U.S. Chamber of Commerce

views updated May 21 2018

U.S. Chamber of Commerce

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is a national not-for-profit business federation devoted to promoting business interests in the United States and around the globe. Founded as a national federation in 1912 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has long championed the cause of large and small businesses alike. Primary areas of activity by the Chamber include efforts to: ease perceived over-regulation of business activities; cut taxes on businesses; strengthen trade relations with other nations; improve labor relations; increase productivity and innovation in all industry areas; develop new markets; study major business policy issues; improve socioeconomic conditions in communities; and reduce business-related litigation.

In 2005, the membership of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce included 830 business associations, approximately 3,000 local and state chambers of commerce; 87 American chambers of commerce based in foreign markets; and 3 million individual business enterprises. Of the latter members, the Chamber counts most of the United States' largest corporations. But according to Chamber of Commerce data, more than 96 percent of the federation's members are small businesses with 100 or fewer employees.

In addition to its intensive lobbying activities on behalf of its membership, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce boasts several affiliated organizations engaged in policy areas of interest to small and large businesses alike. The National Chamber Foundation (NCF), for instance, is a public and business policy research institution dedicated to exploring issues and solving problems found in the modern business world. The Chamber also supports two organizations devoted to legal issues. Its National Chamber Litigation center (NCLC) represents businesses in legal proceedings, while the Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) is dedicated to tort reform and other pro-business changes to the U.S. legal system. Other foundations associated with and supported by the Chamber include the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), which promotes business development in Third World countries, and the Center for Workforce Preparation (CWP), which endeavors to boost workforce education and training initiatives in all industries. In 2000 the Chamber also announced its intention to establish a humanitarian aid foundation called the Center for Corporate Citizenship Foundation. This organization's mandate will be to channel corporate donations to victims of natural disasters and other groups and individuals in need.

The national offices of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are located at 1615 H. Street NW, Washington, DC 20062-2000, (800) 638-6582. The Chamber also maintains an Internet presence at http://www.uschamber.com/home.htm.

see also Chambers of Commerce


Mack, Charles S. Business, Politics, and the Practice of Government Relations. Quorum, September 1997.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Small Business Center. Available from http://www.uschamber.com/sb/default.htm?n=rn Retrieved on 15 May 2006.

                              Hillstrom, Northern Lights

                                updated by Magee, ECDI

U.S. Chamber of Commerce

views updated May 11 2018


The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world's largest not-for-profit federation of businesses, representing more than 3 million businesses and organizations in the United States. As of 2003, the chamber was comprised of 3000 state and local chambers and 830 business associations. There were also 92 U.S. Chambers of Commerce abroad. Businesses that make up the chamber range from Fortune 500 companies to home-based operations consisting of one or two people. Approximately 96 percent of the chamber membership consists of businesses with fewer than 100 employees. The chamber states that its mission is to "advance human progress through an economic, political, and social system based on individual freedom, incentive, initiative, opportunity, and responsibility." The chamber has historically been an influential lobbyist for legislation that favors the free enterprise system. It looks to its membership to help define policy on national issues critical to business. Once a policy is developed, the chamber informs Congress and the administration of the business community's recommendations on legislative issues and government policies.

The U.S. chamber of commerce was founded in 1912 at a conference called by President william howard taft in Washington, D.C. At the time of the conference, there were many local chambers of commerce throughout the United States. Chambers are now organized at the local, state, and regional levels, and all of them may hold membership in the national organization. The headquarters of the national chamber is in Washington D.C. It is controlled by a large national board of directors, with a chair and president elected by the board each year.

The chamber's policy division provides members with the opportunity to influence pro-business issues in Washington through the use of satellite video conferences and town hall meetings that are broadcast directly from the chamber offices. The division convenes meetings of business leaders and also provides opportunities for chamber members to meet with and question congressional candidates in small, informal gatherings.

The chamber's Small Business Institute (SBI) seeks to provide small business professionals and their employees with self-study training programs and interactive satellite seminars. Subjects include marketing, management, productivity, technology, and forecasting. The chamber also offers an online catalog that provides access to books, audio programs, videotapes, and software that deal with business topics.

Several affiliated organizations work closely with the chamber. The Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) was formed under congressional mandate in 1983. CIPE has sponsored nearly 200 programs promoting economic growth and democratic development in more than 40 countries worldwide as part of a program called the National Endowment for Democracy. The National Chamber Foundation (NCF) is a public policy research organization that concentrates on economic and business issues. It researches and analyzes issues and provides educational tools to improve understanding of economics and business. The Center for Leadership Development, the educational division of the NCF, conducts training for chamber and association managers and business executives.

The chamber publishes for its members the Nation's Business, a monthly magazine aimed at the owners and top management of small businesses. The magazine provides practical information about running and expanding an established business.

further readings

Lefkowitz, Martin. 1993. What 100 New Jobs Mean to a Community. Washington, D.C.: Economic Policy Division, U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Lucas, Robert E., Jr. 2002. Lectures on Economic Growth. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Available online at <www.uschamber.com> (accessed February 24, 2004).


National Association of Manufacturers.

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United States Chamber of Commerce