European Council of American Chambers of Commerce (ECACC)
Founded in 1963, the EUROPEAN COUNCIL OF AMERICAN CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE (ECACC) today represents the corporate interests of more than 17,000 American and European companies, based in 39 countries and employing more than 20 million people.
ECACC’s member companies account for more than $ 1.1 trillion in investment on both sides of the Atlantic.
Member Chambers of the Council are voluntary associations supported entirely by membership dues. In addition, all Member Chambers are members of the US CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, and work closely with its International Division to coordinate policy and strategy.
How is ECACC organised?
The governing body of ECACC is the Executive Committee, which consists of the Chairman, Vice-chair, Treasurer and three members-at-large. Key groups running the day-to-day activities are the Executive Committee, and regional and policy clusters. ECACC is proud to play an integral role in the dynamic European business environment.
Preserving a Profitable Partnership
The US and the EU are close trading partners and the American Chambers of Commerce in Europe play a vital role in strengthening this relationship.
Today, major factors affecting the transatlantic business environment include new high-tech developments - particularly in the IT sector - globalisation, a wave of mergers and acquisitions and changes in the balance between public and private sectors. As an example, technology stocks made up 36 per cent of total US stock market capitalisation in March 2000, five times more than in 1990. In 1999, proceeds from privatisation around the world totalled $145 billion. And, in 1999, US firms accounted for 52% of $3.3 trillion of mergers and acquisitions worldwide, while European firms accounted for 37% of the total.
The EU and the US remain each other’s largest trading partners. In 1999, the EU 15 represented 22.2% of US merchandise exports. The potential for growth within an enlarged EU is evident. Transactions in goods, services and income continue to increase. In 1999, the US exported $342.3 billion to the EU and imported $402.9 billion from the EU. Last year, US direct investment in the EU was $512.1 billion, and the EU invested $624.8 billion in the US.
Beyond the EU, other exciting new European business growth opportunities are emerging. Within this large and ever-growing business constituency, ECACC focuses on providing a network that facilitates the exchange of information and ideas among member chambers. ECACC places strong emphasis on sharing best practices in the areas of chamber management, member recruitment and member services, as well as public relations and communication.
Seven American Chambers of Commerce founded ECACC on May 6, 1963 in Milan, Italy. The original members were all from Western Europe. Today, Chambers such as the Israel-American Chamber of Commerce and the Turkish-American Business Association are active members and have been joined by many Central and Eastern European Chambers.
This wide geographical spread, combined with the varying needs of different countries, leads to a large variety of structures and priorities in the American Chambers. This has resulted in a particular focus on the importance of the exchange of information and management techniques. The combined weight of this large and dynamic business constituency can also be used to emphasise and support policy issues of transatlantic concern.
During the year, Council meetings are held on a rotating basis in different Chamber countries and a close relationship is maintained with the American Chamber of Commerce to the EU. At the annual ECACC conference held in Washington D.C., senior representatives of the administration, Congress and key US organisations are invited to give their views on current political and economic trends. On this and other occasions, ECACC works closely with the US Department of Commerce and the US Chamber of Commerce in Washington.
How does the EUROPEAN COUNCIL OF AMERICAN CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE (ECACC) serve its members?
- keeping them informed of developments in the United States, Chamber host countries and the European Community;
- expressing the views of American business interests abroad in matters affecting trade and investment, taxation matters concerning international trade and investment, and public attitudes towards American businesses;
- communicating business positions to the US Congress on existing and proposed legislation of interest to American firms abroad, American residents outside the United States, and trading partners of American firms and European investors in the United States;
- acting as a clearinghouse for the exchange of information and ideas regarding matters of common interest to members; and
- organising meetings to promote networking and cooperation between member chambers.