Governor Stewart Mackenzie, initiated the establishing of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce on 25 March 1839, for the purpose of best promoting the interests of commerce. It was among the first group of chambers established in Asia at the time. Governor Mackenzie who was deeply interested in promoting Agriculture and Trade adopted the rules and regulations to establish the Chamber with a membership of fourteen individual members and twelve firms. During this first hundred years, the Chamber took a principal interest in the sale of tea and rubber. At the time, nearly all local trading of produce was governed by the founding rules of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.
Over the past 182 years, the Ceylon Chamber has responded to the needs of the business community that has experienced an evolving landscape from a focus on a few traditional commodities’ trade, to a widely diversified commercial business arena shaped by new consumer needs, export diversification, deeper engagement with countries across the world, fueled by technology and the advent of the digital economy.
The Chamber stands ready to leverage opportunities and adapt to challenges in its path. Whenever the need arose, the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce has intervened in matters of national importance and provided leadership to gather a collective voice with other Chambers to engage with Government. The founding goal of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce remains relevant to this day—a powerful voice that speaks on behalf of the interests of Sri Lanka’s mercantile community while respecting national interest as its foremost priority.
The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce looks to continue in its quest, carrying forward the wisdom of two centuries, while staying relevant to its fast evolving membership, remaining to be Sri Lanka’s most powerful voice in business. CCC which plays a catalytic role in the development of the business sector, identifies key issues to assist in the development of strategic plans to meet new challenges and opportunities. With the close rapport maintained with the Government sector, the CCC continued to strengthen its role as a channel between the Government and the Private sector.
CCC, being the first Chamber to be established in Sri Lanka, is the prime mover of the Chamber movement in Sri Lanka. It was also the first Chamber to be represented in the Senate and House of Representatives in the days of Ceylon and the first to be accepted as an affiliate member of Confederation of Asia Pacific Chambers of Commerce & Industry (CACCI) in 1983.
Manjula De Silva CEO/ Secretary General of CCC stated “The Chamber has over the years continued to provide its unwavering support to the business community in Sri Lanka. We are humbled to have longstanding members who have been with us for a considerable period of time and our growing membership is a statement of our continued efforts. CCC has been a pillar of strength to the private sector during many challenging times and it is striving to extend its unwavering support to uplift the economy. We are poised with a strategic outlook in terms of boosting SMEs, startups, bilateral trade and investment.”
Chamber members enjoy a range of benefits, including; Facilitation of business contacts, Promotion of business interests to markets as relevant through trade enquiries, Promotion and easy access to markets through regular inward and outward business promotion activities, Compilation of value added information packages (statistical data for market research, evaluation of market trends etc.), Speedy registration of Commercial Documents including the service through electronic means (e-Co), Resolution of disputes through commercial mediation and commercial arbitration.