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Chambers of Commerce
A chamber of commerce (also referred to in some circles as a board of trade) is a form of business network. Business owners in towns and cities form these local societies to pursue their own interests. Local businesses are members, and they elect an executive council to run the chamber.
Chambers of commerce serve the following purposes:
- Promotion of trade in their own towns or cities.
- Obtaining and supporting municipal regulations in interest of business in their regions.
- Settlement of disputes between members by means of arbitration.
- Collection of information and statistics which may be of use to their members.
- Recording of a blacklist for members' reference.
- Prevention of unnecessary competition by establishing uniform hours, wages and prices.
- Advocating for business friendly policies at the state, local, federal, and international levels.
The first chambers of commerce were founded in 1599 in continental Europe (Marseille, France and Brugge, Belgium). The world's oldest English-speaking chamber of commerce is that of Glasgow, Scotland, that was established in 1783.