AHKs have existed for more than 100 years. The first AHK was established as far back as 1894 in Belgium. Further AHKs were set up as the German economy and the global business relations developed during the last century.
Beyond the boundaries of changing history, the AHKs have always fulfilled their role in successfully representing, promoting and developing the interests of German business at the same time as the respective bilateral economic interests.
These days there are AHKs in 90 countries with 130 locations worldwide. There is an AHK in all countries of particular interest to German business.
Forms of Organizations
Bilateral Chambers of Industry and Commerce
Bilateral Chambers are facilities in other countries funded by companies with their registered headquarters either in the host country or in Germany.
Delegations and Representations of German Industry and Commerce
Delegations and Representations as a rule are the stage prior to a bilateral Chamber. They can be found in countries where it is not (yet) possible to set up a bilateral Chamber according to the German understanding of an autonomous body or where they are busy preparing the establishment of such a bilateral chamber.
1- AHKs as official representation of German industry and commerce
The AHKs are the most important partners abroad of the Federal German Ministry for Economics and Technology in terms of promotion of German business in other countries. Together with Germany’s missions abroad (i.e. embassies and consulates) the AHKs officially represent the interests of Germany’s industry and commerce in respect of political and administration authorities in their host countries.
This function obliges the AHKs to neutrality and objectivity.
2- AHKs as member organizations
The AHKs have 44,000 member companies all over the world. These both German and local companies put a lot of effort in intensifying and improving the whole spectrum of foreign business relations, specifically those between Germany and the respective host country.
3- AHKs as service providers to companies
AHKs support the market interests of German companies in the host country. At the same time they provide services to local companies which are involved in bilateral business. They are increasingly active in the marketing of Germany as a business location for interested companies in the host country.
Under the service brand “DEinternational” the AHKs provide services which are globally harmonized and special services according to special requirements of the very location.