The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce completed 181 years of serving the private sector and contributing to the national economy, on 25 March 2020.

Established by a five-member committee in 1839, the Ceylon Chamber is the oldest collective of trade organisations in the country, and is now the primary voice representing the private sector. Chamber members enjoy a range of benefits, including policy advocacy, access to economic updates, 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 missions, compilation of value added information packages (such as statistical data for market research, evaluation of market trends and more), speedy registration of Commercial Documents including the service through electronic means (e-Co)., and the resolution of disputes through commercial mediation and commercial arbitration. This year, the Chamber will be focusing on Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) by launching a dedicated SME Services Centre to empower and develop the sector.

Over the last few years, the Chamber has taken lead in mobilising the private sector to overcome times of difficulty — from facilitating the Chambers for Peace to prepare private sector partners for a possible role in initiating peace dialogues through the business community, by linking up with regional chambers; to initiating the Pledge for Unity following the Easter Sunday terror attacks. In light of the current events, the Chamber, along with the World Health Organisation and the Health Promotion Bureau, provided information on how the new Coronavirus affects industries and businesses; and how to get the workplace ready as prevention measures are being implemented across the country. The Chamber has also engaged with the government in providing recommendations on how to proceed with managing the spread of COVID-19. The Chamber’s alliances extend to 20 Regional Chambers, 43 Trade/Product and Service Associations, and 19 Bilateral Business Councils.

Moving forward, the Ceylon Chamber would like to assure the public that it will continue to work towards the development of the nation, and towards a safer, more prosperous future.