A short history of the Chamber of Economy of FBiH

Bosnia and Herzegovina has a long-standing tradition of trade and business associations. Through history, it has followed a path similar to those of most European countries. In the form of public legal associations, the first chambers of commerce appeared in Bosnia and Herzegovina over 100 years ago.

Modeled after Austrian legislation, the Chamber of Commerce and Trades was established in Sarajevo in 1909. Following this, chambers of commerce and industry were formed in Sarajevo in 1925 and Banja Luka in 1928. After the adoption of the Law on Craft Workshops in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, two chambers of crafts were founded in 1931 in Sarajevo and Banja Luka respectively. These chambers held annual congresses to discuss common interests of the business community. In 1949, after World War II, cantonal craft chambers and craft chambers of the federal republics of the former Yugoslavia were formed, while in 1953 the cantons and republics established chambers for the following industrial branches: commerce, hospitality, crafts, agriculture, forestry, and transport.

In 1962, pursuant to the Law on Unified Chambers of Commerce in the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Chamber of Commerce of Bosnia and Herzegovina was formed in Sarajevo, as were the regional chambers of commerce of Sarajevo, Bihac, Banja Luka, Doboj, Mostar, Tuzla, and Zenica. All subsequent amendments to regulations on chambers of commerce in Bosnia and Herzegovina maintained the unified general chamber model.

Following the signing of the Dayton Peace Agreement on November 21, 1995, which ended the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the chamber system in BiH needed to be adapted to the new state set-up of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In 1998 and 1999, cantonal chambers were formed in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, either through the transformation of existing regional chambers or the formation of new chambers, where necessary.

On November 16, 1999 in Sarajevo, the First Constituent Assembly of the Chamber of Economy of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina was held and this institution was established. All chambers of commerce in FBiH are legal entities and have a wide range of competences in representing and promoting the economy of their regions.