Lesson 8
Trading standards
First listen and then answer the following question.
What makes trading between rich countries difficult?
Chickens slaughtered in the United States, claim officials in Brussels, are not fit to grace European tables. No, say the American: our fowl are fine, we simply clean them in a different way. These days, it is differences in national regulations, far more than tariffs, that put sand in the wheels of trade between rich countries. It is not just farmers who are complaining. An electric razor that meets the European Union's safety standards must be approved by American testers before it can be sold in the United States, and an American-made dialysis machine needs the EU's okay before is hits the market in Europe.
As it happens, a razor that is safe in Europe is unlikely to electrocute Americans. So, ask businesses on both sides of the Atlantic, why have two lots of tests where one would do? Politicians agree, in principle, so America and the EU have been trying to reach a deal which would eliminate the need to double-test many products. They hope to finish in time for a trade summit between America and the EU on May 28TH. Although negotiators are optimistic, the details are complex enough that they may be hard-pressed to get a deal at all.
Why? One difficulty is to construct the agreements. The Americans would happily reach one accord on standards for medical devices and them hammer out different pacts covering, say, electronic goods and drug manufacturing. The EU -- following fine continental traditions -- wants agreement on general principles, which could be applied to many types of products and perhaps extended to other countries.
From: The Economist, May 24th, 1997
New words and expressions 生词和短语
v. 屠宰
adj. 适合
v. 给...增光
n. 关税
n. 标准
n. 分离,分解;透析,渗析
v. 使触电身亡
v. 消灭
n. 协议
n. 仪器,器械
hammer out
v. 推敲
n. 合同,条约,公约
碰巧在欧洲使用安全的剃须刀不大可能使美国人触电身亡,因此,大西洋两岸的企业都在问,当一套测试可以解决问题时,为什么需要两套呢?政治家在原则上同意了, 因此,美国和欧洲一直在寻求达成协议,以便为许多产品取消双重检查。他们希望尽早达成协议,为5月28日举行的美国和欧洲贸易的最高通级会议作准备。然谈判代表持乐观态度,但协议细节如此复杂,他们所面临的困难很可能使他们无法取得一致。
为什么呢?困难之一是起草这些协议。美国人很愿意就医疗器械的标准达成一个协议,然后推敲出不同的合同,用以涵盖 -- 比如说 -- 电子产品和药品的生产。欧洲人遵循优良的大陆传统,则希望就普遍的原则取得一致,而这些原则适用于许多不同产品,同时可能延伸到其它国家。
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