To promote business interests, a group of Spanish businessmen formed the Camara de Commercio de Filipinas on April 19, 1886. The three largest Spanish companies in Manila--- La Compania General de Tabacos de Filipinas, La Fabrica de Cerveza de San Miguel, and Elizalde y Cia – founded the Camara primarily to “settle petty disputes between merchants.” Not many accounts on the member companies of the Camara were available, except that their businesses range from manufacturing tobacco, sugar, liquor, and rope, among other ventures.
During the turn of the century, the popularity of La Camara began to wane and a new organization the Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (CCP) led by Filipino and Chinese mestizo businessmen was formed on July 19, 1903 which included: Don Ricardo Aguado, Don Tomas Arguelles, Don Ariston Bautista, Don Telesforo Chuidian, Don Manuel Cuyugan, Don Rafael del Pan, Don Pedro de Roxas, Don Vicente Fernandez, Don Bernardino Hernandez, Don Luis Hidalgo, Don Faustino Lichauco, Don Mariano Limjap, Don Francisco Reyes, Din Rafael Reyes, Don Juan Rodriguez, Don Rogaciano Rodriguez, Don Vicente Samoza, Don Ramon Soriano, Don Tomas Sunico, Don Ignacio Syyap, Don Miguel de Velasco, and Don Teodoro Yangco.
In 1948 Hilarion Henares, Sr., and 20 local industrialists and entrepreneurs estabished the Small Industries and Machine Shop Owners of the Philippines (SIMSOP). With Henares as SIMSOP president, which by then was composed of 200 members, held its first national convention on March 4, 1950, with the theme “Intensified Manufacturing and Solid Support for Basic Philippine Industries.” It was during this convention that Gonzalo Puyat, the “Dean of Filipino Industirlaists,” urged the SIMSOP to change its name to Camara de Industria de Filipinas or the Philippine Chamber of Industries (PCI). SIMSOP now became known as PCI. Advocated for Philippine- made products through educational campaigns aimed at altering the centuries-old colonial mentality, and eventually fostered the interest of Filipinos to become manufacturers and entrepreneurs ready to take risks by investing huge capital in new industries.
As both the CCP and the PCI became strong forces in the business sector, and their functions and projects overlapped, top officials of both organizations began to entertain the idea of a merger. After the two groups approved of the unification, 15 charter members from the PCI and CCP were elected to formulate the constitution and by-laws of the newly established the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI). From the PCI elected were Teofilo Reyes, Jr., Boncan, Jose Policarpio, Remedios Fournier, David SyCip, Mariano del Rosario, Ireneo Obligacion III, Victor Lim, Augusto Espiritu, Jose Marcelo Sr., Hilarion Henares Jr., Ricardo Guevarra, Edgardo Villavicencio, Cesar Sison, and Felix Maramba. From the side of the CCP, charter members Emilio Abello, Sixto Roxas, Roeto Benedicto, Ernest Khan, Ceferino Follosco, Vic Barrios, Roberto Ongpin, Manuel Lim, Sr., Jose Madrigal, Pio Pedrosa Sr., and Leonardo Ty.
On July 1, 1978, the PCCI was officially established. Its initial funding came from the individual contributions of Charter members, together with some funds from the defunct PCI matched by a counterpart contribution from the CCP.
When the PCCI was registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission, seven PCI directors and eight from the CCP were its incorporators. The PCI representatives were Petronilo Guevarra, Dante Santos, Rosalinda Antiporda, Raoul Inocentes, Francisco Floro, Mario Alinea, and Antonio Chuidian. The CCP, on the other hand, had Elizalde, Periquet Jr., Jose Barredo, Jose de Leon, Charito Planas, Jose Luis Yulo, Jr., Vicente Angliongto, and Eduardo Escobar.
During the 4th Philippine Business Conference, the Palace issued Letter of Instruction No. 780 designating the PCCI as “single voice of Philippine business.”