How will you distinguish between chambers of commerce and trade associations?

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A trade association is a voluntary association of persons belonging to the same trade or industry. It may be organised on the basis of regions also. It is a non-profit body established to protect and promote the interests of a particular trade or industry.

Indian Jute Mills Association, Indian Sugar Mills Association, All India Food grain Dealers’ Association, Bombay Mill Owners’ Association are examples of trade associations.

Both Chambers of commerce and trade associations are voluntary and non-profit organisations of businessmen. They perform by and large similar functions. But there are following differences between them.

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1. Scope:

A trade association consists of business firms operating in the same industry, or trade. On the other hand, a chamber of commerce includes business firms operating in different fields of business activity. Thus, it is wider in scope than a trade association.

2. Nature of member-firms:

The various firms which constitute a trade association are essentially competitors. But all member-firms in a chamber of commerce are not competitors.

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3. Representation:

A chamber of commerce represents the interests of business community in general while a trade association seeks to protect and promote the interests of a particular trade or industry.

4. Structure:

A trade association contains business firms operating in different regions as it is organised on trade basis. A chamber of commerce is often organised on regional basis, and, therefore, its members are located in a particular region or country.

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5. Name:

A trade association is often known by the trade or industry it represents, e.g., Indian Sugar Mills Associations, etc. On the other hand, the name of a chamber of commerce is decided after the name of a region or community, e.g., Bengal Chamber of Commerce, Marwari Chamber of Commerce, etc.

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