HISTORY OF THE CHAMBER
By: Sir Keith Morris (Founder & B&CCC Director)
“The British & Colombian Chamber of Commerce (B & CCC) was legally incorporated on 20 December 1996. Its origins lay in the visit that the then British Prime Minister Mr (now Sir) John Major paid to Colombia in June 1992. President Gaviria and Mr Major decided to give a high priority to Anglo-Colombian economic relations by opening negotiations for an Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (IPPA) and Double Taxation Agreement, both firsts for Colombia. An Anglo-Colombian Trade Facilitation Group (TFG) was also agreed with the aim of studying both the opportunities for and obstacles to increased trade and investment.
The TFG met first in London in September 1992 in the presence of Dr Juan Manuel Santos, then Minister of Foreign Trade. It submitted its report to both governments in the summer of 1993. It was then decided that the two committees in Bogotá and London, which formed the TFG, would remain in being to follow up the implementation of the report’s recommendations. The British committee decided in early 1995 that a body was needed that could actively promote trade and investment and not just make recommendations to governments or industry. A sub-committee was therefore set up in May 1995 to try to establish a chamber of commerce. To ensure its viability a decision was taken only to go ahead if ten companies were each prepared to sponsor the chamber for three years at £3,000 a year. In the event twelve companies, six Colombian and six British, agreed to become founding sponsor members, allowing the Chamber to be registered on 20 December 1996. The B&CCC then received launch aid of US$20,000 from Proexport Colombia.
The B&CCC held its inaugural meeting at Chatham House in February 1997. The guest speaker was Dr. Maria Emma Mejia, the then Colombian Foreign Minister. During the same visit Dr. Mejia opened the chamber’s office in Canning House.”
Since then the chamber has been working actively in the promotion of trade & investment opportunities and closer business ties between Colombia and the United Kingdom, throughout a series of activities, projects and events
as well as by providing services and facilities
for all type of companies and individuals interested in the bilateral relation.
To be part of this group of companies and contribute to developing the UK & Colombian relationship further, please click here.