A trade association, also known as an industry trade group, business
association, sector association or industry body, is an organization
founded and funded by businesses that operate in a specific industry.
An industry trade association participates in public relations
activities such as advertising, education, political donations,
lobbying and publishing, but its focus is collaboration between
companies. Associations may offer other services, such as producing
conferences, networking or charitable events or offering classes or
educational materials. Many associations are non-profit organizations
governed by bylaws and directed by officers who are also members.
In countries with a social market economy, the role of trade
associations is often taken by employers' organizations, which also
take a role in social dialogue.
1 Political influence
3 Generic advertising
3.1 Ads to improve industry image
3.2 Ads to shape opinion on a specific issue
4.1 Anti-competitive activity
5 National and international trade associations
5.4 East Asia
5.7 United Kingdom
5.8 United States
6 Copyright trade groups
7 See also
9 Further reading
See also: Advocacy group
One of the primary purposes of trade groups, particularly in the
United States and to a similar but lesser extent elsewhere, is to
attempt to influence public policy in a direction favorable to the
group's members. It can take the form of contributions to the
campaigns of political candidates and parties through Political Action
Committees (PACs); contributions to "issue" campaigns not tied to a
candidate or party; and lobbying legislators to support or oppose
particular legislation. In addition, trade groups attempt to influence
the activities of regulatory bodies.
In the United States, direct contributions by PACs to candidates are
required to be disclosed to the
Federal Election Commission
Federal Election Commission or state
and local election overseers, are considered public information, and
have registration requirements for lobbyists. Even so, it can
sometimes be difficult to trace the funding for issue and
non-electoral campaigns.
Almost all trade associations are heavily involved in publishing
activities in print and online. The main media published by trade
associations are as follows:
Association website. The association's corporate website typically
explains the association's aims and objectives, promotes the
association's products and services, explains the benefits of
membership to prospective members, and promotes members' businesses
(for example, by means of an online listing of members and description
of their businesses).
Members newsletters or magazines. Whether produced in print or online,
association newsletters and magazines contain news about the
activities of the association, industry news and editorial features on
topical issues. Some are exclusively distributed to members, while
others are used to lobby lawmakers and regulators, and some are used
to promote members' businesses to potential new customers.
Printed membership directories and yearbooks. Larger trade
associations publish membership directories and yearbooks to promote
their association to opinion formers, lawmakers, regulators and other
stakeholders. Such publications also help to promote members'
businesses both to each other and to a wider audience. A typical
membership directory contains profiles of each association member, a
products and services guide, advertising from members, and editorial
articles about the aims, objectives and activities of the association.
The emphasis of association yearbooks on the other hand is on
editorial features about the association itself and the association's
The opportunity to be promoted in such media (whether by editorial or
advertising) is often an important reason why companies join a trade
association in the first place.
Examples of larger trade associations that publish a comprehensive
range of media include
European Wind Energy Association
European Wind Energy Association (EWEA),
Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) and the Confederation of
Industry trade groups sometimes produce advertisements, just as normal
corporations do. However, whereas typical advertisements are for a
specific corporate product, such as a specific brand of cheese or
toilet paper, industry trade groups advertisements generally are
targeted to promote the views of an entire industry.
Ads to improve industry image
These ads mention only the industry's products as a whole, painting
them in a positive light in order to have the public form positive
associations with that industry and its products. For example, in the
USA the advertising campaign "Beef. It's what's for dinner" is used by
National Cattlemen's Beef Association
National Cattlemen's Beef Association to promote a positive image
of beef in the public consciousness.
Ads to shape opinion on a specific issue
These are adverts targeted at specific issues. For example, in the USA
in the early 2000s the
Motion Picture Association of America
Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA)
began running advertisements before films that advocate against movie
piracy over the Internet.
A common criticism of trade associations is that, while they are not
per se "profit-making" organizations that claim to do valuable work
which is ultimately for the public benefit, they are in reality fronts
for price-fixing cartels and other subtle anti-competitive activities
that are not in the public interest.
Jon Leibowitz, commissioner at the
Federal Trade Commission
Federal Trade Commission in the
United States, outlined the potentially anti-competitive nature of
some trade association activity in a speech to the American Bar
Association in Washington, D.C. in March 2005 called “The Good, the
Bad and the Ugly: Trade Associations and Antitrust”. For instance,
he said, under the guise of "standard setting" trade associations
representing the established players in an industry can set rules that
make it harder for new companies to enter a market.
In September 2007, the German trade association for Fachverband
Verbindungs- und Befestigungstechnik (VBT) and five fastener companies
were fined 303 million euros by the
European Commission for operating
cartels in the markets for fasteners and attaching machines in Europe
and worldwide. In one of the cartels, the YKK Group, Coats plc, the
Prym group, the Scovill group, A. Raymond, Berning & Söhne agreed
coordinated price increases in annual price rounds with respect to
fasteners and their attaching machines, "in the framework of work
circles organised by VBT".
National and international trade associations
Master Inspector Certification Board for Certified Master Inspector
CINOA, International Confederation of Art and Antique Dealers'
Associations, principal international art and antique dealers
eCommerce World Retailers
Federation of International Trade Associations
Industrial Rope Access Trade Association (IRATA), the principal
industrial rope access trade association
Industry Technology Facilitator, an oil industry trade association
International Air Transport Association
International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI)
International Chamber of Shipping, principal trade association of the
international shipping industry
International Fluid Power Society
International Institute of
Business Analysis (IIBA)
International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA)
Hospitality Association of Namibia
Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers
Canadian Beverage Association
Canadian Federation of Independent Business
Canadian Meat Council
Canadian Nuclear Association
Utilities Technology Council of Canada
Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association
Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association
Airlines for Europe
Centre for European Policy Studies
Confederation of the Food and Drink Industries of the EU
European Regions Airline Association
European Tool Association (CEO)
European Policy Centre
Union of Industrial and Employers' Confederations of Europe
EUnited - European Engineering Industries Association
All India Biotech Association
Naroda Industries Association, Ahmedabad, India
NASSCOM, National Association of Software and Services Companies
CII, Confederation of Indian Industry
Indian Tea Association
In the UK there are thought to be more than 1600 trade
associations. The term "industry trade group" is used very little
in British English. Alternative terms used in the UK include trade
association and employer association.
Agricultural Industries Confederation
Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association (ADBA)
Association of Newspaper and Magazine Wholesalers
British Bankers Association
British Bankers Association (BBA)
Asbestos Testing and Consultancy Association (ATAC)
Association of Air Ambulances
Association of British Insurers
Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry
British Compressed Air Society
British Glass Confederation
British Hospitality Association
British Parking Association
Building Engineering Services Association
CompTIA, Computing Technology
Confederation of Forest Industries
Crop Protection Association
Electrical Contractors' Association
Hire Association Europe
International Entrepreneurs Association, UK Entrepreneurs Education
intellect, UK Technology Industry
Internet Service Providers Association
Lift and Escalator
Master Locksmiths Association
National Access and Scaffolding Confederation
Nationwide Caterers Association
National Federation of Builders
National Federation of Demolition Contractors
National Outsourcing Association
Oil & Gas UK
Orthodontic Technicians Association
Electrical Contractors' Association of Scotland)
Walpole British Luxury
UK Cleaning Products
Main article: List of industry trade groups in the United States
Chamber of commerce
Chamber of commerce and Big Business
There are over 7,600 national trade associations in the United States,
with a large number (approximately 2,000) headquartered in the
Washington, DC area. There are also many trade associations at the
state and local levels.
One of the oldest trade associations in the United States is the
American Seed Trade Association (ASTA), founded in 1883.
Copyright trade groups
IFPI, International Federation of Phonogram and Videogram Producers,
represents the recording industry worldwide, with over 1450 members in
75 countries and affiliated industry associations in 48 countries. The
IFPI works in partnership with similar national organizations.
Industry Association of America (RIAA) represents the
recording industry in the United States.
ASINCOL, the Colombian Association of Phonograph Producers, Colombian
music industry association.
Music Canada, formerly known as the Canadian Recording Industry
Association is the non-profit trade organization representing the
largest Canadian companies that create, manufacture and market sound
Industry Association of New Zealand (RIANZ), non-profit
trade association of producers and artists in New Zealand.
Mexican Association of Producers of Phonograms and Videograms
Motion Picture Association of America
Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) represents the film
industry in the United States.
The Association of Japanese Animations (AJA), a group consisting of
small to medium-sized intellectual property companies
Business Software Alliance (BSA) promotes the intellectual property of
Entertainment Software Association
Entertainment Software Association (ESA) promotes the intellectual
property of game developers in the United States.
Industry (BPI), UK music industry association.
Founded the BRIT Awards, and give Gold, Silver and Platinum disks for
Federation Against Copyright Theft
Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) is the main UK
anti-copyright infringement organization, mainly for films.
Industry Association (ARIA), oversees the
collection, administration and distribution of music licenses and
royalties in Australia.
Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers
Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ)
Russian Organization for Multimedia and Digital Systems (ROMS)
organization on collective management of rights of authors and other
rightholders in multimedia, digital networks and visual arts
Anti Video Piracy Association of Singapore (AVPAS) for anime.
GEMA society for musical performing and mechanical reproduction rights
China Council for the Promotion of International Trade
^ Leibowitz, Jon (March 30, 2005). "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly:
Trade Associations and
Antitrust (remarks to American Bar Association
Antitrust Spring Meeting, Washington, DC)" (PDF). Federal Trade
Commission. Retrieved 2012-06-03.
^ "Antitrust: Commission fines members of fasteners cartels over
€303 million" (Press release). Europa.eu. Retrieved
^ Boléat, Mark (2003). Managing Trade Associations (PDF). Trade
Association Forum. ISBN 1-85580-034-9. Retrieved
^ National Trade and Professional Associations (2008), 43rd ed.,
^ "First-the Seed". The American Seed Trade Association. Retrieved
June 13, 2009.
Garrelts, Frank: Märkte im Umbruch - Kooperationen als Chance im
Handel (Markets on the move - trade associations as a business
opportunity), München: Beck 1998, ISBN 3-406-43993-4
abstract in English available here 
May, Clifford D. (August 3, 1988). "Washington Talk: Associations;
Possum to Phlebotomy, They're All Spoken For". New York Times.
Retrieved June 3, 2012.
Chamber of commerce
List of food industry trade associations
List of industry trade groups in the United States
Chaebol (South Korea)
Bamboo network (Greater China and Southeast Asia)
Real Estate Hegemony (Hong Kong)