The local Chambers of Industry and Commerce (IHK - Industrie- und Handelskammern) are the mandatory professional organizations for retail and wholesales businesses. Besides representing their members' interests and offering individual support, they supervise the qualifications of entrepreneurs and operators. More information on mandatory professional organizations in Germany is available in our section on business registration.
The German Retail Federation (HDE - Hauptverband des Deutschen Einzelhandels) is the umbrella organization of the German retail sector, which consists of about 410,000 independent companies. It represents the needs and interests of the whole retail sector. HDE supports individual companies in all professional subject matters and is in turn supported by regional and sectoral member organizations.
The Federation of German Wholesale and Foreign Trade (BGA - Bundesverband Großhandel, Einzelhandel, Dienstleistungen e.V.) is the leading organization for the wholesale, foreign trade and business services sector in the Federal Republic of Germany.
The German E-Commerce and Distance Selling Trade Association (BVH - Bundesverband des Deutschen Versandhandels) represents the legal and economic interests of its members, provides information and advisory services, and promotes the constructive dialogue amongst its members. Currently it has around 300 members - large and small distance selling companies which utilize the sales channels catalogue, internet, direct sales and TV.