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The Role of the Chambers of Commerce and Industry:

The Chambers of Commerce and Industry emerged in the world as a service Institutions aiming at building a commercial solidarity among businessmen. The owners of commercial businesses in cities and districts are keen to create these institutions with the aim of organizing their business sectors and protecting their interests. In general, the chamber achieve the following services: Develop plans and create commercial opportunities for the benefit of their affiliates, communicate with the authorities to discuss the interests of business and commerce, create a rising national economy and contribute to the achievement of sustainable development of their communities.

In addition, the Chamber has important and tangible roles to play in settling the commercial disputes of its members, its interest in its members, providing them with the information they need to perform their business, showing them the proper bases of their deals, providing them with advice regarding the ways of finding some kind of integration among them which contributes to the reduction of the production cost and at the same time saves the working capital. In addition, it adopts the issues of its members related to the practice of their activities and it contributes to finding the proper solutions for them.

All these jobs are carried out by the Chambers of Commerce and Industry. If the chamber of commerce succeed in playing this role and achieving the interests of their affiliates in all their activities, they will contribute to the improvement of the performance of the national economy and its quality and achieve the desired objectives of their creation. The concept of the Chambers has developed in the world of today since they are now contributing to the service of the community and the development of its economic and financial activities in particular.

The International Chambers of Commerce and Industry:

Historians said that the first voluntary gathering of businessmen appeared in 1599 AD in the city of Marseille in France. It appeared in accordance with the initiative of a number of businessmen in Marseille with the aim of representing their interests in the port. But in regards to the chambers of commerce in the rest of the industrial countries, studies showed that the Chamber of Hamburg in Germany was established in 1665 AD, the Chamber of Torino in Italy in 1729 AD, the Chamber of Jersey in Britain in 1768 AD, the Chamber of Tokyo in Japan 1891 AD, the Chamber of Rio De Janeiro in Brazil in 1834 AD, The Chamber of Adelaide in Australia in 1810 AD and the Chamber of Toronto in Canada in 1845 AD.

The Arab Chambers of Commerce and Industry:

In the Arab countries, in the ancient times there used to be what was called “the Sheikh of Traders" or “the Sheikh of the Market", “the Sheikh of the Profession" or “Shah Bander".  In 1303 AH corresponding to 1885 AD, Aleppo Chamber of Commerce was established. It was of a special importance because the city itself was one of the most important commercial centers between the East and West before the inauguration of the Suez Canal.

Studies indicate that the Arabian Gulf countries were interested in establishing the chambers of commerce and Industry with the aim of organizing the commercial and Industrial interests and representing them at the authorities. The Kuwaiti Chamber of Commerce and Industry was established in 1959 AD in accordance with a special law aiming at representing it, defending it and working to upgrade it as the first Chamber in the Arab Gulf States.

History of the Chambers of Commerce and Industry in the Kingdom and their Development:

One of the most important features of the economic reform of His Majesty King Abdulaziz, my Allah rest his soul in peace was encouraging the commercial movement and the organization of the economic activity at both the internal and external levels.  As a result of this reform, the Commercial Council was established in 1345 AH followed by consequent additions to the regulation of this Council and the establishment of the Chamber of Commerce in Jeddah in 1365 AH corresponding to 1945 AD. This was the first Chamber of Commerce in the Kingdom. The special regulation to establish it was published in Safar 15th, 1365 AH corresponding to January 18th, 1946 AD.

Jeddah is considered one of the most important sea ports in Saudi Arabia due to its proximity to Mecca and the importance of Jeddah location on the Red Sea, which is connected by the Suez Canal. There were connections with the traders of Mecca to establish a Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Mecca which was established in 1366 AH. After that, a union between the Chambers of Mecca and Jeddah was established. In 1369 AH a Royal Decree was issued to establish the Union of the Chambers of Commerce and Industry in the Kingdom. Then, another Royal Decree no. 140806 was issued to establish the Eastern Area Chamber of Commerce and Industry. It started its work in Shawal 3rd, 1372 AH and in Ramadan 23rd, 1372 AH the Shura (Consultative) Council issued a resolution no. 79 including the addition of new articles defining the activities of the Chambers of Commerce and organizing their terms of reference and fields of their works.

Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry was established in accordance with the resolution of the Council of Ministers no. (239) dated 10 Jamadi II, 1381 AH. Then the establishment of the Chambers of Commerce and Industry continued in a number of cities in the kingdom. The Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Medina was established in 1387 AH, in Taif in 1398 AH, in Al Qassim in 1398 AH, in Al-Ahsa in 1401 AH, in Hail in 1402 AH, in Al-Jouf in 11405 AH, in Qurayyat in 1408 AD, Bisha Chamber in 1429 AH.

The current effective regulation of the Chambers of Commerce and Industry in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia was issued in accordance to the Royal Decree no M/6 dated 3/4/1400 AH. It was issued based on a study conducted by the Ministry of Commerce to prepare the draft of the Chambers of Commerce and Industry regulation, in line with the commercial and industrial renaissance witnessed by the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which requires that the above mentioned Chambers shall play an effective role in achieving the development plans objectives in the kingdom. After that, they found out that the Chambers of Commerce and Industry regulation amended by the Royal Decree no. 2829 dated 13/8/1368 AH does not accord with the mentioned objectives. The previous legal and historic data indicated that the age of the Chambers of Commerce and Industry in the kingdom exceeds seventy years which gave it great experience and strong support in the fields of organization management of the commercial and industrial activities in the Kingdom.