Talking about trade in English

In this blog post, we are talking about trade in English. This is an interesting topic in today’s economy because many people have a great need to improve their English precisely because they work for companies or jobs that trade extensively (see definition 5) with other countries and regions. While I was driving home from Dublin airport yesterday morning, I heard on the radio that Donald Trump has decided to impose tariffs on European imports to the US. In other words, he has decided that American companies that purchase certain European products will have to pay an additional tax to the US government. This was really controversial, and the commentators on the radio were worried that it might trigger (see definition 5) a trade war between the US and the EU. The general consensus was that governments need to encourage free trade because it encourages economic cooperation between countries and reduces the likelihood of war (a lot of the commentators mentioned that a big reason for World War II was protectionism and economic nationalism).

In this listening link I have included in this blog post is talking about trade in English, in particular the history of trade and the development of protectionism vs. free trade principles. The speaker describes the upsides and downsides of an open economy, and why it is important for a nation to mitigate the downsides.

In the first reading link, the author describes some of the products that will increase in price if the US and the EU continue along the path of a trade war. In the second link, the author explains the differences between a free trade area, single market and customs union. He gives this explanation in the context of the UK leaving the EU, and the potential implications for their trading relationship with Europe and other countries around the world.

If you are preparing for the IELTS exam, there is a good chance you could end up talking about trade in English, or writing about it, in the exam. Here are some possible writing part 2 tasks:


As global trade increases between different countries, many daily necessities are produced in other countries. Such goods are usually transported a long distance.

Do the benefits of this trend outweigh its drawbacks?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.



Trade and travel would be a lot easier with a single, global currency that we all use.

Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Would a single currency cause any problems?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.


The subject of trade can also come up in part 3 of the speaking section. The part 2 question preceding it might be as follows:

Describe something which is produced in your country (e.g. a food, a handicraft, or a car).

You should say:

what it is
what it is used for
how it is made/produced
and explain why your country produces this thing.


Some part 3 questions about trade might include:


What widely consumed food products are mainly imported into your country?

Do you think it’s important that a country is self-sufficient in food?

Do you think the globalization of industry and commerce is a good thing?

Do you think every country should make everything it needs or should it import some things?

What are the disadvantages of a country producing everything it needs?



The everyday items that could be about to rocket in price in steel tariff trade war

Free trade area, single market, customs union – what’s the difference?




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