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The ABA and BADA say they are “establishing a joint task force to work towards closer cooperation”.

The first meeting is expected to take place “within a matter of weeks”.

“Our collaboration with ADA can only enhance both associations,” said ABA president Michael Graves-Johnston. “I believe we will mutually benefit from each other’s knowledge and acumen, to promote and maintain our very highest standards.”

The aim of the agreement is “to help support both membership groups and establish a broader cooperation between the two industry-leading associations”.

Specific measures required to achieve this have yet to be decided but are expected to include closer access to each other’s annual fairs, cooperation on seminars and workshops as well as joint promotional activity.

“No plans to Merge”

However, Angus O’Neill, ABA vice-president, told ATG that there are “absolutely no plans” for a merger between the two organisations.

He added: “Our members are under a lot of pressures at the moment, from market forces to ill-considered legislation, such as changes in income tax reporting. BADA have an impressive team and we share so many values that it makes perfect sense to work together”.

“I am very happy to be working with an association that shares our values of expertise, excellence experience and ethical trading,” said BADA chairman Michael Cohen. “I look forward to a new era of cooperation that will enhance the benefits of both memberships.”