The Trade Federation was a powerfull mega corporation of commerce. It was one of the founders of the Confederacy of Independent Systems. It was led by Nute Gunray. Originally as its name suggest the Trade Federation was created to assist and advance economic logistical issues. Over many years the Trade Federation became wealthy coming to control both private armies an entier solar systems. The leadership was a panel of several races until Nute Gunray and his Nemoidians who excecuted a finincial coup that left them in charge.
The Trade Federation was powerfull enough to have a personal seat in the Galactic Republic's Senate. Their Senator was Lott Dod, one of Viceroy Gunray's underlings, that during the Clone War assured the Senate that the Federation was neutral and that those like Sib Canay are Separatist extremist and do not represent the Federation's actions. The Federation had made several types of vehicles from STAPs to Armored Assault Tanks, from droid dropships to Lucrehulk-class Droid Control Ships.
During the opening of the war, the Trade Federation secretly pledged it's support to the Confederacy of Independent Systems while Nute Gunray and Lott Dod officialy declared the Federation as neutral and denied any connection to the Confederacy. Lott Dod was involved at once in some plans surrounding the droid foundries on Geonosis and the battle droid production for the Confederacy and at Gunray's orders even allowed Separatist Council member Poggle the Lesser to visit him on Cato Neimoidia and discussed the plot with the Geonosian Archduke and InterGalactic Banking Clan Senator Rush Clovis. When Clovis refused to support the Federation Separatist plot, Dod had Clovis's love interest Senator Padmé Amidala poisoned in order to force Clovis do everything he, Poggle and his master Gunray planned. The plan failed and Dod put his Battle Droid guards to arrest Clovis who was removed from office. Sib Canay and his superior would later support one of Count Dooku's plans to force Pantora to join the Confederacy and at his request the Federation sent Canay's Lucrehulk-class Droid Control Ship to blockade the planet. The planet's Senator and Jedi Padawan Ahsoka Tano boarded the ship and attempted to negotiate with Canay and his superior. When negotiations failed, the duo revealed that the Federation had secretly kidnapped Chairman of Pantora Papanoida's daughters to force the old Pantoran to give over his planet to the Separatists. The Federation released the prisoners and at Gunray's orders Dod lied to the Senate by telling them that the whole plan was Sib Canay's not the Federation's, not his, not Gunray's. The Federation would later sent Dod to go to Toydaria on behalf of the Confederacy to convince King Katuunko join the Separatist movement, but the plan failed and Katuunko remained neutral. While Gunray and his underling Dod helped the Confederacy the two received a healthy income to ensure both sides are well equipped and that the war continues. When Senator Amidala proposed peace negotiations with the Confederacy of Independent Systems, Gunray put Dod conspire with fellow Senators Gume Saam of the Techno Union and Nix Card of the InterGalactic Banking Clan to stop the negotiations. The three later discussed the plan with the Confederacy's Head Of State Count Dooku and second-in-command General Grievous. After the negotiations that had positive results, Grievous sent some demolitions battle droids that blew up one of Coruscant's generators. The explosion was interprettated as a Separatist attack and the war continued.