Back to: ECONOMICS, FINANCE, & ACCOUNTING
Chamber of Commerce Definition
Chamber of Commerce refers to an institution or an association of business personnel or individuals established for the protection of the interest of its members. Also referred to as a “board of trade,” a chamber of commerce consists of a group or set of businesspeople or owners that share a common interest or locality but can also be an international interest. These individuals pick their representatives and decide on what policies to regulate and those that will be discarded. Fairly available around the world, no single chamber is totally responsible for the creation and enactment of laws and regulations, although they hold enough power to influence the actions of lawmakers in their lobbying efforts.
A Little More on What is the Chamber of Commerce
The origin of the chamber of commerce can be traced back to 1599 in France. This agency was created with the initial intentions of just catering to its member. With the spread of international allying and exchanges, the United States was opportuned to create its first Chamber of Commerce in 1768, and the United States Chamber of Commerce was founded in 1912 with its primary intention being to influence lawmakers and regulators at the national level on commerce and trade-related issues using its organized lobbying effort. The board of trade however focused on organizing and deciding on issues related to membership on the state and local government levels. The chambers on this level needn’t maintain a relationship with the national chamber through a Federal Partnership Program, although they may choose to it they so wish. The U.S Chamber of Commerce is distinct from the trade groups and institutions in the sense that they tend to mostly support conservative political leaders, and they own the highest organized lobbying power needed to modify regulations. They also protect the full trade industry as a whole, as opposed to trade groups that stand in for their respective industries.
Benefits of Being a Member of the Chamber of Commerce
Members of the Chamber of Commerce receive different benefits ranging from discounts when associating or trading with other members, promotion of business activities, and unrestricted listings in the system’s directory or registry. In the local level, Chamber of Commerce also strives to protect the interest of its members, as well as help them promote their business activities and stand in for them when and where needed. Businesspeople at the local level don’t feel left out, as they get to meet each other and discuss certain policies as well as make decisions which will affect their business activities and the economic condition of their regions. Also, these members are featured as preferred vendors or sellers on local registry, websites, books, and magazines, giving them a boost against non-members in their locality.
Activity or Strategy of the Chamber of Commerce
Chambers of commerce are strategic in their operations and they have rules which guide their operations. This institution at different levels tend to follow these strategies:
- Regional and Local Chambers: These chambers are mostly focused on protecting the interests of their members while giving little interest to business promotions. They, however, get involved in promotions from time to time, especially with immigrants who wish to distribute products to their country of origin.
- City Level Chambers: These chambers are more focused on their environmental economy and tend to promote their city’s products more often than individual businesses
- State Level Chambers: These chambers have greater influence over regulations and legislation related to pro-business activities as they are mainly focused on state and inter-state levels. This is mostly true for a nation where each state has independent legislations in different sectors.
- International or National Level Chambers: They take into account the interest of trades at all levels.
- Compulsory Chambers: These chambers are mostly located in Europe and Asia, and they require businesses of a certain size to join.
Chamber of Commerce in some nations like Great Britain make use of memberships to survey economic data. An example is the British Chamber of Commerce Quarterly Economic Survey which is utilized by the government in determining the health of the nation’s economy.