Read this essay to learn about the International Chambers of Commerce (ICC). After reading this essay you will learn about:- 1. Introduction to ICC 2. Understanding ICC 3. Passage through the History of ICC 4. Business Related Activities & Services of ICC 5. Four Wings of ICC 6. International Commercial Dispute Settlement.
List of Essays on the International Chambers of Commerce (ICC)
- Essay on the Introduction to ICC
- Essay on Understanding ICC
- Essay on Passage through the History of ICC
- Essay on the Business Related Activities & Services of ICC
- Essay on the Four Wings of ICC
- Essay on the International Commercial Dispute Settlement
1. Essay on the Introduction to ICC:
This is the third of the international bodies that we selected for review. Its area of operation revolves around international business covering shipping and trade with the view of finding ways and means to safeguard the interests of the member organizations and to devise means of detection and prevention of associated crimes and frauds.
International “shipping and payments” is a highly competitive but potential business area. Organizations and individuals are always at risk (delivery and the realization of the proceeds) when they venture in the vast global markets for their products and services. This risk factor is further compounded with the introduction of Internet based communication and business transactions.
The Internet has made communication a universally available service so much so that on one side it has enhanced the reach of operations of the global traders so has also enhanced the reach of the associated criminals in various forms.
The exporters are no longer able to rely on the cyber reputation alone to protect their interests against the multitude of buyers, sellers, owners, and charterers, banks and insurance companies that are involved in international trade.
Now there is ever increasing necessity to check the background of contracting partners and to know where electronic systems are vulnerable to fraud and malpractice to reduce the corporate vulnerability.
The international trader now has to understand both the threats and the opportunities for his survival. ICC’s contributions in this regard are not only numerous but are acknowledged worldwide as the most outstanding efforts against the commercial crimes through its various like the International Maritime Bureau, Counterfeiting Intelligence Bureau, Commercial Crime Bureau and ICC Cybercrime Unit.
2. Essay on Understanding ICC:
(a) ICC is a world business organization.
(b) Its corporate head office is located in Paris, France.
(c) Within a year of the creation of the United Nations, it was granted consultative status at the highest level with the UN and its specialized agencies.
(d) Its membership (132) is nearly same as WTO (138) but much less than World Bank that has 188 countries as member.
(e) The difference between ICC and WTO/WB is that in the case of ICC the membership is open to organizations and individuals whereas in the later case the membership is confined to the governments of the nations.
(f) ICC projects the views of the members, WTO those of the Governments, and WB projects the views as a banker and also on behalf of its donors/investor governments.
(g) Business leaders and experts drawn from the ICC membership establish the business stance on broad issues of trade and investment policy as well as on vital technical and sectoral subjects which may include financial services, information technologies, telecommunications, marketing ethics, the environment, transportation, competition law and intellectual property.
(h) ICC promotes an open international trade and investment system and the market economy. ICC is a member driven organization.
(i) It has numerous National Committees and groups which form the global network that makes ICC unique among business organizations in countries where national committees are yet to be formed, companies join ICC individually by becoming a direct member.
(j) ICC’s committees and groups comprise leading companies and business associations in the member countries or territories, they shape ICC policies and alert their governments towards international business concerns. They also coordinate with their regional members to address the concerns of the business community and to convey to their governments.
(k) ICC works much closer to the business communities with major emphasis on trade development.
(l) ICC propagates the ideology that trade is better than aid because it considers trade as a powerful force for peace and prosperity.
(m) ICC specializes in making rules that govern the conduct of business across the trading nations.
(n) It also specifies the areas of freedom available to the importers and exporters.
(o) Although ICC’s international business rules are voluntary but are globally observed as standard for shipping and payment terms in meaning and application. ICC maintains that in a global market economy under the process of Globalization right balance needs to be found between rules and freedom to realize its full potential.
(p) It also provides essential services, foremost among them are the ICC, International Court of Arbitration, Commercial Crime Services, Business to business electronic commerce, and numerous publications for the benefit of the global trading communities for better relations and development of the international trade.
3. Essay on the Passage through the History of ICC:
(i) Founded in 1919:
Founded in 1919 in Paris France by a French Minister of Commerce Mr. Etienne Clementel, Members include many of the world’s most influential companies and represent every major industrial and service sector. The original members included representations from the private sectors of Belgium, Britain, France, Italy and the United States
(ii) International Court:
International Court of Arbitration in 1923.
ICC played a prominent role in the formation of international treaty on war reparations under Dawes Commission.
ICC brought in the first edition of the Uniform Customs and Practices for Documentary Credits.
ICC introduced for the first time the International Commercial Terms (INCOTERMS) providing standardized definitions of the universally used shipping terms like Ex-Quay, CIF, and FOB.
ICC shifted its operational HQ to Sweden for maintaining its neutral status.
It was granted the consultative status by the UNO to ensure due weightage for the business community within the UN system and before intergovernmental bodies and meetings where decisions affecting the conduct of business were made.
(viii) Post War Years:
ICC worked to popularize the concept of open multilateral trading system and opening up of the markets in the developed countries for the products from the developing countries that helped it to attract developing countries in its membership folds.
International Bureau of Chambers of Commerce created for cooperation between chambers of commerce in developing and industrial countries and the chambers of commerce of transition economies. The IBCC also administers the ATA Carnet system for temporary duty-free imports, which dates from 1958.
Formed the ICC-CMI Arbitral Organization for addressing the maritime arbitration.
Formation of the World Business law to study the legal issues relating to the international business.
(xii) The Era of Privatization and Free Trade (1980s & early 1990s):
ICC worked hard to resist the resurgence of protectionism in the form reciprocal trading arrangements, voluntary export restraints, and “managed trade”. Due to its efforts the free market system got wider acceptance and the state intervention gave way to privatization and economic liberalization.
ICC decided to set up three London-based services to combat commercial crime the International Maritime Bureau (1MB), Commercial Crime Bureau (CCB), and Counterfeiting Intelligence Bureau (CIB).
Setting up of the Global Management Services (GMS).
The launching of ICC’s Business Charter for Sustainable Development provides 16 principles for good environmental conduct that have been endorsed by more than 2300 companies and business associations. Self-regulation is a common thread running through the work of the commissions.
The conviction that business operates most effectively with a minimum of government intervention inspired ICC’s voluntary codes. Marketing codes cover sponsoring, advertising practice, sales promotion, marketing and social research, direct sales practice, and marketing on the Internet.
ICC commissions of experts from the private sector cover every specialized field of concern to international business. Subjects range from banking techniques to financial services and taxation, from competition law to intellectual property rights, telecommunications and information technology, from air and maritime transport to international investment regimes and trade policy.
Set up piracy reporting centre at Kuala Lumpur.
(xvii) February 1998:
ICC and UN made joint announcement for working together.
4. Essay on the Business Related Activities & Services of ICC:
ICC is a business organization that is run for the benefit of the members, conducting numerous businesses related activities and offering various services like:
Advertising and marketing, Banking, Business & society, Business law, Competition, Customs, Economic policy, Energy, Environment, Extortion and bribery, Financial services and insurance, Intellectual property, Taxation, Telecommunications and IT, Trade and investment, Publishing, National Committees, Liaison with international organizations, Policy commissions, International Bureau of Chambers of Commerce, Membership services, Transport, Commercial crime prevention services, Business to business e-commerce, Arbitration etc.
Role of ICC in Commercial Crime Prevention:
(ii) Commercial Crime Services (CCS):
International business is touching a figure of US $ 6 trillion in the year 2000, though it sounds goods for the business communities and the national governments but it also attracts numerous kinds of frauds and crimes where few people try to make huge money at the expense of the rightful owners.
It is a sea saw game between the traders and the criminals. The universal social concept of “wealth attracts crimes and frauds” holds true for the international business as well. In fact the crime rate is moving faster than the growth rate of the international trade. Frauds are becoming more and more complex and involve larger sums than ever before.
New scams are constantly encountered. In such a scenario the role of ICC is commendable. It has provided highly efficient services that not only detects but also prevents the commercial crimes that have saved billions of dollars in potential fraud and theft to its members. It has global reach in its operations against commercial crimes.
ICC works closely with law enforcement agencies and cooperates with customs authorities under a Memorandum of Understanding with the World Customs Organization.
The specialized bureaus also work on individual organization basis, in that case they help the organization to identify vulnerable points in its corporate defences against commercial crime and devise ways and means to prevent the incidence of expected crime against the organization.
It responds swiftly to alerts anywhere in the world through its contacts and representations. The most interesting point about CCS is that it acts on its own initiative without waiting for any instructions from the concerned government or law enforcement agencies. ICC’s operational reach and swiftness of actions is faster than any other similar organization in this field and is unencumbered by the local bureaucracy.
CCS is a specialized division of ICC. It is a non-profit making organization based in London and Kuala Lumpur and is made up of three bureaus (1MB, CCB, CIB) and one special unit (Cybercrime unit). It also publishes a monthly magazine called Commercial Crime International (CCI).
It is a monthly publication which keeps readers up- to-date with developments in the world of commercial crime. The newsletter also contains articles on the latest frauds and illegal schemes to come to light, on commercial crime trials, on developments in crime prevention techniques and equipment and on general criminal trends.
The publication has regular sections on general and maritime news as well as focusing periodically on selected topics ranging from organized crime and money laundering to internet fraud and counterfeiting. The monthly newsletter also gives advance notice of conferences, seminars and workshops relating to commercial crime.
ICC’s commercial crime service has three bureaus that deal with maritime and trading crime, product counterfeiting, financial malpractice, and all other forms of commercial crime. It has a special Cybercrime unit to tackle crimes affecting electronic commerce and keeps companies informed about this fast-evolving field of criminal activity.
5. Essay on the Four Wings of ICC:
The brief details of the said four wings are as follows:
A. International Maritime Bureau (IMB):
(i) To prevent frauds in international trade and maritime transport, reduce the risk of piracy and assist law enforcement to protect the crews.
(ii) To track cargoes and shipments and verify their arrival at the scheduled ports.
The first ICC anti-crime bureau, the International Maritime Bureau, was founded in 1981. It quickly received the support of the International Maritime Organization in a resolution urging governments and law enforcement agencies to cooperate with the new body.
More recently, it was granted observer status with Interpol. IMB’s task is to prevent fraud in international trade and maritime transport, reduce the risk of piracy and assist law enforcement in protecting crews. It tracks cargoes and shipments and verifies their arrival at scheduled ports.
Much of IMB’s work concerns prevention in the form of timely advice on how to reduce corporate vulnerability to fraud and malpractice. In the event of frauds and piratical attacks it carries out investigations with a view to bringing perpetrators to justice and recovering losses.
Other specific tasks are to:
1. Authenticate suspect bills of lading and other documents.
2. Disseminate information on maritime crime that has been collected from commercial, government and international sources.
3. Offer due diligence advice.
4. Propose ways for victims of fraudulent transactions to extricate themselves and minimize the damage.
5. Provide legal advice and support in litigation.
6. Raise awareness of the dangers of maritime crime and provide training in counter-measures.
Today, governments of the world’s leading trading nations support the bureau’s work. IMB’s multidisciplinary staff and contacts worldwide gather information and respond swiftly in cases of maritime fraud or when ships are attacked on the high seas.
IMB today covers all types of fraud and malpractice in trading and transport. A fortnightly confidential bulletin lists frauds, commercial failures and nonpayment of debts. This is supplemented by a credit report service on companies engaged in shipping and trading. Additionally, the bureau runs a ship monitoring and supercargo service.
Another programme checks the credentials of ship-owners and prospective charterers before a vessel is fixed. IMB verifies documents presented under documentary credits and investigates insurance losses.
The most recent innovation is an inexpensive satellite tracking system, known as SHIPLOC. This system allows shipping companies, armed only with a personal computer with Internet access, to monitor the exact location of their vessels.
Scope of Operations:
All types of maritime and trade crimes including documentary credit frauds, charter party frauds, cargo theft, and deviation of ships. It has the support of the maritime organizations and holds the observer status at the Interpol London.
At Kuala Lumpur it has the Piracy Reporting Center (PRC) that responds immediately to the acts of piracy and collects evidence for the law enforcement agencies. Most of its work concerns in the prevention areas of the crime.
Its major activities are:
(a) Advises the member organizations on how to reduce the risk against the frauds and malpractice.
(b) In case a fraud is reported then it carries out the investigation to bring the culprits to justice and for the recovery of the losses.
(c) To authenticate the suspect bills of lading and other shipping documents.
(d) Collection and dissipation of intelligence information relating to maritime crimes.
(e) To assist the victims of fraudulent transactions to extricate.
(f) To provide legal advice and support in litigation.
(g) To provide training courses to combat maritime crimes.
(h) To provide credit reports on companies engaged in shipping and trading.
(i) To check the credentials of the ship owners and prospective charterers before a vessel is fixed.
(j) To investigate insurance losses.
(k) To verify documents under documentary credits.
(l) To monitor the movement of the vessels through its dedicated satellite tracking system (SHIPLOC) and feed information to the shipping companies.
1. Piracy Reporting Center:
The IMB Piracy Reporting Center is located at:
ICC International Maritime Bureau
PO Box 12559 50782 Kuala Lumpur
24 hour anti piracy helpline
Fax+6032385769 E-mail: cck1 [at]imbl.po.my
The Piracy Reporting Center was set up in October 1992 in Kuala Lumpur. The main reason for the creation of this Centre was the abnormal increase in piracy on the world’s oceans in the shipping industry. The Centre is funded by the International Transport Workers’ Federation and by voluntary contributions from a number of companies.
The services provided are free of charge to all vessels irrespective of ownership or flag and include:
i. Report piracy incidents and armed robbery at sea to law enforcement agencies,
ii. Locate vessels that have been seized by pirates and recover stolen cargoes,
iii. Help to bring pirates to justice,
iv. Assist owners and crews of ships that have been attacked, and
v. Collate information on piracy in all parts of the world.
The Center supplies investigating teams that respond immediately to acts of piracy and collect evidence for law enforcement agencies. The Center maintains a round-the-clock watch every day of the year in close collaboration with law enforcement. It initiates action on reports of suspicious shipping movements, piracy and armed robbery at sea anywhere in the world.
The Center broadcasts daily status bulletins via satellite recording pirate attacks on shipping in East Africa, Indian Sub-continent, South East Asia and the Far Eastern regions. Quarterly reports are made available to interested bodies, including the International Maritime Organization. 1MB also publishes the Center’s annual report Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships.
The Center’s internet sites and those of 1MB regularly inputs the information on its fight against piracy with weekly updates of attacks and warnings. The reports are compiled from the piracy reporting service’s daily status bulletins.
The regular reports contain details of the location and nature of attacks on shipping in the East and South East Asian region, and allow companies to put their ships’ masters on special alert when they are passing through waters in which recent piratical attacks have been reported.
The most recent innovation in the fight against piracy is an inexpensive satellite tracking system, known as SHIPLOC. This system allows shipping companies, armed only with a personal computer with Internet access, to monitor the exact location of their vessels. SHIPLOC now has its own website at?
B. Commercial Crime Bureau (CCB):
CCB was set up in 1992, primarily as a service to banks and other financial service providers. It keeps abreast of the growing complexity of frauds and alerts the financial community as soon as criminal ingenuity devises a new scam to trap the unwary.
CCB is a direct private sector response to the globalization and increased sophistication of organized crime. The bureau’s creation was also prompted by the epidemic of commercial crime in countries new to the market economy system.
Secrecy laws often deny banks, regulators and law enforcement agencies information that is relevant to fraud prevention. To allow financial service providers to protect themselves against fraud, CCB gives members access to its own confidential database compiled from a variety of international sources.
CCB is a key point of contact for a worldwide membership of banks, financial institutions, regulators and law enforcement agencies in all matters concerning fraud and malpractice. Frauds involving bogus banking instruments, which have reached epidemic proportions, form a large part of the bureau’s work.
Specific tasks are to:
1. Authenticate documents,
2. Analyze financial transactions,
3. Vet companies,
4. Trace and recover assets,
5. Provide expert testimony in Courts of law, and
6. Organize training, seminars and lectures.
A monthly confidential report on current frauds and criminal methods goes exclusively to members. This restricted service is complemented by special reports designed to raise public awareness of fraud techniques so that people are less likely to fall victim to phony get-rich-quick schemes.
Recent CCB publications deal with prime bank instrument frauds and money laundering. Services to members include the International Cheque Fraud Registry, whose purpose is to identify patterns in cheque fraud.
ICC Commercial Crime Services (CCS), a specialized division of the International Chamber of Commerce, is a non-profit making membership organization based in London and Kuala Lumpur. CCS is made up of three specialized bureaux and a cybercrime unit which together cover all aspects of commercial crime. All provide up-to-the-minute advice on criminal methods and how to counter them.
(c) Counterfeiting Intelligence Bureau (CIB):
CIB assists companies in preventing counterfeiting of their products. It carries out investigations, provides intelligence and monitors counterfeiting worldwide. CIB was formed in 1985 as a focal point for industries exposed to counterfeiting worldwide.
Counterfeiting is one of the fastest growing economic crimes, threatening business and jobs, undermining trade relations, scaring off vital new investment and endangering public health and safety.
What was once a cottage industry has developed into a sophisticated network of organized crime, affecting a broad range of industries? CIB was the first international, private business initiative to go beyond political lobbying, with practical prevention and enforcement support for police and customs authorities.
As such, the bureau has become a vital element in the campaign against the manufacture and distribution of counterfeit goods.
CIB, whose services benefit multinational companies, trade associations, law firms and providers of anti-counterfeiting technology, has now extended its activities to include intellectual property fraud.
Specific tasks of the CIB are to:
1. Gather and evaluate intelligence,
2. Investigate sources and distribution of fake products,
3. Provide expert advice and training,
4. Supply evidence to enable police to make arrests and seize counterfeit goods, and
5. To operate a Hologram Image Register service.
CIB provides its members with a confidential monthly bulletin on the provenance and distribution networks of counterfeit products. Investigators trace products back from point of sale to place of manufacture and provide police with the information they need to make arrests.
The bureau is the hub of three anti-counterfeiting networks that together constitute a global resource to combat counterfeiting and fraud:
It links leading law firms specializing in intellectual property issues.
It groups anti-counterfeiting technology providers.
It brings together specialist investigators.
(d) Cybercrime Unit:
When ICC decided to enter e-commerce perhaps that was the moment when it started on the Cybercrime unit as well. The unit carries out investigations, devises security procedures and keeps abreast of developments in this rapidly changing area of crime on the Internet.
ICC has developed a highly efficient and secure way of managing business to business e-commerce system through the use of Internet facilities.
The various elements of this system are:
1. World Chambers Network (WCN):
(i) World Chambers Consortium (WCC).
2. Global Management Center (GMC):
(i) Global Business Exchange (GBX).
3. Trade Information Network (TIN):
(i) Digital Certification Service (DCS).
1. The World Chambers Network (WCN):
a. A service to boost business-to-business e-commerce for members.
b. It facilitates comprehensive business information exchange including technology, products, services, markets and resources.
c. Even small or medium-sized member companies can use it for global marketing quickly, efficiently and inexpensively.
d. The system uses the services of the worldwide network of chambers of commerce through Global Business Exchange (GBX).
e. Through GBX,
(i) Members are provided market intelligence, business opportunities, and contacts to customers and suppliers.
(ii) Access to data base.
(iii) Listing and search facilities.
(iv) Access to other chambers of commerce on global basis.
(v) Access to Trade Resources Library (over 10,000 chambers identified within the registry), which links to on-line information sources such as world business reports, bank rates, customs documentation and country-by-country trade and regulatory data.
World Chambers Consortium (WCC):
It is an alliance of the ICC and the Paris Chamber of Commerce.
2. Global Management Center:
i. Established in 1987, with operation center located in Romania.
ii. It is dedicated to the service of the members from the developing countries.
iii. It uses the services of the World Chambers Network.
iv. It has strategic alliances with member chambers.
v. It also has strategic alliances with other international organizations.
vi. It has been recognized by the G8 countries for its support for the developing and least developed countries in the area of electronic business.
vii. It has regional centers at Cameroon for the African nations, Karachi Pakistan for the Asian nations, Colombia for the Latin American countries.
3. Trade Information Network (TIN):
i. Founded by the G77 Chamber of Commerce.
ii. Its main function is to mobilize the private sector in support of Economic Cooperation amongst the Developing Countries. (ECDC).
iii. It is operated under GMC.
iv. It provides trade-related information to all members covering international trade, technology, investment opportunities.
v. It provides professional assistance and training programmes to the small to medium sized companies.
vi. It has database accessible to members for information on individual companies, suppliers, markets, and resources.
vii. It is being developed as the information centre for the ICC’s new service on e-commerce.
viii. It has established relationship with over 20 international trade and development networks in Africa, Asia, Europe, North and South America and provides information through them on the prospective business relationships with its members especially from the southern globe.
ix. In association with GMC it provides Digital Certificates for secured electronic trading.
x. It also provides access to GBX and PECOS or the Internet Procurement Manager that provides buyers and sellers with an easy, cost-effective way to participate in business-to-business electronic commerce. The service is fully automated thereby increasing the internal processes and external supplier interactions.
6. Essay on the International Commercial Dispute Settlement:
In the earlier two sections where we covered WB and WTO both have dispute settlement mechanisms, WB settles them as a banker and most of the disputes relates to non conformation of WB rules by the recipients (mostly national governments and/or related agencies/ organizations supported by the respective national governments) and/or the sub-contractors and the settlement is by way of warnings and disqualification.
In WTO case the disputes are between member governments and most of the disputes relates to the problems of tariff and antidumping. WTO settles them through a well-laid out process of consultation and negotiation. In both these cases the national governments are made responsible for finding the solutions.
But in the case of ICC which also has a well developed dispute settlement mechanism, but the disputes relate to non-conformation to the contractual obligations between two or more contracting parties. In majority of the cases relate to the members of ICC but others in private and government sectors can also seek ICC’s interference to resolve their disputes on payment basis.
The unique thing about ICC is its ability to offer comprehensive service in maritime crime detection, prevention and resolution of disputes. About the crime detection and prevention we have already covered up in details in this section, and about the dispute resolving service ICC has been in it since 1923 when it set up the International Court of Arbitration.
Since its inception it has resolved thousands of cases (over 10,000) from over 170 countries though its membership is limited to 130 countries only. The resolution mechanism has been developed specifically to handle disputes arising on account of the international business transactions. “Rules of Arbitration” is the authentic document of ICC and parties under dispute have to follow the steps according to these rules.
The findings are firm, final, and binding on both the parties. In addition to said rules ICC also conducts research on related topics for International Business Laws and its findings are treated as universal in the area of international business law.
In addition to the international business, ICC has also developed a comprehensive set of documents for maritime dispute resolving mechanism covering charter party, contracts of carriage by sea or Multimodal transport, marine insurance, and ship sale, building and repair where the issues of “Rights on the Vessel” has been incorporated in the body of the contract.
These maritime arbitration mechanism were jointly developed by ICC and the Committee’ Maritime International (CMI) and came into force in 1978. In fact both ICC and CMI had been working on these topics (shipbuilding and sale) for a long time but only in 1978 they published the comprehensive arbitration document covering this sector.
Both have jointly set up an institution called International Maritime Arbitration Organization (IMAO) to handle maritime disputes. The Standing Committee of IMAO acts as the single window or such disputes settlements.
This committee has the powers for deliberations when at least two members from ICC and CMI are present and the decisions are taken on single majority basis where the chairman folds the right for the casting vote.