- representing to government and other public bodies the interests of members on legislation, regulations, taxation and policy matters likely to affect them
- promoting and protecting the interests of members in the media
- collecting and disseminating aggregated and historic statistics and industry information,
- collecting and disseminating information about legislation and Government policy
- providing a range of services of an advisory or consultancy nature on, for example, legal, accounting, training or environmental matters
- providing advice of a more commercial nature
- promulgating voluntary standards, codes of practice or standard terms and conditions of sale (OECD, 2007)*
Trade associations and chambers of commerce in the Commonwealth
Trade associations also known as business networks, industry trade bodies and chambers of commerce, play important roles as collectives, networks and advocates for the promotion of the private sector as a whole in Commonwealth countries. Whereas trade unions represent employees, trade associations represent employers.
Most member states of the Commonwealth have one leading trade association – often a national chamber of commerce or a confederation of industries – which represents the overall interests of the private sector and additionally numerous other organisations representing prominent sectors of the economy such as mining (for example the Chambers of Mines in Ghana and Namibia), agriculture (Manitoba Corn Growers Association in Canada), manufacturing (Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association), tourism (Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association) and financial services (Pakistan Banks’ Association). The highest concentration of such organisations in the Commonwealth can be found in larger economies such as the UK, Canada and Australia where there is an association for almost every sector of the economy, big and small.
Activities of industry trade bodies and chambers of commerce
Activities of a successful trade association include:
*Potential Pro-Competitive and Anti-Competitive Aspects of Trade/Business Associations, at http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/40/28/41646059.pdf accessed 2011