Frequently Asked Questions
Who is the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)?
ICC is the world’s largest business organisation representing 6.5 million businesses in 134 countries and provide a voice for business at inter-governmental level. Our vision is to promote peace and shared prosperity through trade. We have three central roles;
- Promote open, cross border trade and investment (free trade)
- Provide the rules and standards that govern international business
- Help companies and states settle international disputes
We are the only business organisation with UN Observer Status, play a leading role at B20/G20 and work with all the major UN agencies and global institutions
Are the ICC and ICC United Kingdom the same organisation?
Yes. ICC United Kingdom is the representative office of ICC in the UK and has four central responsibilities:
- Provide a voice for UK business within ICC.
- Manage and coordinate the UK membership of ICC.
- Represent ICC with the UK government and stakeholders.
- Promote ICC products and services to UK businesses.
Each national office provides a tailored ICC programme to meet the needs of their respective national members and contribute to ICC's global Programme of Action.
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 or business groups worldwide. The BCC is a member of the ICC World Chambers Federation General Council and the Governing Body of ICC United Kingdom. Most national chambers of commerce are members of ICC.
- Local chambers of commerce represent business with local government with a focus on practical trade support.
- Overseas chambers of commerce represent national businesses in foreign markets with a focus on practical trade support.
- National chambers of commerce represent local and overseas chambers of commerce with national government and focus on national policy, standards and projects.
- International chamber of commerce represent businesses and business organisations worldwide (incl. chambers of commerce) with a focus on global policy rules and disputes.
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.
How many national offices are there in ICC?
90, covering all the major trading nations in the world. ICC also has representatives in another 40 trading markets. 134 countries in total.
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. The US office is run by the US Council for International Business (USCIB), a much larger organisation. The China office is embedded within the CCPIT, the government agency responsible for trade.
The UK office 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 fixed fee bands based on UK turnover for companies or number of partners for legal firms. 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 four main sources of income in ICC; membership fees, events, sponsorship 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 part of the core funding of ICC as a whole. In the UK, approximately 80% funding comes from membership fees, 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 business. Contributions vary depending on the GDP of a country. The UK office contributes approximately €220,000 per year.
How many people work for ICC?
Approximately 200 people work at ICC headquarters 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. 15 people work for the UK office.
What is ICC doing to promote diversity?
Business experts are typically senior decision makers within businesses and sectors they represent so their profile reflect the industry. Ethnic diversity varies depending on the population of the country concerned. Generally, ICC teams are young professionals supporting business experts who are senior level decision makers. The UK is one of the most diverse memberships and is fully committed to meet best practice standards set by international businesses i.e. 30% women on boards and forums.
What is a Policy Committee?
All policy committees are national forums that bring national members together to engage on specific policy topics, advise the ICC executive on priorities and programmes and represent the UK at global level. They are supported by wider consultative networks of experts who input into the policy development and rule making process.
What is a Policy Commission?
Policy Commissions are global forums that bring members together from all over the world to agree policy and rules through consensus.