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Unit 4 Business Environment

Explore the significance of international trade and the European dimension for UK businesses

The importance of international trade: to the UK economy, businesses, balance of payments, patterns and trends in international trade, UK trade with the EU, USA and other countries, trading blocs throughout the world, UK membership of the EU, enlargement of EU, direct/indirect exporting methods, trading opportunities, importance of global markets, implications for businesses of emerging markets, cultural diversity and clusters, TNCs, the economies of Europe EMU, EU budget import duties and levies, agricultural levies, VAT, competitor policy, European Single Market Act, social policy, The Social Chapter, tax harmonisation, CAP, regional policy

Intoduction to the EU

EU institutions

European Parliament is the directly-elected democratic expression of the political will of the peoples of the European Union, the largest multinational Parliament in the world.

Council of the European Union is usually known as the Council of Ministers, and has no equivalent anywhere in the world. Here, the Member States legislate for the Union, set its political objectives, co-ordinate their national policies and resolve differences between themselves and with other institutions.

European Commission has three distinct functions: initiator of proposals for legislation, guardian of the Treaties, and the manager and executor of Union policies and of international trade relations.

Court of Justice provides the judicial safeguards necessary to ensure that the law is observed in the interpretation and application of the Treaties and, generally in all of the activities of the Union.

Court of Auditors is the taxpayers' representative, responsible for checking that the European Union spends its money according to its budgetary rules and regulations and for the purposes for which it is intended.

European Investment Bank is the European Union's financing institution, it provides loans for capital investment promoting the Union's balanced economic development and integration.

Economic and Social Committee in accordance with the Treaties, the Committee advises the Commission, the Council and the European Parliament. The opinions which it delivers (either in response to a referral or on its own initiative) are drawn up by representatives of the various categories of economic and social activity in the European Union.

Committee of the Regions is the European Union's youngest institution whose birth reflects Member States' strong desire not only to respect regional and local identities and prerogatives but also to involve them in the development and implementation of EU policies.

European Ombudsman every citizen of each Member State is both a national and a European citizen. One of the rights of all European citizens is to apply to the European Ombudsman if they are victim of an act of "maladministration" by the EU institutions or bodies.


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Book Recommendation

HNC/HND Business Core Unit 4: Organizations, Competition and Environment: Study Text (2000) - Buy it
Part of the HNC/HND business series, this text on organizations, competition and environment features a blend of topic coverage and practice opportunities with BTEC guidelines, key definitions, timed activities and assignments, and topics for class discussion. It is suitable for both classroom and individual study. Buy it from

European Union Links

Click here for more links on the European Union.

All content copyright © 2007 - 2013