EU market access for Mediterranean fruit and vegetables: A gravity model assessment
Since 1995, a liberalization process - the so- called Barcelona Process - has begun in the Mediterranean area. It aims at establishing a free trade area for 2010 in the Mediterranean Basin. For the moment the full liberalization concerns industrial product s trade whereas agriculture remains sensitive. Among agricultural product s, the fruit and vegetables (F&V) sector is essential for Mediterranean countries and the EU is their first trading partner. In this context, two questions arise: Firstly, to what extent protection influence trade for the med countries, compared to the other countries? Secondly, what would be the impacts of a greater liberalization on F&V trade between the EU and Mediterranean Countries? Our model, based on the new development s of gravity equation focuses on the difficulties faced by the Mediterranean countries to enter on the EU market, compared to the other EU partners, considering the relative impact of the different trade costs. It is estimated at the product level, in a sector with a huge specificity: some product s may be very perishable and thus particularly time sensitive. The Mediterranean basin appears as a highly heterogeneous country bloc. Beside the actual level of preferences allowed by the EU, two main elements vary according to the exporting country: its tariff sensitivity and its "non- tariff" trade resistance. Thus, with respect to the Euromed liberalization, the higher the tariff sensitivity the higher the impact of liberalization on trade and this impact can be limited by a high trade resistance (NTB, logistic constraints...).
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