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France: Chambers of Commerce and Industry

Chambres de Commerce et d'Industrie

Last modified: 2010-12-03 by ivan sache
Keywords: chamber of commerce and industry | cci | hexagon | caduceus (blue) |
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Presentation of CCI

The Chambers of Commerce and Industry (CCI) are organizations representing the interests of commercial and industrial professions.
The first Chamber of Commerce was created in 1599 by Barthélemy de Laffemas in Marseilles. Subsequently, Colbert and Pontchartrain founded Chambers of Commerce in several town of the Kingdom of France. Suppressed in 1791, the 22 Chambers of Commerce were reestablished in 1802 by Chaptal.
The Chamber of Commerce of Paris was created in 1803, together with Consultative Chambers of Factories, Arts and Industry. Those Consultative Chambers were suppressed in 1950, several of them being transformed into Chambers of Commerce.
Following the French example, Chambers of Commerce were founded in Brussels (1703), Cologne (1707), New York (1768), Glasgow (1783) Edinburgh (1786), etc.

In France, the members of the Chambers of Commerce are elected by people listed on the trade register. The elections are supervised by the State Council so that every professional branch has a representation proportional to its economical importance. There are currently 180 Chambers of Commerce, with 4,500 elected members and 26,000 employees. The Chambers of Commerce are State establishments supervised by several ministers.
As State establishments supervised by different ministers, the Chambers of Commerce have four main tasks:
- to represent the companies with the State authorities and inform them. The Chambers of Commerce have an advisory competency on urban development, transportation, industrial setting up and the commercial, economical and customs legislation;
- to manage facilities such as ports (190), airports (121), entrepots, bus stations and hotels;
- to inform and advise companies;
- to train companies' executives, via a network of colleges such as HEC and the Écoles supérieures de commerce in Paris and Lyon.

Source: Encyclopaedia Universalis

Ivan Sache, 14 October 2003

Flags of CCI

[Flag of CCI]

"Generic" flag of CCI - Image by Ivan Sache, 23 November 2009

Several CCIs use a standard emblem made of an hexagon divided in thin sectors, in turn blue and red, emerging from a white disk decentered to the lower right part of the hexagon. The disk is charged with a blue caduceus representing commerce, surrounding by "CHAMBRE DE COMMERCE ET D'INDUSTRIE" in red Capital letters, "running" all along the circonference of the disk.
A "generic" CCI flag might have existed, divided blue-red by the ascending diagonal and charged in the middle with the CCI emblem. I spotted such a flag in Avignon in April 2004. It has just been spotted by Nozomi Karyasu in New Caledonia.

Most CCIs having "modernized" their emblem, it seems that the hexagonal emblem, which was, however, easy to identify and a strong component of the identity of the CCIs, will probably vanish, as will the few flags still bearing it.

Ivan Sache, 23 November 2009

Index of CCI

This list is not a comprehensive list of CCIs but only an index of CCIs for which flag-related information is available on this website.