Does Agricultural Trade Competitiveness Matter? The Case of the CIS Countries

DOI 10.7160/aol.2020.120106
No 1/2020, March
pp. 61-72

Mizik, T., Gál, P. and Török, Á. (2020) “Does Agricultural Trade Competitiveness Matter? The Case of the CIS Countries", AGRIS on-line Papers in Economics and Informatics, Vol. 12, No. 1, pp. 61-72. ISSN 1804-1930. DOI 10.7160/aol.2020.120106.


The paper aims to analyse the comparative advantage patterns of agriculture in the Commonwealth of Independent States. It is relatively understudied in the literature, especially in Central Asia. Agriculture still plays an important role in the region but in a different way than before. Despite that, the majority of the CIS countries are net food importers. Based on the revealed comparative advantage (RCA) index, country-level analysis shows that Moldova, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia have the highest Balassa indices in the region, and Belarus, Ukraine and Azerbaijan are also having some comparative advantage. Product level analysis pointed out that the region’s major agricultural export products groups are cereals. It is important to emphasise that the top five product groups have high, between 3.0-4.4, RCA values. It implies that the regional trade structure is consistent with comparative advantages. However, stability and duration tests show that these are not persistent, since survival chances fell appreciably from 2000-2003 to 2012-2015.


CIS, agri-food trade, trade structure, revealed comparative advantages.


  1. Ahrend, R. (2006) “Russian Industrial Restructuring: Trends in Productivity, Competitiveness and Comparative Advantage”, Post-Communist Economies, Vol. 18, No. 3, pp. 277-295. E-ISSN 1465-3958, ISSN 1463-1377. DOI 10.1080/14631370600881770.
  2. Amirbekova, A. and Madiyarova, D. (2015) “Assessment of the Competitiveness of Kazakhstan's Exports”, Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences, Vol. 6, No. 6, pp. 443-447. E-ISSN 2039-2117, ISSN 2039-9340.
  3. Balassa, B. (1965) “Trade Liberalization and Revealed Comparative Advantage”, Manchester School of Economic and Social Studies, Vol. 33, No. 2, pp. 99-123. E-ISSN 1467-9957. DOI 10.1111/j.1467-9957.1965.tb00050.x.
  4. Benesova, I., Maitah, M., Smutka, L., Tomsik, K. and Ishchukova, N. (2017) “Perspectives of the Russian agricultural exports in terms of comparative advantage”, Agricultural Economics – Czech, Vol. 63, No. 7, pp. 1-13. E-ISSN 1805-9295, ISSN 0139-570X.
  5. Besedes, T. and Prusa, T. J. (2011) “The role of extensive and intensive margins and export growth”, Journal of Development Economics, Vol. 96, No. 2, pp. 371-379. ISSN 0304-3878. DOI 10.1016/j.jdeveco.2010.08.013.
  6. Bojnec, Š. (2001) “Trade and revealed comparative advantage measures: regional and central and east European agricultural trade”, Eastern European Economics, Vol. 39, No. 2, pp. 72-98. E-ISSN 1557-9298, ISSN 0012-8775.
  7. Bojnec, Š. and Fertő, I. (2008) “European Enlargement and Agro-Food Trade”, Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics, Vol. 56, No. 4, pp. 563-579. E-ISSN 1744-7976. DOI 10.1111/j.1744-7976.2008.00148.x.
  8. Borodina, O. and Krupin, V. (2018) “Is it Possible to Utilise the Agricultural Potential of Ukraine under the Current Agrarian System?”, EuroChoices, Vol. 17, No. 1, pp. 46-51. E-ISSN 1746-692X. DOI 10.1111/1746-692X.12151.
  9. Buchenrieder, G., Hanf, J. H. and Pieniadz, A. (2009) “20 Years of transition in the agri-food sector”, German Journal of Agricultural Economics, Vol. 58, No. 7, pp. 285-293. ISSN 21914028.
  10. Cimpoies, L. (2013) “Agri-food Trade – A Path to Agricultural Development of Moldova”, Scientific Vol. 13, No. 2, pp. 49-56. E-ISSN 2285-3952, ISSN 2284-7995.
  11. Cleves, M. A., Gould, W. W. and Gutierrez, R. G. (2004) “An Introduction to Survival Analysis using Stata”, Stata Press, USA, 308 p. ISBN 1881228843.
  12. Csaki, C. and Forgacs, C. (2008) “Agricultural Economics and Transition: What was expected, what we observed, the lessons learned”, Proceedings of Joint IAAE-EAAE Seminar held in Budapest, September 2007. IAMO, Halle, 326 p.
  13. Deardorff, A. V. (2011) “Comparative advantage: The theory behind measurement”, pp. 27-40. In: OECD: Globalisation, Comparative Advantage and the Changing Dynamics of Trade. OECD Publishing, Paris, France, 347 p. DOI 10.1787/9789264113084-3-en.
  14. FAO (2019) “Faostat”. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 16 May 2019).
  15. Freinkman, L., Polyakov, E. and Revenco, C. (2004) “Trade Performance and Regional Integration of the CIS Countries”, In: World Bank Working Paper No. 38: 69 p. ISBN 978-0-8213-5896-2. DOI 10.1596/0-8213-5896-0.
  16. Gorton, M. and White, J. (2009) ”Export strategies and performance in the CIS: case study evidence from the dairy sector”, Post-Communist Economies, Vol. 21, No. 4, pp. 475-494. E-ISSN 1465-3958, ISSN 1463-1377. DOI 10.1080/14631370903339864.
  17. Héberger, K. (2010) “Sum of ranking differences compares methods or models fairly", TrAC Trends in Analytical Chemistry, Vol. 29, No. 1, pp.101-109. ISSN 0165-9936. DOI 10.1016/j.trac.2009.09.009.
  18. Héberger, K. and Kollár-Hunek, K. (2011) “Sum of ranking differences for method discrimination and its validation: comparison of ranks with random numbers”, Journal of Chemometrics, Vol. 25, No. 4, pp. 151-158. ISSN 1099-128X. DOI 10.1002/cem.1320.
  19. Hoang, V. V. and Tran, K. T. (2019) “Comparative Advantages of Alternative Crops: A Comparison Study in Ben Tre, Mekong Delta, Vietnam”, AGRIS on-line Papers in Economics and Informatics, Vol. 11, No. 1, pp. 35-47. ISSN 1804-1930. DOI 10.7160/aol.2019.110104.
  20. Ishchukova, N. and Smutka, L. (2013) “Revealed comparative advantage of Russian agricultural exports”, Acta Universitatis Agriculturae et Silviculturae Mendelianae Brunensis (Czech Republic), Vol. 61, No. 4, pp. 941-952. E-ISSN 2464-8310, ISSN 1211-8516. DOI 10.11118/actaun201361040941.
  21. Jambor, A. and Babu, S. (2016) “Competitiveness of Global Agriculture: Policy Lessons for Food Security”, Springer, 199 p. ISBN 978-3-319-44876-3. DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-44876-3.
  22. Kalinina, K. (2017) “3 years of embargo in Russia: The winners and losers”, Russia Beyond, August 6 [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 16 May 2019].
  23. Karasova, N. (2016) “Comparative advantages in international trade of Ukraine’s agriculture”, Management Theory and Studies for Rural Business and Infrastructure Development, Vol. 38, No. 3, pp. 230-238. E-ISSN 2345-0355. DOI 10.15544/mts.2016.18.
  24. Khatibi, A. (2008) “Kazakhstan’s revealed comparative advantage vis-à-vis the EU-27”, Ecipe Working Paper No. 3., 12 p. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 1 April 2019].
  25. Kožar, M., Pintar, M., Volk, T., Rednak, M., Rac, I. and Erjavec, E. (2016) “Agriculture and agricultural policy in Eastern European Neighbourhood”, 155th EAAE Seminar, Kiev, Ukraine, September 19-21, 2016.
  26. Lerman, Z., Csaki, Cs. and Feder, G. (2004) “Agriculture in transition: Land policies and evolving farm structures in post-Soviet countries”, Lanham, Lexington Books. 254 p. ISBN 978-0-7391-0806-2.
  27. Liapis, P. S. (2011) “Changing patterns of trade in processed agricultural products”, pp. 121-150. In: OECD: Globalisation, Comparative Advantage and the Changing Dynamics of Trade. OECD Publishing, Paris, France, 347 p. ISBN 9789264113084. DOI 10.1787/9789264113084-en.
  28. Liefert, W. (2002) “Comparative (dis?)advantage in Russian agriculture”, American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Vol. 84, No. 3, pp. 762-767. E-ISSN 1467-8276, ISSN 0002-9092. DOI 10.1111/1467-8276.00334.
  29. Madiyarova, D., Amirbekova, A., and Syrlybayev, M. (2018) “Comparative advantages of Kazakhstan assessed by the Balassa Index: consistently competitive exports are limited to raw materials with low added value”, Journal of Business and Retail Management Research, Vol. 12, No. 3, pp. 201-210. E-ISSN 2056-6271, ISSN 1751-8202. DOI 10.24052/JBRMR/V12IS03/ART-18.
  30. Maslova, V., Zaruk, N., Fuchs, C., and Avdeev, M. (2019) “Competitiveness of Agricultural Products in the Eurasian Economic Union”, Agriculture, Vol. 9, No. 3, 14 p. ISSN 2077-0472. DOI 10.3390/agriculture9030061.
  31. Maryam, J., Banday, U. and Mittal, A. (2018) “Trade intensity and revealed comparative advantage: an analysis of Intra-BRICS trade”, International Journal of Emerging Markets, Vol. 13, No. 5, pp. 1182-1195. ISSN 1746-8809. DOI 10.1108/IJoEM-09-2017-0365.
  32. Mogilevskii, R. and Akramov, K. (2014) “Trade in Agricultural and Food Products in Central Asia”, University of Central Asia, Working paper No. 27, 28 p. DOI 10.2139/ssrn.2946713.
  33. RPA (2009) “Doctrine of Food Security, Strategy of National Security of the Russian Federation till 2020 (In Russian) (enacted by the RF President Decree No. 537 of May 12, 2009)”, Russian Presidential Administration. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 23 April 2019].
  34. Vigneau, E. and Qannari, E. M. (2003) “Clustering of variables around latent components”, Communication in Statistics- Simulations and Computation, Vol. 32, No. 4, pp. 1131-1150. E-ISSN 1532-4141, ISSN 0361-0918. DOI 10.1081/SAC-120023882.
  35. Wijnands, J. H. M., van Berkum, S. and Verhoog, D. (2015) “Competitiveness of CIS and EU agrifood chains, Quantifying Porter’s diamond", LEI Wageningen University, 74. p. DOI 10.13140/RG.2.1.3657.7360.
  36. World Bank WDI (2019) “World Development Indicators” [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 16 May 2019].
  37. World Bank WITS (2019) “World Integrated Trade Solution database”. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 10 May 2019].
  38. WTO (2019) “Time series database”. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 10 May 2019].
  39. Zhemoyda, O. and Gerasymenko, N. (2009) “Concentration of agriculture and competitive advantages of East-European countries”, Conference proceeding of the 113th EAAE Seminar “A resilient European food industry and food chain in a challenging world”, Chania, Crete, Greece, September 3-6.

Full paper

  Full paper (.pdf, 503.51 KB).