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Business Words in the News
Friday 26 July 2002
Vocabulary from the business news. Listen to and read the report then find explanations of difficult words below.

USA proposes cuts in farming subsidies and tariffs
Summary: Financial support for farming costs governments huge amounts of money. The US is looking to reduce what it spends on farming but will not do so until and unless other countries do the same. This report from Steve Evans:
The News Listen  
  There are two ways in which governments support farmers - subsidising them by paying them from the public purse, or protecting them by putting tariffs on imports from competing countries. The United States is proposing to cut its subsidies to farmers to about ten billon dollars - half the amount envisaged in the Farm Bill which legislators have just passed. That would put pressure on the European Union to cut its subsidies and the EU currently pays out more to its farmers than does the US. On top of that, Mr Zoellick, the US trade negotiator, is proposing cuts in tariffs.

American tariffs are lower than those that competitor countries impose - twelve percent on import to the US compared with thirty-one percent in the EU and fifty percent in Japan. So Mr Zoellick wants faster cuts in other countries' tariffs than those of the US. The US proposal then represents an offer, but also a demand in return: we'll cut but you cut too.

Farming is entwined with politics like no other industry. One in three acres of American farmland is devoted to exports, so America needs access to foreign markets. Mr Zoellick's proposal is a bargaining position in an intricate negotiation, a negotiation which may lead to lower barriers to trade for all countries, but certainly not to free trade.

Steve Evans, BBC US Business Correspondent

The Words Listen
if a government is subsidising an industry, it is giving money to that industry

  the public purse
money that the government has collected from the public through taxes

financial charge or tax put on goods



here, to place a charge or tax officially on something

  entwined with
connected in a complex way

  devoted to exports
only producing goods which are to be sold in other countries

  an intricate negotiation
a very complicated political discussion

  Read more about this story  

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