Chamber Management Workshop

Anhui Chamber Administrators Discuss Management Strategies

Group PhotoAbout 40 general secretaries and chiefs of administration of the prefecture and county chambers in Anhui Province met on December 10 and 11, 2007 in Hefei for a workshop on management and services of chambers of commerce. President Li Weihua welcomed all participants and the German experts Dr. Ralf Meier and Helmut Schoenleber of SEQUA, who reported on international best practice in chamber management and work quality standards. All modules of the training program were provided to the Chinese partners. GTZ and SEQUA supported the event within the Sino-German SME Promotion Program.

Workshop for New Chamber Vice Presidents

Anhui Leadership Training

Workshop SessionThe Anhui General Chamber of Commerce (AHGCC) organized the first training workshop for entrepreneurs who were recently elected vice-presidents of all prefectural chambers in the province. The workshop took place on November 23 and 24, 2007 in Hefei, the provincial capital, with 70 participants. Anhui Chamber President Li Weihua and Vice Presidents Cao Jianhua, Yan Anyun and Wu Chenggui held keynote speeches during the workshop. Experts Helmut Schoenleber and Zeng Fanyin explained the principles and guidelines of chamber work and leadership in their presentations.

Afghanistan CRC Chairman Laid to Rest

Business Community Mourns For Arif Zarif

Arif Zarif
Arif Zarif

One of the most prominent representatives of the Afghanistan business community was among over 70 people killed in a bomb attack in Baghlan on November 6, 2007. Hajji Muhamad Arif Zarif, Chairman of the Afghanistan Chamber Reform Commission and Member of the National Parliament, was laid to rest in a state ceremony on November 9 in Kabul. Arif Zarif was also Chairman of the parliamentary Economics Committee and owner of several private enterprises. Six of ten members of the Economics Committee were killed in the attack.

The Chamber Reform Commission (CRC), the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), the Afghanistan International Chamber of Commerce (AICC), the Chamber Merger Committee (CMC), and domestic as well as international business membership organizations grieve the loss of an outstanding personality who was strongly yet patiently engaged in uniting and developing the private sector of his country. Arif Zarif devoted much of his time and energy to promote an integrated and independent chamber system for Afghanistan, and he gave his life in a mission to increase public awareness of private sector development projects. All who are left behind are committed to double efforts in achieving his goals and following his visions.

Peace be to his departed spirit!

Lao Chambers’ Development Strategy

LNCCI to Improve Capacity

In session

The Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LNCCI) hosted a top-level meeting of the executive committee and provincial chambers, as well as other business associations, on November 2, 2007 in Vientiane. The president of the LNCCI, Kissana Vongsay, said the executive committee discussed plans to improve capacity building of the chamber for the year 2008, to ensure that the entrepreneurs groups and associations benefited as much as possible. He said government officials should work to improve the business environment for entrepreneurs, and help resolve government – related problems of business owners, to ensure that the private sector can help the country’s economic progress. Strengthening the business community in Laos will be the key issue of LNCCI in the year 2008, who is committed to take leadership in business and employers representation.

Participants Group Picture
Participants Group Picture

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry will also play a part in increasing local incomes, as part of the national socio-economic development process. New entrepreneurs will have the chance to learn more about how to improve their businesses and to ensure they can export their products to international markets, on the same level as experienced entrepreneurs. To implement the new plans, the executive committee will ensure that the national chamber is enshrined in law, rather than being the subject of a Prime Minister Decree. Since 1989, when the Lao National Chamber was established, the number of members has been increasing to 1075, including 25 business associations and 9 provincial chambers. Still it needs to improve services to the members, such as business information, and to attract new members in all business sectors in Laos.

At the closing ceremony, Minister of Industry and Commerce Dr. Nam Viyaket, provided comments on the government’s point of view on the promotion of the business community’s development. According to Viyaket, the government fully supports the movement of the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry as the leader of the business community in Laos. The event was supported by UNIDO and UNDP who were represented by Dr. Kheungkham Keonuchan and Stephane Vigie.

Workshop on CCI Legal Services

China’s New Labor Law and the Law on Arbitration

Workshop SessionAnhui General Chamber of Commerce (AHGCC) organized a workshop with private entrepreneurs to exchange information and opinions on the new Labor Contract Law and the Arbitration Law of China. Nearly 100 entrepreneurs attended the workshop in Hefei on October 29 and 30, 2007. The German development cooperation agencies GTZ and SEQUA supported the event within the Sino-German SME Promotion Program.

Opening SpeechesChamber President Prof. Li Weihua pointed out the impact on labor cost in China that is expected from the new Labor Contract Law, which will come into effect on January 1, 2008. The labor law expert of Anhui University, Dr. Li Kungang provided details on the requirements of the new law and compared it with similar laws of Germany, Japan, France, and the USA. The Secretary General of the Hefei Arbitration Commission, Li Jiale held a presentation on the Arbitration Law and its implementation in Anhui province. Experts and participants discussed the implications of both laws in small groups.

CCI Organizational Structure

First Workshop with New Chamber Leaders

The entire newly elected leadership of Anhui General Chamber of Commerce (AHGCC) actively participated in a workshop on the organizational structure of chambers of commerce which was carried out in the city of Ningguo from October 25 to 27, 2007 with 68 participants from all over the province. GTZ and SEQUA supported the event. Li Weihua, new president of the provincial chamber, explained in his opening speech the organizational and political milestones the new presidium intends to discuss with the prefectural and county chambers as well as the governments on all levels. According to Li, a suitable legal framework needs to be created for the work of the chambers.

Opening Speeches
Opening Speeches

First Vice President Cao Jianhua and Vice President Yan Anyun pointed out the growing acknowledgement of the importance of chambers of commerce in representing private sector interests. This role had just been reconfirmed by the recent party congress in Beijing. To master the new tasks, the Anhui Chamber wants to adjust organizational and process structures according to international standards and scientific methods.


Merger of Afghanistan Chambers of Commerce

Private Sector to Speak With One Voice

A joint committee of the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) and the Afghanistan International Chamber of Commerce (AICC) has, in a Kabul meeting on October 7, 2007, paved way for a merger between the two organizations to form a new, stronger, and united national chamber of commerce to represent the entire private sector of the country. Their elected top leaders, President Dr. Ghulam Mohammad Yaylaqi of ACCI and Chairman Azarakhsh Hafizi of AICC, signed a joint declaration on the merger at the meeting.


Minister of Commerce and Industry Dr. Amin Farhang expressed his full support and his appreciation of a united voice for the private sector. “This will significantly speed up the economic progress of our country and reduce confusion among private entrepreneurs and traders”, he said at a press conference. “A modern, member-oriented chamber can play an important role in services for the enterprises and influence political decision-making. Of course, it also makes our life in the government easier, if we only need to talk to one partner who represents the balanced interest of the private sector.” According to Farhang, a new, liberal chamber law can now be ratified much faster than without the merger.

Two main sponsors of economic development in Afghanistan, USAID and GTZ, support the concept of the merger of the two chambers. They were represented by the Director of the Office Economic Growth, USAID, Donnie Harrington, and the Acting Head of Sustainable Economic Development Program (NaWi) of GTZ, Shafic Gawhari. More than 70 national and international journalists, leading representatives of both chambers, private entrepreneurs, politicians, and members of the international community in Kabul observed the event.

The Chairman of the recently established Chamber Merger Committee, Mahmood Karzai, brother of Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai, declared that the CMC will work towards ensuring that the combined chamber introduces best practices such as a democratic election process, by-laws giving power to the members, external auditor to audit accounts, and a democratic and accountable board.

He also provided further details on the decisions of the meeting. “We expect the first session of the founding assembly for the new chamber to take place as soon as November 24th. During that session, we want private sector representatives of all regions and sectors to discuss and adopt our new by-laws and to elect the new leadership. The new chamber can then start full operations before the end of the year.” Karzai had just been elected Chairman of the Committee on October 4th, with Khan Jan Alokozai and Azarakhsh Hafizi as Vice Chairmen and Mohammad Haqjo as Head of Secretariat.

Responding to a question of the Ariana TV correspondent, Chamber Reform Commission Chairman Arif Zarif explained that the restructuring of the chamber’s full-time staff organization will be a major task of the new CMC. “A socially acceptable solution for the reduction of employees must be found,” said Zarif who is also Chairman of the Economics Committee of the National Assembly, Afghanistan’s parliament.

Joint Declaration on Merger

With the objective to establish a strong and united business membership organization representing the entire private sector of Afghanistan, and to build a platform for the self-administration of the business community of Afghanistan, the leading elected organs of the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) and the Afghanistan International Chamber of Commerce (AICC) have, after careful consideration and friendly negotiations and in close consultations with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, decided to merge both organizations into one national Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Afghanistan.

Under guidance of the Chamber Reform Commission (CRC), ACCI and AICC have established a Chamber Merger Committee (CMC) to prepare and implement the merger process. The CMC is composed of seven leading representatives of ACCI, seven leading representatives of AICC, and one impartial Head of Secretariat.

The CMC has unanimously elected Mr. Mahmood Karzai as its Chairman, Mr. Khan Jan Alokozai and Mr. Azarakhsh Hafizi as its Vice Chairmen, and Mr. Mohammad Haqjo as its Head of Secretariat.

Kabul, October 7, 2007

Dr. Ghulam Mohammad Yaylaqi
President of ACCI

Azarakhsh Hafizi
Chairman of AICC


Dr. Amin Farhang
Minister of Commerce and Industry

Arif Zarif
Chairman of CRC

Press Release in PDF Format

Press Conference
Press Conference

Chamber Best-Practice Mission to Europe

New CCI Leadership Joins Entrepreneurs’ Delegation

Discussion at SEQUA headquarters
Discussion at SEQUA headquarters

The newly elected leaders of chambers of commerce and industry (CCI) in the Chinese province of Anhui had the opportunity to better understand the daily work of their colleagues in Germany, Austria, Belgium, and France during a fact-finding mission from September 16 to 26, 2007. SEQUA gGmbH organized the mission within the Sino-German SME Project. A number of member entrepreneurs of the Chinese chambers accompanied the elected and full-time leaders.

At Darmstadt CCI, Martin Proba, Sonja Müller and Jens-Uwe Lalk informed the group about CCI sector development policies, using the Automotive Cluster Rhein-Main-Neckar as an example, and about CCI international work, using the China Competence Center of Darmstadt and Frankfurt CCI as the other example.

The group travelled to Bonn on the same day, to learn about chamber models world wide and about the structure and work of the leading German business membership organizations. Dr. Ralf Meier of SEQUA gGmbH presented this introduction. SEQUA shareholders are the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the Association of German Chambers of Skilled Crafts, the Federation of German Industry, and the Federation of German Employers Associations. SEQUA implements projects to support capacity building in business membership organizations (BMO) in numerous developing countries.

In Bruxelles, General Manager Wouter Van Gulck of the Belgium Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry presented the structure of his chambers. Different from their neighboring countries, Belgian CCI are based on voluntary membership. Van Gulck also provided the opportunity of discussions with representatives of the Bruxelles City Chamber and the Belgian-Chinese Chamber of Commerce. His Chinese guests were surprised to find the economic clout of regional root chambers such as Bruxelles and East Flanders stronger than the national “headquarters”.

Georges Fischer, CCIP
Georges Fischer, CCIP

Following a briefing on the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris by Hélène Kolmodin, Georges Fischer introduced both the World Chambers Federation, and the work, structures and strategies of the Paris City CCI. He also explained the latest developments of a virtual chamber: “CCIP in a de-materialized world”. Delegation leader Yan Anyun found similarities between French and Chinese CCI, both closely linked with the state organs.

Back in Germany, the group visited the largest CCI in number of members, the Munich and Upper Bavaria IHK. Johannes Huber and Christine von Nell provided insights to typical chamber tasks and how to achieve them. They showed examples on the chamber’s facilitating of members’ business contacts with companies abroad – including in China. Huber handed a CD-ROM with an enterprise database “Key Technologies in Bavaria” to each visitor, and encouraged the entrepreneurs from Anhui to take initiative contacting them.

Wirtschaftskammer Tirol PresentationThe mission was completed with an outline of the Austrian chamber structure, provided by Gregor Leitner of the Wirtschaftskammer Tirol in Innsbruck. He explained the organization and legal framework of his CCI as well as some differences to the German CCI: (1) in Austria, “Economic Chambers” include industry, commerce, and skilled crafts; (2) they represent employers’ interests in negotiations with the labor unions on tariff contracts.

The project is preparing a follow-up symposium on CCI management and structure for the new generation of leaders in Anhui, scheduled for December 10 and 11, 2007, in Hefei. Topics will include practical management tools, time management, media relations, quality management, team leadership, and more. Two Anhui workshops on building sectoral chambers and chamber legal services are scheduled in October, 2007.

Statistics: A Key Task of Chambers

Provincial Meeting on Chambers’ Statistics Work

Anhui General Chamber of Commerce organized a workshop with regional chamber statistics specialists on August 15 and 16, 2007 in the provincial capital of Hefei. Chamber president Wang Heling, who is also Vice-Chairman of the Anhui People’s Political Consultative Conference, opened the event on Wednesday, stressing the importance of statistics as one of the core tasks of chamber work. He asked the 46 participants to increase efficiency and reliability in their work by using more consistent and scientific methods.

Dr. Yan Chen
Dr. Yan Chen

Dr. Yan Chen, leader of the Anhui Provincial Economic Commission, held a keynote speech on the latest developments of the private sector in Anhui and its role in the new industrialization strategy of the provincial government. Section leader Gao Bozhou of the Anhui Provincial Statistics Office explained the calculation of private sector data within the GDP, pointed out some definition traps, and gave hints on how to avoid them. Project expert Helmut Schoenleber encouraged the participants to complete and update their membership database as a main source of statistical data about the private sector. The workshop aimed at improving the statistical work of prefectural and county chambers, and was supported by SEQUA and GTZ within the German-Chinese SME Promotion Program.

IT Workshop in Anhui

Chambers’ Web Services for SMEs

IT and website development specialists of the prefecture and county chambers in the Chinese province of Anhui met for a two-day workshop on strategies to improve online services for small and medium-sized enterprises and on the organization of chambers’ IT work in general. The workshop on August 13 and 14, 2007 in the city of Chaohu was organized by the Anhui General Chamber of Commerce with support of SEQUA and GTZ.

Strategies of IT development being discussed.
Strategies of IT development being discussed.

The IT expert of the national chamber ACFIC, Li Shanhai, presented the latest plans and procedural recommendations from Beijing. Internet services of the provincial chamber and plans for their improvement were presented by Zhang Zhihui, head of the IT department. Wang Wei, technical manager of Anhui Anlian Science & Technology Co., Ltd. explained the development of the web-based economy in Anhui province, and project expert Helmut Schönleber informed the 45 participants about organization and quality standards of chamber IT work in Germany as well as international models of BMO support services provided by leading chambers for their institutional member chambers in the regions.

Vocational Education and Capacity Building for the Sustainable Development of Business Communities