Creation of SAARC Chamber of Commerce & Industry:
Established in 1985, SAARC had hitherto avoided including core economic issues in its programme, but in the wake of the desire for a SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the SAARC Secretariat commissioned a study on Trade, Manufactures and Services in 1988. The study was completed in 1991 and strongly supported to establish a SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry to bring about improvement in the business environment disseminate information about potential tradable goods and identify joint ventures in the SAARC region.

Pursuant to the directive of the SAARC Secretariat, SAARC Chamber of Commerce & Industry, assisted by the National Federations, submitted its draft constitution to the SAARC Secretariat and received its approval in December 1992. This signified the official recognition of the SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SAARC CCI) by all the national governments of SAARC as the apex body of all the National Federations of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of SAARC as follows:

  • Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce & Industry( ACCI)
  • Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FBCCI)
  • Bhutan Chamber of Commerce & Industry (BCCI)
  • Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI)
  • Maldives National Chamber of Commerce & Industry (MNCCI)
  • Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FNCCI)
  • Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FPCCI)
  • Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka (FCCISL)

Presently all National Chambers/ Federations of the respective member countries serve as focal points to facilitate the SAARC CCI Secretariat in Islamabad.

Management & Operations:
In October 1993, Mr. S.M Inam from Pakistan was elected as the first President of the SCCI (1994 to 1995). In Feb 1994, SCCI was formally inaugurated in Dhaka by the then Prime Minister of Bangladesh. The presidency of SCCI rotates alphabetically amongst member organizations. Since its establishment, the Presidency of SAARC CCI has been enjoyed by all seven founder members. In the first rotation of presidency Mr. Salman F Rahman of Bangladesh (1996 to 1997), Mr. Kantikumar R Podar of India (1998 to 1999), Mr. Qasim Ibrahim of Maldives(2000 to 2001), Mr. Padma Jyoti of Nepal (2002 to 2003), Mr. Macky Hashim from Sri Lanka (2004 to 2005)  and Dasho Ugen Tshechup Dorji (2006 to 2007) from Bhutan have served the organization.

After completion of first rotation, Mr. Tariq Sayeed from Pakistan took over presidency (2008 to 2009) followed by Mr. Annisul Huq from Bangladesh, (2010 to 2011) and Mr. Vikramjit Singh Sahney from India (2012 to 2013). Mr. Ismail Asif from Maldives(2014) while Mr. Suraj Vaidya is the current President from Nepal.

The SAARC Chamber shall comprise the following organs:

a. The General Assembly (also to be known as GA)
b. The Executive Committee (also to be known as EC)
c. The General Secretariat

The objectives of the "SAARC Chamber" are:

  • To encourage Trade, Service, Industry, Small & Medium Enterprise, Agriculture, Intra-Regional through creating strong business linkages amongst the entrepreneurs of the region of South Asia
  • To make recommendations to safeguard the economic and business interests of the SAARC
  • To serve as a consultative body of the Private Sector of the region to provide input/ feed back on regional economic issues
  • To encourage Member Countries to accord preferential terms of trade to each other and finally strive towards the gradual realization of the SAARC Economic and Monetary Union.
  • To promote the exchange of commercial, technical, industrial management and scientific information, education and know-how amongst its members
  • To collate, collect and disseminate statistical data and joint research and development among the SAARC Member Countries.

Focused Areas:

The thrust areas for the SAARC CCI can be divided in to five major areas:

  • Awareness building on key economic issues i.e. trade facilitation, NTBs, TBTs, Harmonization of Customs Procedures, intra-regional investment and such others pertaining to promote economic cooperation at the regional level
  • Develop global linkages as a part of its outreach strategy
  • Provide services to its members and representatives of the private sector
  • Work closely with governments, NGOs, CSOs to raise the concern on socio-economic issues
  • Develop an institutional framework for supporting economic cooperation
It was the prospect of being left behind in the global economic arena that initially brought the representatives of national Federations of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of the SAARC countries together at the second meeting of chambers of Commerce & Industry of the developing countries (G-77) in New Delhi in December 1988. A memorandum of understanding was signed among these representatives expressing their intention and desire to establish the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of SAARC countries for the promotion of trade and industry in the SAARC region and to develop and achieve common objectives in these areas. The memorandum of understanding was the precursor to the current SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Recognition as an apex body of SAARC CCI:
In recognition of the SAARC CCI’s efforts and achievements, the SAARC secretariat, in April 2000, extended its recognition of the SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry as the apex chamber of the region for another period of 15 years, instead of a procedure to review this recognition after a period of every 2 years.

The president of the SAARC CCI is now a permanent invitee to the Committee on Economic Cooperation (CEC) of SAARC to give a presentation of the private sector's view points to the commerce secretaries of the seven nations of SAARC.
Headquarters of SAARC CCI:
The constitution of SAARC CCI designates Pakistan as the Permanent Secretariat of SAARC with a Secretary General to be the Chief Executive Officer of the Secretariat. Soon after the formation of SAARC CCI Headquarters was set up in the premises of FPCCI in Karachi and later on in December 1997 was shifted to Islamabad.
The membership of SAARC CCCI is as follows:

  • Constitute Bodies- all Federations/National CCI
  • Executive Committee Members
  • Life Members- Individuals
  • Associate members- leading chambers / Association other than National CCI
  • Annual Members
  1. Corporate members
  2. Individuals
SAARC CCI offers following services:

  • Liaison with parent body to exchange views on the areas of activities
  • Dissemination of data/information amongst members on socio-economic issues
  • To create awareness amongst the stakeholders about economic issues in the region
  • To voice concerns of the Private Sector of the region at relevant platforms
  • To provide input /feedback of the Private Sector on economic and trade related issues to SAARC Secretariat for policy formulation etc.

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