The Spanish Chamber of Commerce, (Cámara Oficial Española de Comercio Industria y Navegación en Filipinas, Inc.) was established on July 16, 1899 shortly after the American occupation of Manila. As one of the pioneers of commercial chambers established in the Philippines, the objectives of La Cámara are to expand business opportunities to its members and to perpetuate the centuries old commercial/economic bond between the Philippines and Spain.
La Cámara is a member-based organization that draws its members from the Philippines. Its current membership consists of various companies and individuals who are interested in Philippine-Spanish Businesses and the extension of Spanish Trade to the Philippines.
La Cámara has an extensive network of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce all over the world, which gives the opportunity for its members to expand their businesses locally and internationally. The Spanish Chamber works hand in hand with the Commercial Office of the Embassy of Spain, which also provides commercial information and trade offers that are vital to La Cámara members in increasing Philippine-Spanish trade and investment. The Chamber regularly conducts activities such as trade fair exhibitions, fellowship lunches, product exhibition which members could actually participate in. It also renders the following services to its members: Annual Directory, Market Intelligence, Trade Fair and Product Exhibits, Data Bank, Monthly Newsletter, Certificate of Origin, Information Services and Identification of Commercial and Financial Associates.
La Cámara is an organization that focuses not only on fostering and promoting Bilateral Trade between the Philippines and Spain, but also on helping and participating in the development of the Philippines.
The Cámara Oficial Española de Comercio, Industria y Navegacion aims to promote, develop, protect and defend at its highest level, trade relations between Spain and the Philippines in accordance with the laws of the Philippines and the business interests of its members.
To be able to carry out the objectives of the Cámara by means of the organization of activities that will help promote Spanish Products to the Philippine Market, establishment of information services and assistance that would be of help to the Spanish companies wishing to engage in business.
The Spanish Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines was established on July 16, 1899, shortly after the American occupation of Manila. At that time, there was a substantial Spanish community in the country, which actively participated in industry, trade and commerce.
World War II dealt a very hard blow to the Spanish community in the Philippines. Many Spaniards were killed during the war, particularly during the liberation of Manila and most of their business establishments and personal properties were destroyed. As there were no damage claims paid to Spanish citizens (although Japan eventually agreed to pay some compensation to Spaniards killed during the war), Spanish businessmen, particularly the smallest ones, found it difficult to rebuild after the war. In 1946, the Spanish government offered to repatriate all Spanish citizens wishing to return to Spain, many took advantage of this offer, thus reducing the Spanish community to a fraction of what it had been before the war.
The activities of the Spanish Chamber were able to continue with the help of the few remaining Spanish companies in the Philippines, principally Compañía General de Tabacos de Filipinas (Tabacalera) and its subsidiaries, Roxas y Cía, with its subsidiary, Central Azucarera de Don Pedro, as well as, Filipino companies of Spanish origin such as San Miguel Corporation, Elizalde & Co., Inc. and others.
The early post war years were difficult for trade between Spain and the Philippines. However, Spain continued to be a very important market for tobacco and other Philippine agricultural products while imports from Spain were limited mostly to wines and canned food items.
Aware of the importance of improving trade relations worldwide, the Spanish Government started to subsidize the activities of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce in many countries to allow these to expand their scope of work. Today, “La Cámara” is an organization focused in the promotion of the trade between Spain and the Philippines and to help and participate in the development of the Philippines.