International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) the world business organization, was founded in 1919. The objective of ICC is, according to its website, "to serve world business by promoting trade and investment, open markets for goods and services, and the free flow of capital". Through its various commissions, ICC works in areas spanning arbitration, banking, competition, e-business, Customs and trade facilitation, financial services and insurance, taxation, trade policy, and transport and logistics. In these areas, ICC undertakes research, and develops standards and guidelines that can be applied by the private sector worldwide. It is one of the largest representative business organizations in the world speaking on behalf of millions of companies of all sizes and spanning every sector of private enterprise in over 130 countries. Chambers of Commerce and a world network of national committees keeps the ICC International Secretariat in Paris informed about national and regional business priorities. More than 2,000 experts drawn from ICC’s member companies feed their knowledge and experience into crafting the ICC stance on specific business issues. The UN, the World Trade Organization, and many other intergovernmental bodies, both international and regional, are kept in touch with the views of international business through ICC.
Work related to trade facilitation
Many of the rules, standards and guidelines developed by ICC have a trade facilitation impact. Relevant work includes the ICC Incoterms, the ICC Customs Guidelines, the ICC Guidelines for Cross-border Traders in Goods, and the ICC Uniform Customs and Practices for Document Credits (UCP). The following commissions and bodies of ICC are of particular importance.
- The ICC Commission on Customs and Trade Facilitation focuses on obstacles to trade related to Customs policies and procedures, and works on issues such as Customs reform, modernization, and transparent, simplified and harmonized Customs policies and procedures. The Commission has a close working relationship with the World Customs Organization and serves as the voice of the wider business community in various intergovernmental forums.
- The ICC Banking Commission is a leading and trusted rule-making body for the banking and trade finance industry – producing universally accepted rules and guidelines for international banking practice, notably letters of credit, and demand guarantees for bank-to-bank reimbursement. ICC rules on documentary credits, UCP 600, are recognized as the most successful privately drafted rules for trade ever developed, serving as the basis of US$2 trillion trade transactions a year.
- The Commission on Commercial Law and Practice facilitates international trade and promotes a balanced self-regulatory and regulatory legal framework for international business-to-business transactions, by creating model contracts that facilitate trade between countries at all stages of development and between companies of all sizes and sectors.
- The World Chamber Federation (WCF)’s World ATA Carnet Council is the body that manages the International ATA Carnet Guarantee Chain, which comprises the organizations appointed by their national Customs authority to operate the ATA System around the world. ATA Carnet is an international customs document that permits the tax-free and duty-free temporary export and import of goods for up to one year.
- WCF International Certificate of Origin Council is the global forum facilitating collaboration between chambers of commerce worldwide, issuing agents of non-preferential and preferential certificates of origin, and addresses the role they play, as local trade facilitation organizations and partners with Customs agencies.