Based in Paris, France, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) is an organization comprised of more than six million members from countries around the world, tasked primarily with representing and helping to establish rules that affect and govern the interests of individuals and organizations in every part of private enterprise.
The Basic Functions and Activities of the ICC
In its capacity as the world’s foremost business organization, the International Chamber of Commerce functions in three primary capacities:
- As an advocate for policies that benefit members in every area of business
- The establishing of rules that help members achieve such policies and adhere to them
- Solving disputes between members
The companies and associations that make up or represent the ICC are all engaged in business activities of some sort, often with one another. For this reason, the ICC exerts overarching power when it comes to creating the rules and policies that govern how business transactions are completed as far as international business is concerned.
The rules are not mandatory, however, every member and all companies and organizations working with the ICC follow the existing rules, because they tend to represent the best possible outcomes for all involved parties. Many of the rules established by the ICC are incorporated into regular trading processes, including the trading done in the stock markets.
Who the ICC Supports
Ultimately, the International Chamber of Commerce supports its members and associates. However, in setting the groundwork for fair and profitable trade and business between nations, the ICC ends up supporting any firm that seeks out deals or trade with another country.
The ICC also works closely with a number of governmental agencies by lending expertise and establishing a presence through representatives at places like the World Trade Organization (WTO), the United Nations (UN), and even at the G20 summits.
The International Chamber of Commerce was created shortly after World War I when real regulation or security concerning international trade and business interests were not existent. Over the years, the ICC became a foundation on which rules of ethical and profitable trade between nations could be established. The rules the ICC laid down in its earliest years are the principles it stands on today, principles that influence almost every area of business and trade around the world.
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 24,000 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 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.
ICC Commercial Crime Services
ICC Commercial Crime Services (CCS) provides the world business community with a centralized commercial 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 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:
- International Maritime Bureau
- Financial Investigation Bureau
- Counterfeiting Intelligence Bureau
ICC Business World Trade Agenda
The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), in partnership with the Qatar Chamber, launched the ICC Business World Trade Agenda initiative in March 2012 to provide private sector leadership in shaping 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 achieving a Doha victory
Since its launch, the World Trade Agenda initiative has organized consultations with CEOs and senior executives in all major regions of the world to gather input and validation of its recommendations. These business priorities were released during the ICC World Trade Agenda Summit on 22 April 2013 in Doha.
The Agreement on Trade Facilitation was finally adopted at the WTO’s 9th Ministerial Conference on 7 December 2013. It was the first major agreement on trade facilitation to have been reached since the creation of the WTO.