Agri-food comparative advantages in the European Union countries by value chains before and after enlargement towards the East
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To identify the European Union (EU) member states strong exports sectors and food chains, the revealed comparative advantage indices from trade data were calculated using the total global trade as the benchmark of comparison. The empirical results show that the level and patterns in the development of the revealed comparative advantage indices for agri-food products for each of the EU countries in the global markets were mixed. The most successful EU member states in agri-food export competitiveness in global markets were the Netherlands, France, and Spain. Differences between the EU member states were also identified for the main agri-food product groups. Latvia, Bulgaria, Estonia, Lithuania, and Luxembourg were the five EU countries that competed most successfully in global grain markets. In terms of fruit and vegetable produce exports Greece, Cyprus, Spain, Lithuania, and Bulgaria were the most competitive EU countries in world markets. With respect to global dairy markets Denmark, Luxembourg, Latvia, Ireland, and the Nether-lands achieved the largest export advantages, although strong export competitiveness was evident for almost all of the EU member states in the global dairy markets. Cyprus, Bulgaria, Ireland, Hungary, and Denmark revealed significant export advantages in global meat markets. New EU-member states, particularly Bulgaria and Latvia, achieved high export advantages in the global markets for the select product groups.