Singapore International Chamber of Commerce



Founded in 1837, the Singapore International Chamber of Commerce (SICC) was originally established to defend the interests of Singapore businesses against an unsupportive East India Company administration.1 Today, the SICC has evolved into a multinational organisation, with a 500-strong membership (as of 2016)2 and a diverse range of activities that help support the lifeblood of Singapore's commerce. It is the oldest chamber of commerce in Asia, and the oldest commercial organisation in Singapore.3

During its long and eventful history, the SICC has been a vigorous participant in the commercial life of Singapore, and the affairs of the business community. Its activities range from liaising between the business sector and the Singapore government, to the provision of arbitration services, legislation, trade and investment counselling, and the certification of shipping documents. Its acceptance by the Singapore government for representing the country’s multinational investment interests means that the government regularly consults the Chamber in key areas, especially those with a bearing on the interests of the private sector. It also has many members on numerous government advisory committees and statutory boards. Its Board of Directors regularly comprises leading and influential persons in the business community.4

The SICC is unique in the local context: membership is open to all companies and individuals who have business interests in Singapore, regardless of race or nationality. As such, SICC’s membership encompasses business units from large multinational corporations operating in Singapore, to small, locally owned business enterprises. As of 2016, there are currently 500 members from various nationalities represented in SICC's membership, with Singapore American, Japanese and British companies forming the larger representation.5 Traditionally, British companies formed the largest membership group, but since October 1985, Singaporean firms have outnumbered them.6

All of Singapore’s government-linked companies (GLCs) are members of the SICC, joining the Chamber during the 1990s. These include the Development Bank of Singapore, PSA Corporation, Keppel Corporation, Singapore Power, Singapore Telecommunications, Singapore Airlines, Temasek Holdings, and Singapore Technologies.7

The SICC has always provided a respective and effective voice for the business community in Singapore. Up until the end of the 19th century, it was a voice of the “unofficial” opposition to the government. After the World War II had ended, the SICC has taken a more conciliatory and cooperative approach towards the government.8 Now the SICC constantly monitors and speaks up on issues or developments of concern for its members. Diverse issues that affect the private sector are regularly raised for clarification and possible remedial action by the authorities. In this way, the SICC continues its role of the “watchdog” role as well as a catalyst for the improvement of business enterprise in Singapore.9



Author

Daniel Goh Toh Hooi



References
1. MacLean, R. (2000). A pattern of change: The Singapore International Chamber of Commerce from 1837. Singapore: Singapore International Chamber of Commerce. p. 2. (Call no.: RSING q380.10605957 MAC)
2. Singapore International Chamber of Commerce. (2016). Member search. Retrieved 2016 July 26 from Singapore International Chamber of Commerce website: https://www.sicc.com.sg/SICC/Membership/Members_Directory/SICC/Membership/SICC_Member_Search.aspx
3. Singapore International Chamber of Commerce. (2016). SICC past. Retrieved 2016 Jul 26 from Singapore International Chamber of Commerce website: https://www.sicc.com.sg/SICC/About_Us/Who_are_we/SICC_Past/SICC/AboutUs/SICC%20Past.aspx? (Call no.: RSING 380.10605957 MAC)
4. MacLean, R. (2000). A pattern of change: The Singapore International Chamber of Commerce from 1837. Singapore: Singapore International Chamber of Commerce. pp.181–182. (Call no.: RSING q380.10605957 MAC)
5. Singapore International Chamber of Commerce. (2016). Member search. Retrieved 2016 July 26 from Singapore International Chamber of Commerce website: https://www.sicc.com.sg/SICC/Membership/Members_Directory/SICC/Membership/SICC_Member_Search.aspx
6. MacLean, R. (2000). A pattern of change: The Singapore International Chamber of Commerce from 1837. Singapore: Singapore International Chamber of Commerce. p. 179. (Call no.: RSING q380.10605957 MAC)
7. MacLean, R. (2000). A pattern of change: The Singapore International Chamber of Commerce from 1837. Singapore: Singapore International Chamber of Commerce. p. 179. (Call no.: RSING q380.10605957 MAC)
8. MacLean, R. (2000). A pattern of change: The Singapore International Chamber of Commerce from 1837. Singapore: Singapore International Chamber of Commerce. pp. 118–119. (Call no.: RSING q380.10605957 MAC)
9. MacLean, R. (2000). A pattern of change: The Singapore International Chamber of Commerce from 1837. Singapore: Singapore International Chamber of Commerce. p. 196. (Call no.: RSING q380.10605957 MAC)



The information in this article is valid as at 2016 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

 

Subject
Politics and Government
Associations, institutions, etc.--Singapore
Boards of trade--Singapore
Commercial associations--Singapore
Business, finance and industry>>Business organization
Trade and industry
Commerce and Industry
Law and government>>Trade (Commerce)