ICAO Chicago Convention

ICAO’s main international instrument is the Convention on International Civil Aviation (also known as Chicago Convention), which was signed on 7 December 1944 by 52 States. Pending ratification of the Convention by 26 States, the Provisional International Civil Aviation Organization (PICAO) was established. It functioned from 6 June 1945 until 4 April 1947. By 5 March 1947 the 26th ratification was received. ICAO came into being on 4 April 1947. In October of the same year, ICAO became a specialized agency of the United Nations linked to Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

The Convention on International Civil Aviation set forth the purpose of ICAO:

"WHEREAS the future development of international civil aviation can greatly help to create and preserve friendship and understanding among the nations and peoples of the world, yet its abuse can become a threat to the general security; and

WHEREAS it is desirable to avoid friction and to promote that co-operation between nations and peoples upon which the peace of the world depends;

THEREFORE, the undersigned governments having agreed on certain principles and arrangements in order that international civil aviation may be developed in a safe and orderly manner and that international air transport services may be established on the basis of equality of opportunity and operated soundly and economically.

There are two annexes to the Chicago Convention particularly relevant for trade facilitation, Annex 9 - Facilitation and Annex 17 – Security.