Chinese Agricultural Transition: Trade, Social and Environmental Impact

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The project studies the impact of China's current economic transition on its agricultural economy with special reference to the consequences of trade liberalization and of changing trade flows. The project will track impacts on social conditions and on the environment in China's rural areas as well as on markets in the rest of the world, with particular emphasis on the EU. For this, the research considers (a) the dynamic, rapid pace of the transition; (b) the size and geographical diversity of the country; and (c) the effect of the changes on the rest of the world. The research opts for a quantitative approach, supplemented by qualitative investigations, and focuses on three themes: trade, social conditions, and environment. On trade, the research aims to account for the size of China's trade and take a closer look at trade between the EU and China with scenario simulations over the period 2000-2030, by establishing a linkage between (a) the Chinagromodel, a spatially explicit equilibrium model that comprehensively depicts China's farm sector in 2433 counties, while connecting these through trade and transportation flows; (b) the GTAPmodel of world trade; (c) FEA-27, a model of EU-agriculture for 27 members states. The research on social conditions proceeds by linking geo-referenced household surveys to a population census of China and a detailed geographical data set, relying on a suitable adaptation of poverty mapping methodology, so as to trace impacts at household level. Finally, we use agro-ecological assessment tools to quantify the environmental pressures resulting from intensified livestock industry as well as from intensified horticulture production. Findings on the three themes are subsequently integrated to arrive at policy suggestions that account for efficiency, equity and sustainability considerations. Throughout the project, a policy dialogue and dissemination program, conducted in both China and the EU, maintains communication with policy makers.

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