Competitiveness and complementarity of agricultural products between Thailand and China on a short-term basis


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China and Thailand belong to Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership countries, and agricultural trade is vital to Thailand’s economy. Competition in agricultural trade between countries is fierce. Therefore, it is crucial to understand the advantages and disadvantages of agricultural trade between Thailand and China. Complementarity and competitiveness of international business show the benefits and drawbacks of cross-border exports and the trend of future exports. This study uses quantitative techniques to analyze the agricultural trade between Thailand and China. It employed four methods, including the calculations of the Grubel-Lloyd index, revealed comparative advantage index (RCA), trade intensity index (TII), and trade complementarity index (TCI). The result of method 1 indicates that Thailand’s agricultural trade has a more substantial competitive advantage (three years average RCA = 1.69 > 1.25) than China (three years average RCA = 0.37 < 0.8) from 2017 to 2019; they are complementary in specific categories of agricultural products. The result of method 2 indicates that items 03, 07, 13, and 14 of China’s exports and Thailand’s imports have strong complementarity. Items 10, 11, 17, and 19 of Thailand’s exports and China’s imports have strong complementarity. The result of method 3 indicates that the positive factor on bilateral trade flow is significant. The result of method 4 indicates that items 06, 07, 12, 19, 20, and 21 have advantages in intra-industry trade, and items 09, 10, 13, and 18 have advantages in inter-industry trade. The paper has important implications for Thailand’s government to formulate relevant trade policies to enhance its agricultural export competitiveness, which is also conducive to developing bilateral agricultural trade.

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    • Figure 1. Thailand’s GDP per year from 2010 to 2019
    • Figure 2. China’s GDP per year from 2010 to 2019
    • Figure 3. China’s export of goods to Thailand from 2010 to 2019
    • Figure 4. Thailand’s export of goods to China from 2010 to 2019
    • Figure 5. China-Thailand trade deficit from 2010 to 2019
    • Table 1. HS12 classification of agricultural products
    • Table 2. Revealed comparative advantage (RCA) index of Thailand and China agricultural exports (2017, 2018, and 2019)
    • Table 3. TCI index based on China’s export and Thailand’s import, and Thailand’s export and China’s import (2017, 2018, and 2019)
    • Table 4. Trade intensity index (TII) based on China’s export to Thailand and Thailand’s export to China (2017, 2018, and 2019)
    • Table 5. GL index based on HS01-HS24 (2017, 2018, and 2019)
    • Conceptualization
      Zhe Tao
    • Data curation
      Zhe Tao
    • Formal Analysis
      Zhe Tao
    • Investigation
      Zhe Tao
    • Methodology
      Zhe Tao
    • Project administration
      Zhe Tao
    • Supervision
      Zhe Tao
    • Validation
      Zhe Tao
    • Visualization
      Zhe Tao
    • Writing – original draft
      Zhe Tao
    • Writing – review & editing
      Zhe Tao