The Chambers of Commerce
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This is the best way of defining a chamber of commerce.
Creating a Chamber of Commerce is an initiative coming from entrepreneurs, who want to cooperate, develop their region, and represent their interests. Chambers help companies to tackle problems together and make a greater impact than one company would alone. Chambers of Commerce are run by entrepreneurs but in the interests of general business and the economic development of the region, averse to individual interests.
The chambers bring entrepreneurs and businesses together to create new opportunities and promote synergies, to help businesses and create added value. They work to create an environment that encourages free enterprise, thus making a fundamental contribution to the prosperity and well-being of their region.
Chambers of Commerce are private business organisations. They are not part of the government but work closely with it to achieve results that are in the interest of the community. They speak for entrepreneurs because they know that a healthy business climate is a prerequisite for greater prosperity.
Chambers of Commerce can be found all over the world. This makes them unique. No other business organisation is as locally anchored and so widely present abroad at the same time. As a result, they are well placed to help companies with the often conflicting actions of local advocacy and international growth.
There are 37 accredited Belgian-Luxembourg Chambers of Commerce abroad. They help promote bilateral trade between Belgium, Luxembourg and the country in which they are established. The Chambers are made up of entrepreneurs who know what it is like to run a business abroad. They provide a sounding board and support and help entrepreneurs practically in exploring new markets abroad.
There are 13 accredited Chambers of Commerce in Belgium. They represent the interests of companies at a local, regional, national and international level. They bring entrepreneurs in touch with each other and provide an independent sounding board. They offer training and guidance, give advice and organise numerous networking events.
Chambers of Commerce are run for and by companies. Each of the chambers has its own identity, depending on its members and the region in which it operates. However, through its accreditation programme, the Federation ensures that all Chambers carry out their tasks professionally and qualitatively. Accreditation is a prerequisite for a Chamber to be a member of the Federation.
The accreditation of local Chambers of Commerce in Belgium is built around 12 principles that every chamber must respect. These principles are clearly set out in the accreditation programme.
Our 12 accreditation principles:
The accreditation of Belgian Chambers of Commerce abroad rests on three central pillars: corporate governance, high-quality services and constructive collaboration with the diplomatic missions abroad. This accreditation occurs in close collaboration with the Chambre de Commerce du Luxembourg since the majority of bilateral chambers also promote the economic and commercial interests of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.
Belgian Chambers of Commerce abroad endorsing the principles of the accreditation programme, which are too young or too small, may be admitted as associate members of the Federation.
There are 13 accredited Chambers of Commerce in Belgium and 37 accredited Belgian-Luxembourg Chambers of Commerce abroad.
Belgian Chambers of Commerce are organisations under private law. Unlike in several other countries, membership in a Chamber is not compulsory for companies in Belgium. This freedom of membership encourages Chambers to offer services that have a clear added value for their members.
No new Chambers of Commerce can be set up in Belgium. The 13 existing Chambers operate throughout the whole of Belgium and have a mandate from the FPS Economy for the issuing of certificates of origin.