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THE HISTORY OF CUSTOMS





Task 1. Read and translate the text.

The current Russian word tamozhnya appeared in the times of Mongol-Tatar yoke. The word tamga, in Tatar, meant “a customs tax; an official who collected it; and the stamped seal or a statement showing that it had been paid”. The Russian Customs Service, however, predates the Mongol-Tatar yoke (1237-1480). Thus, we can say that Russia has had a Customs Service in some form during the past 1000 years.

Even in the times of Kievan Rus, taxeswere collected for the transportation of goods through the frontiers of individual princedoms. Each market had its tamozhnya and the right to collect duties could be purchased from the State. That right was often given to powerful merchants.

The first Russian Customs Statute was handed down in 1667. It was strict towards foreigners, who were allowed to trade only in frontier towns on pain of confiscation. A special tsar’s certificate was required for trading further inside the country. Such protectionism went on for most of the next 300 years. Every tsar, from Peter the Great to Nicolas II, approved laws limiting the import of foreign goods and defending Russian producers.

For almost all of its history the Customs Service has been much more than a force for keeping out contraband. In fact, it has been a powerful administrative body, and customs business has always been considered important and prestigious.

 

* * *

A number of well-known people both in Russia and abroad worked for the Customs and contributed to its development.

The Russian tsar Alexei Mikhailovitch was the head of the Russian state for more than 30 years (1645-1676). It was the time when the main state institutions were formed. He did a lot to develop customs laws. For example, he initiated customs reformsby issuing the Decree “On levying customs duties on goods in Moscow and other cities”. Besides, he signed the New Trade Statute (1667) which was based on the previous legislation and suggestions, made by Russian merchants. It was the first attempt to arrange customs procedures.

The well-known Russian poet Gavriil R. Derzchavin combined his literary activities with his work as President of Commerce Board in 1794-1803. He was engaged in foreign trade and customs business and took part in working out customs tariffswhichcame into effectin 1800.

Alexander N. Radishev, the famous Russian writer, also worked for the Customs and was appointed the head of St.Petersburg Customs House.

Dmitry I. Mendeleev was a great Russian chemist and a public figure. In 1891-1903 he was Head of the Commission in charge of customs tariffs. He was sure that protectionist tariff would serve the development of the country as it not only regulated export and import but also stimulated industrial production. He was one of the first to discover the laws ruling customs business.

Nowadays Russia has the world’s longest border to police and has a modern, multi-functioning Customs Service. It carries out the same functions as the Customs of other countries: fiscal function, regulation of foreign trade, law enforcement, keeping of customs statistics on foreign trade, etc.

 

 

Working on the text

Task 2. Look at these words and answer the question.

Is there anything special about the way we should read and pronounce them?

through foreign write export chemist either

right sign wrong import technology

 

Task 3. Find in the text the words that follow the verbs below:


a) to initiate

b) to levy

c) to regulate

d) to stimulate

e) to discover

f) to be engaged in



g) to work out

h) to issue

i) to collect

j) to approve

k) to combine

l) to form


Task 4.Find the words or phrases in the text which mean the following:


a) to be involved in some activity

b) to start

c) to collect by authority

d) to choose for a post

e) to find out

f) the laws

g) trader

h) tax on certain goods

i) to come into force


Task 5.a) Give the Russian equivalents of the following:

b) Explain the meaning of the underlined expressions. See Conversational formulas.

- the development of customs law;

- to initiate reforms;

- ”On levying customs duties”;

- to be based on previous legislation;

- to arrange customs procedures;

- to come into effect;

- to predate ;

- powerful merchants;

- to hand down;

- to keep out contraband;

- a public figure

 

Task 6. Complete the sentences.

1. The Russian tsar Alexei Mikhailovitch initiated customs reforms …

2. It was the first attempt …

3. He was sure that protectionist tariff …

4. It was based on previous legislation and …

5. He was one of the first to …

 

Task 7. Say whether the following statements are true or false. Correct the false statements.

1. The word tamga meant a customs tax.

2. The Russian Customs Service appeared in the times of Mongol-Tatar yoke.

3. In Kievan Rus, no taxeswere collected at the frontiers of individual princedoms.

4. Collecting duties was the only function of the Customs.

5. The first Russian Customs Statute was handed down in the XVII century.

6. The customs legislation has always been loyal to foreign traders.

7. The New Trade Statute of 1677 was worked out by D.I.Mendeleev.

Task 8. Answer the questions.

1. When did the word tamozhnya appear?

2. What did the word tamga mean?

3. Who was given the right to collect duties?

4. How long has Russia had the Customs Service?

5. When was the first Russian Customs Statute handed down?

6. Where were foreigners allowed to trade?

7. When were the main Russian state institutions formed?

8. What reform did Alexei Mikhailovitch initiate?

9. What was the New Trade Statute based on?

10. What was Commerce Board engaged in?

11. What did D.I.Mendeleev think about the protectionist tariff?

 

Task 9.a) Complete the text with suitable prepositions if necessary.

British Customs service can also boast _____ some famous people who worked for the customs.

The Poet Robert Burns (1759-1796) was an excise officer _____ 1789 _____ 1796. Excise officers visited _____ local traders, calculated the amount of money due and issued vouchers stating the amount payable. It was hard work with daily rounds _____ foot or horseback. They worked full day or _____ shifts. Because of the high level of duty _____ spirits, control _____ whisky and gin production was very important.

The excise collector made his rounds eight times _____ a year collecting duty ______ a wide area. They usually set up an office _____ an inn where tradesmen paid the duty. It was a dangerous job: _____ collectors were often attacked and robbed.

 

b) Answer the questions:

1. What kind of work did Robert Burns do at the Customs?

2. Why did customs officers visit local traders?

3. Why was the control of whisky and gin production so important?

4. Where did excise collectors set up their offices?

5. Why was excise collectors’ job so dangerous?

 

Task 10. Translate from Russian into English.

1. Он работает посменно, не так ли?

2. Кто разрабатывал этот таможенный тариф?

3. Эта комиссия занимается вопросами внешней торговли и таможенного оформления.

4. Когда он был назначен начальником таможни?

5. Он много сделал для развития таможенного законодательства.

6. Протекционистский тариф стимулирует развитие промышленного производства.

7. Новый торговый устав ввел новые правила провоза товаров через границу.

8. Акцизный чиновник выписал квитанцию с указанием суммы, подлежащей оплате.

9. Если ты станешь таможенником, то будешь иметь дело с таможенными платежами.

 

 

Text 2

Task 11.a) Look up the words in a dictionary.Read and translate the text.


reign

headquarters

to wage

schooner

coffin



HISTORY OF SMUGGLING IN THE UK

The history of smuggling dates back to the Middle Ages and reached its peak in the reign of James I. Smuggling was easy because the customs officers were unable to cope with it adequately as on land they were far too few, and at sea, their ships were slow and less easy to handle. In addition, many of smugglers worked in large armed bands.

With the passing time, methods of smuggling were changing, and the smugglers no longer relied on large armed ships fighting their way through, handing over their contraband to armed gangs. Instead they sank their valuable goods near the shore, when the danger threatened, and picked them up later, or stored them in caves. When contraband was landed, it had to be hidden until it could be disposed of. Many of the old inns were very convenient for it.

The White Horse Inn at Gorleston, Norfolk, was the headquarters of a smuggling gang. Riding officer Hacon was appointed to that area, and he went straight to the White Horse and announced that he was going to put down smuggling with a firm hand.

Captain Legatt waged fifty guineas that he would deliver 100kg of smuggled tobacco at the officer’s house without his knowledge within fourteen days. Hacon accepted the challenge and put on extra guards. There was much interest among the town people.

Several days passed and nothing happened. Ships came and went, but there was no sign of tobacco.

Once a little schooner came in. Three men came ashore in a boat. Only one of them spoke a little English and it seemed that a man on the ship was very ill. The next day a message was sent ashore that the man was dead. A funeral procession was formed because the dead man had wished to be buried there.

Meanwhile the fourteenth day was drawing to a close. People were beginning to laugh at the smugglers. Then the Captain appeared and shook hands with Hacon.

“Well,” he said. “You owe me fifty guineas, I think.

The boot is on the other foot*”, said Hacon with a smile.

“I think you’ll find the tobacco ready for you at home”, said Legatt. “That poor dead sailor who wished to be buried here – well, you go home and have a look – and keep the coffin as a small present”, and he roared with laughter.

 

* как раз наоборот

b) Make a glossary. Choose seven words to remember.

c) Answer the questions:

1. Why was smuggling easy at that time?

2. What difficulties did customs officers have?

3. What methods did smugglers use?

4. What arrangement was made between Officer Hacon and Captain Legatt?

5. How did Captain Legatt win fifty guineas?

 

* * *

Problem questions:

1. Have the methods of smuggling changed in any way since those times?

2. What modern methods of detecting contraband do you know?

 

Task 12.a) Complete the sentences with the following phrasal verbs:

to rely on to cope with to hand over to pick up to put down

1. This computer can __________ huge amount of data.

2. The violence was __________ by the police and the army.

3. Many people now __________ the Internet for news.

4. I’ll take my things to the Left Baggage Counter and _____ them _____ later.

5. The police officers were ordered to __________ their guns.

b) Make your own sentences with these phrasal verbs.

 

Task 13.a) Revise the grammar rules on Comparatives and Superlatives.

b) Copy out the adjectives from Text 2 and complete the table.

Adjective Comparative Superlative
easy easier the easiest
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

 

c) Write five sentences to compare the work of customs officers in the past and nowadays.





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