Monday, March 10, 2008

British economy

The United Kingdom is one of the world's great manufacturing and trading nations. Actually, Britain can survive only by manufacturing and trading. The country's farms produce only about two-thirds of the food needed by the people.

Britain has few natural resources. The country must import about a third of its food and many of the raw materials it needs for manufacturing.

The Industrial Revolution began in Britain in the 1700's, and Britain is still a leading industrial nation. British factories have long been known for automobiles, ships, steel, and textiles. Today, Britain manufactures a wide variety of products. Most British industries are in central England, the London area, the Scottish Central Lowlands, and the Newcastle upon Tyne area.

Britain is an important steel producer. Much steel is used in manufacturing automobiles, buses, trucks, and motorcycles. Such British cars as the Jaguar and Rover are popular in many countries. The Rolls-Royce is one of the world's most luxurious and expensive cars. But Britain now imports more cars than it exports.

Britain also produces heavy machinery for industry, farming, and mining. These products include cranes, tractors, harvesters, and drilling machines. British factories also make railway equipment, household appliances, and machine tools. The city of Sheffield is famous for its high-quality knives, forks, and spoons.

Jet aircrafts, airplane engines, space satellites and weapons defense systems are also produced in Britain. Aerospace equipment and heavy machinery are major exports. British factories produce such items as cable television equipment, microfilm readers and printers, radar devices, and undersea telephone cables. The chemical industry produces a variety of products - from industrial chemicals to plastics and soap. Britain is the fourth largest exporter of Pharmaceuticals. Britain 's world - famous pottery industry is centered in Stoke-on-Trent . Britain also ranks as one of the world's chief centers of printing and publishing.

The Industrial Revolution began in Britain's textile industry. Today, Britain remains an important producer of cotton and woolen textiles. Scotland produces some of the world's finest woolen products. Northern Ireland has a worldwide reputation for its delicate, pure white linen.

British clothing has long been famous for its quality. The biggest centers for clothing industries are London , Leeds , and Manchester . Britain has created many new fashions, especially in men's clothing. The first Oxford shoes, cardigan sweaters, and raglan sleeves were made in Britain. Other British indus­ tries manufacture bricks, furniture, leather goods, and paper. Processing of foods is one of Britain's major industries. Scotch whisky, for example, has a large world market.

Britain has about 240,000 farms. About two-thirds of Brit­ ain's farmers own the farms on which they live. The rest rent their farms.

Britain's most important crops are barley, potatoes, sugar beets, and wheat. Farmers in the east and southwest grow most of Britain's fruits and vegetables. Kent in the southeast is called the Garden of England, and is famous for the beautiful blossoms of its apple and cherry orchards in springtime. The country's chief vegetables include cabbages, carrots, onions, and peas.

Sheep are Britain's chief livestock. British farmers also raise beef cattle, dairy cattle, and pigs.



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