Private Trade Promotion 1

commerce, chamber, chambers, commercial, government, foreign, business and french

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In the United States a similar central body exists in the Chamber of Commerce of the United States. This, like its British prototype, is an organization to which chambers of commerce, trade organizations and individuals may belong, and which aims to become wholly representative of the business world, keeping close watch on all government activity that affects or may affect business at home and abroad. It publishes a magazine, The Nation's Business, a weekly publi cation, Legislative Bulletin, during sessions of Con gress, and also a general bulletin which appears monthly. Important questions are submitted to a referendum vote. The Chamber unquestionably ex erts considerable influence upon the attitude of Con 3. The French type of chamber of Quite a different sort of organization is the French type of chamber of commerce found in France, Italy, Holland, Bulgaria, Roumania, Turkey, China, Ja pan, Brazil, Spain and, previous to the war in Russia, Germany and Austria-Hungary. These organiza tions are semi-official bodies, established in accordance with the commercial code and they are entrusted with many functions which in this country are regarded as strictly governmental affairs.

Under the law every department must have at least one chamber of commerce. Every chamber of corn coerce is established only by permission of the Min ister of Commerce, the municipal council, the depart mental council, and in case a second chamber of com merce is desired in one department, the consent of the existing chambers of commerce must also be ob tained.

The conditions of membership, the right to vote and the right to hold office are all regulated by law. The nature of the organization is made more evident by a statement of its purpose, which is first of all "to support and aid the government by advice and criticism and suggestions as far as commerce, in dustry and navigation are concerned." The cham bers of commerce are given a large degree of au thority over commerce courts, bonded warehouses, auctions, stock, produce and ship brokers, exchanges, transportation rates, and the undertaking of public works.

Some thirty chambers of commerce in harbor towns have taken action in aiding the development of harbor facilities, light have built warehouses, ten have es tablished bonded warehouses, ten supervised stock ex changes, eight have charge of silk and textile testing bureaus, twelve support colleges of commerce, five maintain commercial museums, some install the tele phone system in their department, while others main tain homes for sailors.

The Paris Chamber of Commerce maintains the following undertakings: a library, testing plants for ' silk, wool, paper and ammunitions, railroad and river terminal facilities, bonded warehouses, a college of commerce, a commercial high school with four years' course and one with a two years' course, evening classes in commercial subjects for men and women, and it, moreover, exercises supervision over the ex changes and appointments of brokers. It issues li

censes for commercial travelers and certificates of origin for exports.

Since 1895 the chambers of commerce have had rep resentation on the Commission Consultative Perman ente, which advises the government upon questions of trade.

In the other countries above enumerated, the func tions of the chambers of commerce bear the same official character, tho the same scope of action is not found in every case. Centralization is frequently ob tained, as is the case of the chambers of commerce of the English type, by national organization. In Germany the Deutsche Handelstag represented the business interests of the country. In Belgium this same purpose was served by the Federation des As sociations Commerciales et Industrielles in Brussels.

In Brazil the Junta Commercial, which is entrusted with public functions and has a small membership elected by merchants, and a president and secretary appointed by the government, exists side by side with the Associacao Commercial, which is a chamber of commerce of the English type.

One of Spain's preparations for after-the-war com petition was a change from the English to the French type of chamber of commerce.

4. American chambers of commerce abroad.—Busi ness men of the same nationality located in a foreign country, frequently associate themselves in a chamber of commerce. Membership is not always restricted to such nationals. As a matter of fact, there are some "American" chambers of commerce abroad, made up wholly of foreign importers interested in American business. Many a chamber of commerce has an in ternational character, being frequently then called a general chamber of commerce. This kind is found in Hongkong, Singapore, Constantinople, Cairo, Ma nila and Havana, and many South American cities.

The French Government has given encouragement and support to the movement and exercises to some extent control over them. Where government sup port is given, membership is restricted to French citizens.

England has about 100 such chambers in its col onies and at least ten in foreign countries. In Lon don there are no less than eight foreign chambers of commerce, which have united in a Federation of Foreign Chambers of Commerce to look after their interests.

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