This was an interdisciplinary research project (2014-2019, BIONÆR/HAVBRUK2, 233836) in cooperation between NUPI, SNF/Bergen og Ruralis/Trondheim, with international partners in the UK (ODI og NRI, University of Greenwich) and India (ISEC, Bangalore). The final conference of the project was arranged in May 2019, with participation from academia and key user groups. At the end of the project, 22 articles had been published in refereed journals; eight other publications; and 61 seminar presentations (of which 18 abroad); and several articles were forthcoming.
The project examines organization, market structure and distribution along the value chains in international food trade, focusing on Norway's seafood exports and agricultural exports and imports. To what extent is the export success for salmon due to skilled traders? Does the organization of trade vary across seafood products, and which mode is more efficient? Is the organization of trade different for large and small firms, and are they affected in the same way by trade policy? How is import organization and market structure affected by tariffs, quotas and food safety regulations? Norway is a small country with peripheral location, and imports from Asia are e.g. doubled in value on their way. What are the reasons, and what role do intermediaries play in trade? Through case studies and analysis of trade data the project shed light on the various issues. While the organization of seafood exports and other food trade are studied by SNF and NUPI, Ruralis has undertaken case studies of Norwegian exports of differentiated goods in agriculture, and international partners have shed light on development-related food trade issues.
The projects unique data set for Norways foreign trade at the transaction level, combined with comprehensive information about the firms, has provided a foundation for important new research. Researchers at SNF have, in a series of articles, shed light on Norwegian seafood exports, focusing on differences between small and large firms, and whether trade costs or other aspects work through the entry or exit of firms or via changes in trade for those already in the market. For seafood, trade at the firm level is unstable in the sense that a lot of the export-importer trade relationships do not survive from one year to the next. This lack of stability is even more pronounced for aquaculture exports to the largest markets, where large exporters are also more dominating. Research at NUPI also shows that many of the firms use brokers to handle exports or imports, and that 1/5 of imports into Norway are indirect via third countries and using middlemen. Indirect trade is also one of the reasons why imports into Norway ?grows along the way? in the sense that measured import value in Norway is considerably larger than the corresponding reported exports for many trade partners; in the project it is shown that this is a global phenomenon. The project has been interdisciplinary, and Ruralis has with a foundation in economic sociology examined exports from the Norwegian dairy sector, where foreign business partners have been important for accessing foreign markets. The international participants have in several publications shed light on development-related issues in food trade. ODI researchers have jointly with NUPI examined trade in citrus fruit and flowers in developing countries and the EU. Norwegian tariff preferences for roses have led to significantly larger imports from Africa, especially Kenya. India is an important seafood nation in fast change, and ISEC researchers have in a series of contributions shown that Indias challenges related to productivity and distribution along the value chain are quite different from those experienced in rich nations. NRI/University of Greenwich has in cooperation with NUPI analysed meat exports from Botswana/Namibia, where imports to Norway have increased due to preferential tariff rate quotas. This has led to higher profits for the trade actors involved; however the development impact is less clear. Some contributions in the projects have a broader focus on food trade; e.g. researchers from SNF have analysed how the growth of aquaculture has transformed global seafood markets. NUPI has also examined the role of country size and the internet for exports, and whether commodity producing countries are affected by trade policy differently from industrial countries.
In parts of the project, there has been good interaction with users; Norwegian customs (TAD, Tolldirektoratet) has been a project partner and the project has contributed to the knowledge base and inputs concerning new methods for control and analysis in governance. Since transaction-level trade data build on customs declarations, the contact with TAD has also benefited the researchers through enhanced understanding and quality control of trade data.
- 22 published and up to 13 forthcoming articles in refereed journals, plus eight other publications.
- Five workshops/seminars and 61 presentations, if which 18 abroad and 25 external in Norway.
- Enhanced databases and improved methods, and competence-building in the field.
- Improved research cooperation, also inter-disciplinary, within Norway and internationally.
- Research-user interaction in parts of the project, and by including one user (Customs Norway) as project partner.
- Familiarity with firm- and transaction-level studies of international trade, including policy impact at the firm level.
- New policy-relevant knowledge in several fields related to trade and trade policy.
- Enhanced knowledge on the use of research and statistical analysis in government activity, i.e. the use of microdata and mirror data.
- Improved understanding of development issues related to food trade, by including research related to Africa and India.
The project focuses on patterns of distribution in Norway's seafood exports and agricultural trade (exports and imports). It has a budget of 10.8 mill. NOK including a post-doc component; it involves NUPI, SNF/Bergen and Norsk senter for bygdeforskning; i nternational partners in the USA, UK and India; and a reference group involving Norwegian business. The project is interdisciplinary, using different approaches and methods, but organised around three common themes; (i) how distribution differs between sm all and large firms - e.g. whether small firms more often sell via middlemen; (ii) whether distribution and market entry costs are larger for more differentiated products; and (iii) how the patterns of logistics and distribution affect income along the va lue chains from producer to consumer. The project has four work packages focusing on (i) patterns of distribution in seafood exports - how these and their efficiency depend on firm characteristics and vary across products and markets; (ii) case studies of Norwegian agricultural exports - mapping challenges for the exports of differentiated goods; (iii) how food distribution is affected by standards and trade regulations - covering e.g. meat exports from Latin America and Norway's fruit imports; and (iv)ca se studies tracking trade and mapping middlemen - undertaken in direct cooperation with Norwegian customs authorities, covering flower imports from Africa and other cases. While the project focuses on Norway's trade, some papers compare Norway's distribut ion patterns with those of other (European and emerging) countries. The project will result in about 15 academic papers to be submitted for publication in international journals. In addition to popular dissemination of these results, the project also aims at institutional innovation through direct cooperation with customs authorities; developing methods for using research-based data and methods directly in the practice of government trade regulation.