The first French Chamber of Commerce in Philippines was created on 14 July 1919, recognized by the local authorities on 26 July of the same year. It operated from the premises of the French Consulate, then situated at Pilar St in Manila.
With the help of the French Embassy, a telegram sent on 29 October 1919 by the Vice Consul in Manila to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Paris requesting recognition of the new Chamber, was found in the archives of the Quai d’Orsay. The Chamber had a membership of 6 French companies.
The Chamber disappeared during the Second World War.
Its rebirth in 1948-1949 was spurred by W.A. Miailhe, who had set up his company, AMIBU, and by Mr. Deleplanque, representative of Société Générale. It had 30 members when it organized, in 1964, the first French Exhibition in Manila, at the ground floor of the PhilamLife Building along the United Nations Avenue.
1968 saw the creation of the France Philippines Industrial Corporation (FPIC), a 60% Filipino and 40% French consortium. In 1973, another Franco-Philippine company, COFRAPHIL was established. Both disappeared in 1976.
The « renaissance » in 1988
As its name indicates, Le Club French Chamber of Commerce started as a social group composed of four members. That was in 1988. Today, there are 135 members from some hundred different companies - which is rather a big leap in a span of 20 years.
The founders, Philippe GAUTHIER (Euroasia and Asiatype), Jean-Michel GIOVANNETI (Crédit Lyonnais), and Hugues de TISSOT (Rhone Poulenc), felt the need to meet regularly, the political and economic environment at the time being particularly difficult. Jean-François BONNET (Agence France Presse), had been at hand to provide information. This small group was joined in by Louis Paul HEUSSAFF (Supply Oilfield Services) and Vincent RUAIS (Air France). Many others must have shared this feeling because the number of people who started attending the monthly lunch meetings rapidly increased in the months that followed.
All of them were convinced that they could benefit from this informal friendly gathering organized to revolve around a theme of special interest. These meetings were primarily devoted to two fundamental functions of the Club: listening to the experiences of others, on one hand, and exchange of information, on the other. From this informal gathering of friends, Le Club was born. As the business environment of the Philippines became more promising, the growth of Le Club continued.
From the Frenchmen’s Club to Le Club FBA to Le Club FCC
The 20-year journey of Le Club FCC made several stops at two name changes. In 2002, the original Le Club des Hommes d’Affaires Français and Francophones (French and French-speaking businessmen) formally became Le Club French Business Association. While it retained its convivial character, it also took on the responsibilities of a business association for both French and non-French businessmen and women. As a non-profit organization, Le Club FBA tasked itself with the promotion of French business in the Philippines and likewise, the Philippines in France.
The transformation to Le Club French Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines was voted in 2004, and as in the past, is steered by an Executive Committee elected for a two-year period. The change of name retains and enhances a principle of openness that disregards exclusivity to French and French speakers and thus, Le Club FCC opens its arms to any businessman or woman in the country.
Its officers and members participate in every effort that will contribute in projecting a better image of the Philippines to the world, and by the same token, in developing their enterprises.
With this objective in mind and within the framework of promoting the image of in the Philippines, Le Club FCC has affiliated with the Union of French Chambers of Commerce and Industry Abroad (UCCIFE) in 1997. As a UCCIFE member, Le Club FCC members have access to a network of 114 partner chambers present in 78 countries.