History in a nutshell
The establishment of chambers of commerce and industry was provided by a Royal Patent of Franz Josef I Austrian Emperor and Hungarian King dated March 18, 1850. The first Hungarian Chamber Act promulgated in 1868 and remaining in force until 1934 imposed compulsory membership for all traders, craftsmen, and trading and industrial companies in Hungary.
After the Second World War, a government decree abolished the chambers of commerce and industry without legal successors. All their assets were transferred to the Treasury. In 1948, the Hungarian Chamber of Commerce, a body closely aligned to the State, was established. Renamed the Hungarian Chamber of Economy in 1985, it was charged with the task of reconciling and representing the interests of Hungarian economic operators, and it also had to perform the classical functions of a chamber.
From 1990 regional chambers could be established and, in 1991, six regional chambers began to operate as independent legal entities. Companies and entrepreneurs automatically became members of the regional chambers, while the Hungarian Chamber of Economy continued its activity as an “umbrella-organisation”, incorporating and co-ordinating the activities of regional chambers on national and international level.
Act XVI of 1994 on the Chambers of Economy provided for the re-introduction of the chambers as bodies of public law. The Act stated that the chambers were to be responsible for fostering the development and organisation of the economy, for encouraging business growth, guaranteeing fair market practices, and assisting the general and joint promotion of interests amongst those conducting business activities.
On the basis of the new Chamber Act adopted by Parliament in 1999, the Government abolished compulsory chamber membership as of November 2000. At the extraordinary chamber election taking place on October 30, 2000, Dr. László Parragh, the CEO of Parragh Rt. was elected President, a post he has been holding ever since.
In addition to its traditional tasks, SME promotion and fostering capital exports have also become focal objectives for the Chamber.
At international level, the Chamber's main objectives include assistance to Hungarian entrepreneurs in foreign markets and exploring new partnership opportunities, in particular with neighbouring countries. The Chamber’s membership to the Eurochamber and the ICC in 1990 opened new ways for an intensive lobbying activity.