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EUROPEAN UNION: The economical and political integration of a dozen European nations created by the Maastricht Treaty signed in 1992. The twelve nations forming the European Union (commonly abbreviated EU) are Belgium, Denmark, Greece, Germany, Spain, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, and Great Britain. Three additional nations that have joined the original dozen are Austria, Finland and Sweden. The Economic Union was actually one of several steps by European nations after the end of World War II to promote integration. This Economic Union was established to reduce or eliminate many tariffs and nontariff barriers, create a single monetary unit (the euro), establish of a common military and defense policy, and centralize monetary policy.

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CURVE: A line with a non-constant, or changing, slope. In technical circles, the word "line" is often used if the slope is constant and the word "curve" is used to mean the slope is not constant. However, economics often uses the terms line and curve interchangeably, as in "demand line" or "demand curve." Unless your course is taught be an economist with a really strong mathematical inclination, you too can safely use both terms interchangeably.

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BALANCE OF TRADE SURPLUS

The positive difference of the value of goods and services exported out of a country less the value of goods and services imported into the country. A balance of trade surplus is the official term for positive net exports that occurs when exports exceed imports. A balance of trade surplus is also termed a "favorable" balance of trade because it results in a net inflow of monetary payments into the domestic economic from the foreign sector, which tends to be beneficial to a country. The alternative is a balance of trade deficit in which imports exceed exports.

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