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The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce was established on 25 March, 1839. Between 1834 and 1837 a few Chambers of Commerce had already been established in the region in -  Bengal (1834), Bombay and Madras (1836) in India, Canton in China (1834), Penang in Malaysia (1837) and in Singapore (1837). At the time, Ceylon was under the British rule as were India, Singapore, Malaysia and a part of China. This group of Asian Chambers are known to have been among the earliest to be set up anywhere in the world.

In The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce 1839 – 2004 a Historical Review, after referring to the factors that led to the formation of the Chambers in South Asia, South East Asia and East Asia, it is stated that the decisive nudge to establish a Chamber of Commerce in Ceylon came from Governor Stewart Mackenzie who was keenly interested in promoting Agriculture and Trade

On February 28, 1939 five prominent businessmen met at the Corner House on Prince’s Street and formed themselves into a Committee to work on the formulation of the Chamber. A general meeting of members of the mercantile community was then held on 25 March, 1939 at the Corner house on Prince Street in Fort. The meeting adopted The Rules and Regulations of the Chamber of Commerce of Ceylon which had been drawn up by the five member committee.

The Rules and Regulations comprised Nineteen clauses which provided for the Objects of the Chamber, membership, Voting, Entrance and membership fees, election of Chairman and Committee of management, the functioning of the Committee, General meetings, appointment of Treasurer and Secretary and submission of an Annual Report.

The membership at the time of its establishment comprised Fourteen (14) individual members and twelve (12)  Firms.

The Chamber acquired legal status upon the enactment of the Chamber of Commerce Ordinance, No. 10 of 1895 (hereinafter referred to as “the Ordinance”). The imperative to acquire legal status at the time, was primarily for the purpose of acquiring a property of its own.

In 1896, the construction of a building for the Chamber commenced on a 40 perch block of land on Lower Chatham Street, in Fort which was then the commercial hub of the country. The construction was completed in 1898 and the Tea auctions began to be conducted in the Sale Room of the new building in the same year.

The Ceylon Chamber has since developed, retaining its status as a private entity with no government funding. It derives its income from membership and services.


A glimpse of our Milestones


The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce was established on 25 March, 1839.

First chamber building

The official letter informing the British Colonial authorities of the formation and objectives of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce

First Day Cover - 150 Years of service

Special Commemorative Cover and Stamp - 175 Years of service