IHK and HWK – neutral advocates in the marketplace
Both companies and private individuals enjoy a high degree of legal security in Germany. The judiciary organs and a functioning administration guarantee the reliable protection of property rights. Germany as a business location is open to foreign investors and has only a minor shadow economy.
Both the Chambers of Commerce (IHK) and the Craftsmen's Guilds (HWK) with their branch offices in all regions guarantee the protection of the economy against any rigid attempts by the state to exert influence. In Germany, IHK membership is mandatory for all domestic companies (with the exception of the trades, freelance and agricultural professions). The trades are organized in the HWK. Companies pay a mandatory membership fee based on their economic performance capabilities. These membership fees guarantee the economic independence of the IHK and HWK from individual interests and state influence. Both see themselves as business institutions working for the economy and act as autonomous public-law corporations to represent the interests of companies and entrepreneurs vis-à-vis municipalities, state governments and regional state agencies. They perform public-law tasks and offer their members customer-oriented advice and competent mediation in all local, regional and national affairs.