TRADE ORGANIZATION IN GERMANY Commercial Associations.—In Germany there are two kinds of trade organizations : (I) Official organizations established by law, i.e., officially recog nised, public legal bodies, the chambers of industry and commerce. (2) "Free" associations and unions, i.e., unofficial unions.
An intermediate class, the so-called semi-official bodies, dating back to the 18th or beginning of the i9th century, and recog nised or even instituted by the Governments of the day, always preserved their official character down to recent times, but have now either been converted into chambers of industry and com merce or ceased to exist. Such are the "Aelteste der Kaufmann schaft zu Berlin" (established 1820), the "Kommerz-Deputation in Hamburg," the "Handelszunft in Mannheim" (established 1728) ; the "Handelsvorstande" in Frankfort-on-Main (estab lished 1707), Leipzig, and Cologne, the Merchants' corporations in Stettin, Danzig, Memel, Tilsit, Konigsberg, Elbing and Magde burg (these last dating from the years 1821-25).
Chambers of commerce in Germany (since 1920 almost all called chambers of industry and commerce, in order to denote the equal representation of industry and commerce) show little uniformity, especially as regards historical development, which varied widely in the various states, according to economic and political circumstances. In certain parts of Germany their foreign origin may be easily discerned, while in other parts, as in the Hansa towns, in south Germany (e.g., in Nuremberg, Heilbronn, Mannheim), their origin dates back to the private initiative of local merchant circles at the end of the 17th century. Shortly after 1800, chambers of commerce and industry were set up by Napoleon in many towns in the Rhineland territories then ceded to France (e.g., Aachen, Eupen, Trier, Krefeld, Mainz). In 1830 a royal statute brought into being a large number of chambers in the rest of Prussian territory.
It was not, however, until 1848 that chambers of commerce in Prussia received their first legal status in virtue of a Royal Ordinance. When in 187o a new law re-organized the whole sys tem of chambers of commerce, 33 new chambers had already been established under the first royal ordinance. The law of 1870 is
still in force, though with many modifications, the most important of which were made in 1897 ; in Bavaria the first ordinance was issued in 1842, and a complete revision was made by the law of Feb. 1908. In Wurttemberg the first ordinance of 1854 was replaced by a law of 1897, which organized the chambers of commerce system on the lines followed in Prussia. In Saxony the provisions of the industrial ordinances of 1861 and 1920 apply; in Baden the Law of Dec. 1878, with various amendments.
In the course of this development the variations in the organiza tion and functions of chambers of commerce as between the various German States have largely disappeared. The following description may be regarded as applying to all chambers of com merce in Germany. They are more autonomous and independent than French chambers of commerce. They have indeed an offi cial character, but are not a corporate part of Government or ganization. Subject to the provisions of the relevant laws, the chambers fix their own constitution and determine election pro cedure. Members are freely chosen, and they are quite free as to what resolutions they pass.
The chambers' activities may be divided into two groups : (I) Duties imposed on them by State laws; these include drawing up an annual report on the economic position and development in the preceding year, giving advice to officials in questions touching trade and industry, nominating and swearing-in publicly appointed experts, weighers and assessors, and assisting the courts in keeping the com mercial register.
(2) Voluntary duties undertaken by the chambers as falling within their scope, e.g., giving information in questions of customs and trans port or home and foreign trade, information regarding trade practice, setting up and conducting commercial schools, administering exchanges, harbours, public and customs warehouses, instituting arbitration courts, and issuing periodical announcements.