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What are Britain’s main imports and exports?

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What are Britain’s main imports and exports?

What are Britain’s main imports and exports?

Despite having only one per cent of the world’s population, Britain is the fourth largest trading nation in the world. Machinery and transport, manufactures and chemicals are Britain’s largest export earners. Since the 1970s, oil has contributed significantly to Britain’s overseas trade, both in exports and a reduced need to import oil. British Petroleum (BP) is Britain’s biggest and Europe’s second biggest industrial company.

British pharmaceutical companies make three of the world’s best sselling medicines:‘Zantac’(made by Glaxo Wellcome) for ulcer treatment;‘Tenormin’(ICI),a beta-blocker for high blood press-ure; and‘AZT’(Glaxo Wellcome), a drug used in the treatment of AIDS.

Britain is also a major supplier of plastics, aerospace products, electrical and electronic equipment. Britain is responsible for 10 per cent of the world’s export of services, including banking, insurance, stockbroking, consultancy and computer programming.

Britain imports six times as many manufactures as basic materials. EU countries account for seven of the 10 leading suppliers of goods to BBritain and the United States is Britain’s biggest supplier of imports. Food, beverages and tabacco account for half of non-manufactured imports, whilst machinery and road vehicles account for two-thirds of finished imported manufactures. Other major imports include chemicals, fuels, clothing aand footwear.

What does the Union Flag stand for and how

should it be flown?

The flag of Britain, commonly known as the Union Jack (which derives from the use of the Union Flag on the jack-staff of naval vessels), embodies the emblems of tree countries under one Sovereign. The emblems that appear on the Union Flag are the crosses of three patron saints:

the red cross of St. George, for England, On a white ground;

the white diagonal cross, or saltire, of St. Andrew, for Scotland, on a blue ground.

the red diagonal cross of St. Patrick, for Ireland, on a white ground.

The final version of the Union Flag, including the cross of St. Patrick, appeared in 1801, following the union of GGreat Britain with Ireland. The cross remains in the flag although now only Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom.

Wales is not represented in the Union Flag because, when the first version of the flag appeared. Wales was already united with England. The national flag of Wales, a red dragon on a field of white and green, dates from the 15th century and is widely used throughout the Principality. The dragon as a symbol was probably introduced into Britain bby the Roman legions. According to tradi-tion, the red dragon appeared on a crest borne by the legendary King Arthur, whose father, Uthr Pendragon, had seen a dragon in the sky predicting that he would be king.

The Union Flag should be flown with the broader diagonal band of white uppermost in the hoist (near the pole) and the narrower diagonal band of white uppermost in the fly (furthest from the pole).


Perhaps the most famous national costume in Britain is the Scottish kilt with its distinctive tartan pattern. The kilt is a length of woollen cloth, pleated except for sections at each end.

The kilt is worn around the waist, with the pleats at the back and the ends crossed over at the front and secured with a pin.

The kilt forms part of the tradition Highland dress, worn by Scottish clansmen and Scottish regiments. In addition to the kilt, a plaid or tartan cloak is worn over one shoulder, and a goatskin pouch or sporran is worn at the front of the kilt. Sometimes tartan trousers or trews are worn instead of a kilt. Women do not have their own distinctive national dress in Scotland, although tartan fabrics are widely uused in clothing, and the kilt is also worn.


The national costume of Wales is based on the peasant costume of the 18th and 19th centuries. Because Wales was isolated geographically from the rest of Britain, many of the individual traits of costume and materials were retained in Welsh dress long after they had died out elsewhere.

Unlike Scotland, the distinctive folk costume of Wales was worn by the women, consisting of a long gown (betgwn) or skirt, worn with a petticoat (pais-the favoured colour was scarlet) and topped with a shawl folded diagonally to form a triangle and draped around the shoulders, with one corner hanging down and two others pinned in front. Aprons were universally worn, sometimes decorated with colourful embroidery.

The most distinctive part of the costume was the tall black ‘Welsh hat’or ‘beaver hat’, thought to have originated in France at the end of the 18th century. The hats had a tall crown, cylindrical or conical in shape with a wide brim, and were usually trimmed with a band of silk or crepe.


Early Irish dress, based on Gaelic and Norse costumes, consisted of check trews for men, worn with a fringed cloak or mmantle, or a short tunic for both men and women, worn with a fringed cloak. This style of dressing was prohibited in the 16th century under sumptuary laws, passed to suppress the distinctive Irish dress and so overcome Irish reluctance to become part of England. In particular, the wearing of the fringed cloak was forbidden, as was the wearing of trews or any saffron coloured garment(saffron yellow was an important feature of Irish costume).

Although a strong tradition of wearing folk costume does not survive in Northern Ireland today, folk music and folk dancing are very important.

What powers does the Queen have?

The Crown, which represents both the Sovereign (the person on whom the Crown is constitutionally conferred) and the Govern-ment, is the symbol of supreme executive power. The Crown is vested in the Queen, but in general its functions are exercised by Ministers responsible to Parliament and thus Britain is governed by Her Majesty’s Government in the name of the Queen. However, the Queen’s involvement is still required in many important acts of government.


The Queen summons, prorogues (discontinues unit the next session without dissolving) and dissolves Parliament. She normally opens the new session of Parliament with a speech from

the throne which is written for her by the Government and outlines her Government’s programme. Before a Bill becomes law the Queen must give it her Royal Assent, which is announced to both Houses of Parliament.


The Queen can, on ministerial advice, pardon or show mercy to those convicted of crimes. In law the Queen as a private person can do no wrong: she is immune from civil or criminal proceedings and cannot be sued in courts of law. This immunity iis not shared by other members of the royal family.

Honours and appointments

The Queen has the power to confer peerages, knighthoods and other honours. She normally does this on the recommendation of the Prime Minister, although a few honours are conferred by the Sovereign personally. The Queen makes appointments to many important state offices, on the advice of the Prime Minister or the relevant Cabinet Minister.

Foreign policy

Foreign diplomatic representatives in London are accredited to the Queen, and she has the power tto conclude treaties, to declare war and to make peace, to recognise foreign states and govern-ments and to annex and cede territory.

Privy Council

The Queen presides over meetings of the Privy Council. At these, among other things, Orders in Council made uunder the Royal Prerogative or under statute are approved. The Royal Prerogative mainly comprises executive government- powers controlled by constitutional conventions (rules which are not part of the law, but which are regarded as indispensable to the machinery of government). In nearly all cases acts involving the Royal Prerogative are performed by Ministers who are responsible to Parliament and can be questioned about policies. Parliament has the power to abolish or restrict a prerogative right.

In addition to being informed and consulted about all aspects of national life, the Queen ...

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