Chambers of Commerce
The Belgian-Luxembourg Chambers of Commerce abroad help to develop and promote bilateral trade between, on the one hand, Belgium and Luxembourg, and on the other a third country.
The Chambers are set up freely and are private initiatives and owe their existence to nationals from Belgium (or Luxembourg) who are intent on improving, facilitating and developing the countries' presence abroad.
The status of these Chambers of Commerce abroad varies depending on their nationality and the legislation applicable in the country where they are set up. Normally, Chambers of Commerce will have a General Assembly (comprising all the members of the Chamber), a Board of Directors, an Executive Bureau and a Secretariat.
Since 1 January 1999, most Belgian-Luxembourg Chambers of Commerce abroad have been integrated into the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Belgium, though some Chambers of Commerce are not members.
What do the Belgian-Luxembourg Chambers of Commerce abroad actually do?
The action they take and the services they provide are set out in the (non-exhaustive) list below:
- documentation on economic and trade-related matters
- information on regulations governing trade
- compilation and publication of statistics
- information on commercial activities
- details of market opportunities
- customs regulations
- collecting and passing on business proposals
- organising study days, seminars and colloquiums
- organisation of missions
- assisting missions organised by federal and regional authorities, trade associations, clubs of exporting companies, etc.
- regulations and possibilities for claiming back VAT
- information on companies' right of establishment and company law
- cooperation with and participation in foreign stock markets
- organisation of competitions to award prizes to companies or individuals which/who have made a special contribution towards promoting Belgian exports
- production of magazines or special publications.
In addition to Chambers of Commerce, there are also several Belgian Business Clubs abroad. The structure of these Business Clubs is more flexible than that of the Chambers of Commerce, and the action they take is more limited in scope and more sporadic.