History of the Budapest Chamber of Commerce and Industry

history BCCI pic1In 1850 the First Pest Chamber of Commerce was founded. The city bankers, merchants and craftsmen considered important that the dynamically growing city has an organization based on non regulatory membership that can provide a permanent representation and recognition of the city and can be a partner of the newly established chambers all over Europe. In 1868 a separate Act on Chambers were born and when Pest and Buda united in 1873 the Budapest Chamber of Commerce and Industry organizing exhibitions in Budapest and providing the masters of professional trainings, education and examinations was operated by a separate Act. BCCI participated in the establishment of the Budapest Stock Exchange and was a leader in the preparation of the Act on Hungarian Industrial Development and Subvention.

The golden ages of Budapest were around the turn of the century. The already fifty-year old BCCI was one of the most important players in the economic life and the members of the Chamber were present at almost every major project implementation. In 1905 the Chamber Headquarters were built by public contribution close to the Parliament and at this time the Chamber had the largest library of economics in Hungary.

Following the First World War BCCI organized the Budapest Industrial Fair as one of the most important event in the newly born Hungarian economy which later became a prestigious international exhibition. Between the two world wars all decisions affecting the city’s economy has been the responsibility of BCCI, and all city governors led Budapest according to the advices of the Chamber leaders. BCCI established the first Economic Research Institute in 1926.

Following the Second World War the leftist centralization abolished the operation of the Chambers in Hungary and all their assets were secularized. Following the transition years BCCI was reborn yet as an association with more than 500 members and was carrying on the activities of the first Pest Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The biggest recognition of BCCI was the invitation from the Association of European Chambers (EUROCHAMBER) in the fall of 1991 to participate at their first Amsterdam Summit.

The Act on Economic Chambers in 1994 described the chambers as a public body with a compulsory membership and over the next four years the chambers were totally reorganized. BCCI built a wide range of services, opened service offices in all districts of the capital and helped the Euroatlantic integration of the Budapest based corporations with the opening of a European Information and Services Centre. By the end of the millennium BCCI position has reached the level of importance and recognition that was typical at the end of the last century.

The new Act on Economic Chambers accepted in 1999 abolished the compulsory chamber membership and significantly reduced the administrative functions of the chambers. The new Act identified the development and subvention of the economy, the support of the general economic interests and the promotion of the regional development strategy as the main tasks of the chambers. In 2000 at the year of the 150 jubilee of BCCI the entire chamber system has been reorganized on the basis of market needs.

The Budapest Chamber of Commerce and Industry continues to consider its main task the growth and development of the entire economic sector, the secure long-term turnover of the corporations, the integrity of the market behaviour and economic activity engaged in the realization of collective interests.

In 2011 the Act on Economic Chambers was modified in order to develop the chamber system based on voluntary membership. According to the amendment the corporations are obliged to register themselves at the Chambers with a minimum payment as a contribution to the Chamber’s public functions. By the introduction of compulsory registration the membership continues to remain voluntary.

The newly introduced system of registration of business organizations guarantees the consistent recording of the necessary economic data by the Budapest Chamber of Commerce and Industry in order to participate more effectively at the Capital decision making.

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