A trade association, also known as an industry trade group, business association or sector association, 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 main focus is a collaboration between companies or standardization. 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 have a role in the social dialogue.