Trade associations at work
A Trade Association Forum case study

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Page 1: Introduction

Trade Association Forum 7 Image 1This case study covers the role played by Trade Associations in the UK economy. It draws on examples from four contrasting industrial and service sectors: travel, financial services, electrical contracting and road haulage.

The economy is made up of business sectors, each of which contr-ibutes to consumer welfare. For example, we all benefit from having goods delivered efficiently to our local supermarket (road haulage), being able to open and use a savings account (financial services), having electrical wiring installed safely in any place we live, work or visit (electrical contracting), and being able to make travel arrangements through travel agents (travel).

The role of Trade Associations

Trade Associations:

  • promote the interests of their members
  • create conditions in which the sector can prosper
  • work together for the general good.

They do this by:

  • providing a forum for discussion. This enables member companies to exchange views and identify issues of common concern within the sector
  • representing their members. This includes lobbying Government departments and politicians, media and public relations activity, and distributing information
  • providing services to members. These include supplying current industrial data, business support services and sector specific training courses.

Trade Association Forum 7 Image 3Trade Associations are funded mainly by their members, most of whom are individual companies and businesses who choose to join – normally there is no compulsion. They are not-for-profit organisations. Each Trade Association is governed by an elected Board or Council comprising trusted and respected leading members from within the sector.

Trade Associations provide a focal point for their sectors and carry out activities which would be difficult or impossible for any single company, no matter how large, to undertake alone. In addition, they provide a means by which companies that are normally in competition with each other can work together for the general good.

Trade Association Forum | Trade associations at work