A Lifetime of Chamber Leadership
Fransabank Group
Lebanese Economic Organization
Trade, Business, and Investments
Minister of Economy and Trade
Minister of State 2009-2011
ICC print

ICC is the world business organization, the only representative body that speaks with authority on behalf of enterprises from all sectors in every part of the world.

ICC promotes an open international trade and investment system and the market economy. Its conviction that trade is a powerful force for peace and prosperity dates from the organization's origins early in the century. The small group of far-sighted business leaders who founded ICC called themselves " the merchants of peace".

Because its member companies and associations are themselves engaged in international business, ICC has unrivalled authority in making rules that govern the conduct of business across borders. Although these rules are voluntary, they are observed in countless thousands of transactions every day and have become part of the fabric of international trade.

ICC also provides essential services, foremost among them the ICC International Court of Arbitration, the world's leading arbitral institution.

Within a year of the creation of the United Nations, ICC was granted consultative status at the highest level with the UN and its specialized agents.

ICC was founded in 1919. Today it groups thousands of member companies and associations from over 130 countries.

History with ICC
Mr. Adnan Kassar, ICC President, 1999-2000

Mr. Adnan Kassar, started his history with the ICC in 1973, when he established the Lebanese National Committee of the ICC and became its President. He retained this position until 2005.

Since 1973, Mr. Kassar has actively participated in all ICC conferences and seminars at the head of leading Lebanese business delegations.

The culmination of Mr. Kassar's long involvement with ICC came with his election to the ICC Vice-Presidency position for 1997 and 1998 and then to the ICC Presidency position for 1999 and 2000.

Mr. Adnan Kassar, ICC President, 1999-2000

As ICC President from 1999 to 2000, Mr. KASSAR worked for closer integration of developing countries in the global economy. He built stronger ICC links to various regions including China and East Asia, the countries of Eastern Europe, and the Arab and African countries.

The President increased ICC's regional activities and one of his activities as President of ICC was a tour of leading Latin American countries, culminating in a regional ICC conference in Mexico City in May 1999. He made it his business to pay personal visits to as many countries as possible, including those where ICC does not yet have national committees. During 1999, he met heads of state or government in Russia, Cuba, Germany, Tararstan, Austria, Jordan, India and Saudi Arabia. He extended ICC membership throughout the world through the addition of new national committees.

President KASSAR headed ICC delegations in 1999 and 2000 for meetings with the UN, the G7, the WTO and the World Bank. He succeeded in advancing ICC's ties with these organizations with the aim of promoting ICC's objectives. Through these relations, he put forward the case for globalization as well as the need to assist the developing countries to develop and increase their fundamental strengths, to enable them to benefit from the opportunities presented in globalization. In ICC's cooperation with the UN, ICC is presenting the business's response to the UN's challenge: "The Global Compact" to world business to embrace and enact universally agreed values and principles.

With the purpose of further promoting ICC's ideals and bringing awareness to ICC's policies and objectives, President KASSAR chaired various conferences and congresses in various parts of the world. President KASSAR also presided over the Millenium Congress of ICC in Budapest.

Mr. Kassar's efforts at the head of the ICC have been successful in expanding the presence of the ICC in several countries worldwide.

During his two year Presidency term, ICC added Bahrain, Ghana, Czech Republic, Poland, Thailand, ICC Caribbean Group, a restructured ICC Pakistan, Russia, Algeria, Tanzania, Slovakia, Cuba and a revived ICC Senegal, Nepal, Monaco, Qatar and the ICC now has the UAE on the way.

The President's Statement

Paris 1, January - The incoming President of the International Chamber of Commerce, the world business organization, today called on governments to resist protectionist pressures generated by the current harsh economic climate in many parts of the world.

In a statement on assuming ICC presidency, Mr. Adnan KASSAR, a prominent Lebanese banker, said protectionism was one of the biggest dangers facing the world economy in 1999. "The lesson of history is that such tendencies must not only be resisted but that when they appear governments should strive with renewed vigour to open markets and further strengthen the rules-based multilateral trading system".

Mr. KASSAR Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Fransabank Group, said liberalization of international trade and investment was the surest way to secure economic growth, more jobs and prosperity for all nations. Further progress in freeing up markets would create business confidence. "Such a policy will go a long way towards restoring growth and stability".

Mr. KASSAR said one of the main objectives of this two-year presidency would be to mobilize the worlwide influence of ICC to ensure that developing countries are not left on the margins of the global economy.

The new President has been an active member of ICC since the early 1970s and is a leading figure in the chamber of commerce movement in the Arab world. He is Chairman of the General Union of Chambers of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture for the Arab Countries, and President of ICC's national committee in Lebanon.

ICC - Lebanon

Historical Background

The International Chamber of Commerce is the world business organization. It is the only representative body that speaks with authority on behalf of enterprises from all sectors in every part of the world. Founded in 1919 by a handful of far-sighted business leaders, it groups today thousands of member companies and associations of every size from over 130 countries worldwide.

The ICC's purpose is to promote an open international trade and investment system and the market economy worldwide. Business leaders and experts drawn from the ICC membership, and whose knowledge and skills are an outstanding asset, establish the business stance on broad issues of trade and investment policy as well as on vital technical or sectoral subjects.

The ICC-Lebanon was founded in 1973 and it currently groups around 138 major companies and corporations of all size and from all sectors of the economy. Of these members, 15 are collective members (Chambers, Associations, Syndicates), and 123 individual members ranging from banks, and financial institutions, to trade, industrial, and agricultural firms. ICC-Lebanon main objective is to represent the chief economic interests of Lebanon and Lebanese business parties to the ICC and the world business community. Similarly, it is directly responsible for informing its members of ICC activities and work.

For a detailed and comprehensive look at the Lebanese Chamber of Commerce, please refer to the Chamber's Local Web page.

Professional Background

Adnan KASSAR along with a group of pioneering and Lebanese farsighted figures including Michel Doumit, Assaad Sawaya, Jamal Karahani, and Victor Kassir founded ICC-Lebanon in 1973. They were determined to open new horizons for the local business society by creating a Lebanese national Committee for the International Chamber of Commerce, integrating Lebanon into the international business society.

Trips 1999

Moscow Trip
(February 07-10 1999)

President KASSAR's first official visit as President of ICC was to Russia to help it restore confidence in its investment environment. During this visit, he established ties with leading representatives from both the public and private sectors, including Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov. With this trip he laid the grounds for the establishment of ICC Russia.

Hungary - Budapest Trip(February - 09 March 1999)

In March of 1999, he traveled to Budapest to meet with key officials including Prime Minister Victor Orban to prepare for ICC's 33 World Congress, the first ICC World Congress to he held in Eastern Europe.

Argentina Trip(May 25 - 01 1999)

In May of 1999, he met with President of Argentina, Mr. Carlos Menem during his tour to Latin America. He also met with the leaders of ICC Argentina, and various chambers of commerce with the aim of promoting ICC's work among the Argentinean business community and to invite ICC Argentina to develop and increase its participation in ICC's activities.

Mexico Trip (May 02 - 05 1999)

After Argentina, Mr. Kassar traveled to Mexico where he co-chaired with President Zedillo of Mexico the ICC Latin American regional meeting.

Cuba Trip (May 05 - 08 1999)

This Latin American tour also took him to Havana where he met with President of Cuba, Commander in Chief Fidel Castro to discuss an ICC presence in Cuba and the hosting of the next ICC Latin American Regional Meeting in the year 2000 in Havana. With this visit commenced the establishment of ICC Cuba.

Germany - Bonn Trip(May 20 1999)

Later that month, Mr. Kassar led an ICC delegation in a meeting with Federal Chancellor Gerhard Schroder of Germany as head of the G7/8 summit in Cologne. The press statement released by the G7/8 after their summit reflected a large majority of the statement, which the ICC handed to the G7/8.

Switzerland - Geneva Trip(May 26 1999)

Also in May, Mr. Kassar led another ICC delegation to Geneva to meet with the Ambassadors to the WTO ahead of their round of WTO trade talks in Seattle.

France - Paris Trip (Gala Dinner) (June 17 - 21 1999)

In June 1999, and back in ICC headquarters in Paris, Mr. Kassar celebrated with the ICC the inauguration of its new conference facilities and the completely renovated upper floors of its new premises. Mr. Kassar's attachment to the ICC urged him to finance a section of the new ICC premises now called "Espace Kassar".

France - Paris Trip (World Bank) (June 21 1999)

Also in June and again at ICC headquarters, ICC President Adnan Kassar and World Bank President James Wolfensohn, along with representatives of both organizations, signed, for the first time, a memorandum of understanding between ICC and the World Bank.

Switzerland - Geneva Trip (Kofi Anan Meeting) (July 05 1999)

Then in July 1999, President Kassar led an ICC delegation in a meeting with Secretary General Kofi Annan and UN representatives in response to the UN's Global Compact challenge to World Business.

Tatarstan Trip(Sep 07 - 10 1999)

On the 10th of September 1999, Mr. Kassar visited Tatarstan, the first visit to that country by an ICC President, in response to Mr Shaimiev's - President of Tatastan's invitation.

France - Marseille Trip ( Premiere World Chambers Congress) (Sep 30 - Oct 1 1999)

Later in September, Mr. Kassar chaired the first ever World Chambers Congress, organized by IBCC in Marseille, France. 254 Chambers from over 91 countries, attended this congress. ICC will now hold the next World Chambers Congress in Seoul Korea in June 2001.

Austria Trip (Oct 27 - 28 1999)

In October 1999, Mr. Kassar was received by President Klestil of Austria for talks on the activities of the world business organization and its efforts to promote international trade and investment. Also while in Vienna he attended various meetings including the annual meeting of ICC Austria, one of the oldest of ICC's national committees.

France - Paris Trip (ICC 80th Anniversary Celebration) (Nov 08 1999)

On the 8th of November 1999, Mr. Kassar hosted the ICC 80th anniversary celebration in Paris.

France - Cannes Trip (JCI World Congress)
(Nov 11 1999)

Then Mr. Kassar traveled to Cannes, to attend the 54th World Congress of the Junior Chamber International, where he called for closer relations between JCI and ICC in order to join their efforts and cooperate on meeting the challenges that business will face in the next millennium.

Jordan-Amman Trip (ICC Arab Regional Meeting) (Nov 17 - 18 1999)

Also in November, Mr. Kassar opened the Second Conference of Arab Forum of ICC National Committees in Amman, Jordan.

India - New Delhi Trip (Annual General Meeting)(Dec 9 - 10 1999)

The last of Mr. Kassar's trips in 1999 was to New Delhi, India where he addressed a large business audience on the "WTO in the New Millennium". Following this meeting he inaugurated the 69th Annual General meeting of ICC India.

Trips 2000

USA - New York Trip (Kofi Anan Meeting)
(Jan 26 2000)

The year 2000 began with a trip to New York for another meeting with the Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr. Kofi Annan, on the 26th of January. Mr. Kassar delivered an ICC statement for inclusion in Mr. Annan's report to the UN Millennium Assembly.

Saudi Arabia Trip (ICC Official visit)
(Feb 25 - Mar 02 2000)

At the end of February, beginning of March 2000, Mr. Kassar headed an ICC Delegation in the first official ICC delegation visit to Saudi Arabia. The ICC Delegation met with various high-level public and private sector personalities with the purpose of promoting ICC's objectives and activities in that country.

Turkey Trip (Official ICC Visit)(Apr 10 - 12 2000)

Then in April 2000, Mr. Kassar was the guest of honour at ICC Turkey's annual gala dinner, also attended by ICC former President, Mr. Rahmi Koc, and ICC Secretary General, Mrs. Maria Livanos Cattaui. The trip included meetings with then President Demirel of Turkey.

Hungary Trip (Official High Level Arab business delegation)(Mar 27- 30 2000)

In May 2000, Mr. Kassar traveled again to Budapest to chair ICC's 33rd World Congress which was attended by over 1000 business leaders. It was the first time that four Prime Ministers took part in an ICC Congress.

Geneva Trip (Crans Montana Award Ceremony) (June 2000)

At the end of June 2000, Mr. Kassar was awarded the prestigious Crans Montana Foundation Prize. The award was made at the annual high-level forum of world economic and political leaders. The citation described Mr Kassar as "an exceptional international personality who has won distinction for his past and current actions in favour of peace and international cooperation."

Tokyo Trip (July 2000)

In July 2000, Mr Kassar headed another delegation to Tokyo to hand the ICC statement to Prime Minister of Japan, Mr Mori, in Tokyo, as host of the Okinawa summit of the G8.

ICC Lebanon Trip (September 2000)

Then in September 2000 Mr. Kassar hosted the Executive Board session in Lebanon. This ICC visit to Lebanon included trips to various tourist sites as well as meetings with the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister and the President of the Parliament of Lebanon. The ICC visit was concluded with a gala dinner at the prestigious Phoenicia Intercontinental hotel.

Lebanon (Award Ceremony)(October 2000)

On the 12th of October 2000, Mr. Kassar was again rewarded for his efforts as a leading Lebanese and international personality. He received, in Beirut, the Officier de la Legion d'Honneur from the French Ambassador in Lebanon.

Cuba Trip (October 2000)

Then on the 19th of October, Mr. Kassar chaired the ICC Latin American Regional Meeting in Havana, the first of its kind to ever be held in Cuba. Over 100 Latin American and international business leaders from over 17 countries attended the meeting, which was inaugurated by the Vice President of Cuba, Mr. Carlos Lage Davila.

Cairo Trip (November 2000)

In early November, Mr. Kassar chaired the Third ICC Arab Regional Meeting in Cairo, which was inaugurated by the Prime Minister of Egypt, Dr. Atef Obeid. A Forum of Arab National Committees of the ICC was signed by the heads of the Arab National Committees.

Nigeria Trip (November 2000)

Also in November, Mr. Kassar traveled to Nigeria to chair the first ICC African Regional meeting in Abuja. The President of Nigeria, Chief Obasanjo, met with a large ICC delegation and welcomed ICC's expertise and wealth of experience to assist the Nigerian private sector in its contribution to the Nigerian economy.

Syria Trip (November 2000)

The last of Mr. Kassar's official visits as ICC President took place on the 4th of December 2000, in Damascus, Syria where he led an ICC delegation for a meeting with the President of Syria, Dr. Bashar Al Assad.

31 May 2018