a contribution to ICC headquarters to fund global operations - similar to a franchise fee. Contributions vary depending on the GDP of a country with the UK being the fifth largest contributor, paying €220,000 per year. The Secretariat also generates revenue through special projects, global events.

How many people work for ICC?

Approximately 200 people work at the ICC Secretariat in Paris, 60% of which is the ICC International Court of Arbitration. Typically, ICC offices employ 2-3 people with the larger offices employing more.

What is ICC doing to promote diversity?

Business experts are typically senior decision makers within the businesses and sectors they represent so our profile mirrors the profile of industry within each country. The UK has one of the most diverse networks and typically out performs the network average on representation. We are fully committed to promoting women, ethnic diversity and up and coming talent. Generally, ICC teams are young professionals supporting international business experts who are senior level decision makers.

What is a Policy Committee?

Policy committees are forums that bring British companies together to engage on specific policy topics, advise the ICC executive on priorities and programmes and represent the UK at global fora. They are supported by wider consultative networks of experts who input into the policy development and rule making process. In other countries, Committees are sometimes referred to as Commissions or Shadow Commissions.

What is a Commission?

Commissions are global policy forums that bring together companies from across the ICC network to develop rules and standards, provide policy papers and agree policy positions. Commissions interface with global institutions on behalf of the international network.