In 1999, under the leadership of Alain Audouard, President of the Chamber of Craft of Lyon-Rhône, international cooperation was developed to transfer the quality and values of French crafts abroad.
With the idea of universal human development at the heart of our concerns.
In the mid-1950s, in the craft industry as elsewhere, the wounds left by World War II were still alive. The twinning, carried out in 1956 thanks to the decisive support of the International Liaison and Documentation Office (in French BILD – bureau international de liaison et de documentation), the Chambers of Craft of Lyon and Cologne, is all the more beautiful. An initiative that has long been unique in France!
Why Lyon and Cologne? Various points bring them together: a long and striking Roman presence in each of the two cities, rivers that meander through the city, the presence of a local tutelary figure, of a politician of national stature: Édouard Herriot and Konrad Adenauer, first Federal Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) from 1949 to 1963, and considered the “father” of contemporary Germany.
Above all, it takes the will of a few men to attempt this rapprochement, in the name of a community of the same professions united within the same type of Chamber to forge contacts, to make them fruitful and to maintain them over the years. Extensive program. In the end, it was the Lyonnais who took the initiative for the rapprochement by organizing, in October 1956, the very first trip of a delegation from the CMA du Rhône to Cologne. A visit made possible in particular thanks to the support of the union of metalworkers. The following year, the Kölners (inhabitants of Cologne) returned the favor to their Lyon counterparts.
This approach was quickly duplicated: several dozen twinnings were thus recorded from 1962 (a year before the famous Elysée Treaty signed between General De Gaulle and Chancellor Adenauer), national triennial meetings between German and French rooms.
Since 1956 therefore, the two Chambers of Crafts of Cologne and Lyon have organized an apprenticeship stay in their region every year, during which these young people make a stint in a company, which corresponds to the jobs they are learning. Some even carry out a prolonged professional stay that “symmetrical” exhibitions make it possible to promote: from 1965 in Cologne and two years later in Lyon. The elected representatives of the two Chambers meet every two years to compare their experiences, discuss their respective developments and discuss the future. These contacts have forged an international fiber at the CMA du Rhône, which is initiated into the issues and potential of European programs. Thus, it was thanks to its twin, who had preceded it in this direction, that the chamber of Lyon embarked on European programs, such as Leonardo, which in turn involves its counterpart. Let us quote the projects:
From the end of the 1980s, new partnerships were formed: with the Chamber of Craft of Diourbel in Senegal in 1987-1988 (as part of a technical and commercial support initiated by the APCM) , with the Budapest Chamber of Crafts in 1999. Commercial exchanges with Warsaw are also undertaken.
In 1999, decentralized cooperation took place with the Region of Rabat Salé Kénitra with the professional training of Moroccan craftsmen, the training of executives of the Regional Chamber of Crafts and executives of the Regional Council of Rabat Salé Kénitra, strategic support Chambers of Crafts of the region of Rabat Salé Kénitra then of the Regional Chamber of Crafts of Rabat Salé Kénitra.
These discussions outside the borders are intensifying: development of training actions (supported by European funding) and economic activities with a view to opening up other outlets for Rhone craftspeople, the CMA du Rhône is going international.
The notion of consular companionship also appears, the CMA cooperates with increasingly distant and diverse sites: Lebanon (2007), Egypt (2009), Senegal (2010), Burkina Faso (2012), Congo (2013), Mali ( 2014), Guinea (2015), Côte d’Ivoire (2017).
Better, driven by the ambition to help its nationals to conquer new markets, the Chamber ensures the experimental participation of groups of craftsmen at the Spring Fair in Birmingham as well as at the Spring Fair in Geneva.
When it comes to exports, everything remains to be done; we have to organize ourselves. The creation of a national support structure, the FONDEXPA (Foundation for the development of exports in crafts) – a craftsman from Lyon won the national grand prize in 1995 – constitutes the first stage of the rocket. There will be others; a twinning with a academic dipoloma in international trade from 1988, specialist advice hotlines which, in 1989, will precede the assignment of an agent in this area from 1991, with the establishment of a file of craftsmen exporters, etc.
For the transition to the euro, the Chamber of Craft got organized to offer an awareness, information and training program. The Tuesdays of Europe from 1991, the integration in 1993 into the Euro Info Center Network, the creation of the International Department in 2008, the GO EXPORT training.
The CMA Lyon-Rhône became CMA Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes on January 1, 2021, and the story continues with a range of services that has grown considerably in recent years. Today, there are around ten European cooperation and mobility initiatives for business leaders, succeeding to the ones that have been organized in recent years: