PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2017, Vol. 36 ›› Issue (11): 1340-1348.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2017.11.003

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Topological relationship between trade network in the Belt and Road Initiative area and global trade network

Zhouying SONG1,2,3(), Shuyun CHE1,2,3, Yu YANG1,2,3   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Regional Sustainable Development Modeling, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    2. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    3. College of Resources and Environment, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Online:2017-12-07 Published:2017-12-07
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41530751;National Social Science Foundation of China, No.17VDL008, No.2015MZD039


Unimpeded trade is one of the priorities of cooperation in the Belt and Road Initiative proposed by China. On 15 May 2017, the Joint Communique of the Leaders Roundtable of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation reaffirmed the participants' shared commitment to build an open economy and ensure free and inclusive trade. The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is not only China's new action to drive its open and global development, but also a platform for increasingly more countries to explore free and inclusive trade. It is therefore important to examine the topological relationship between BRI trade network and global trade network, for promoting a universal, rule-based, open, nondiscriminatory, and equitable multilateral trading system. Based on a literature review, this article first analyzes community structure and trade network based on community detection algorithm, and then estimates the topological relationship of different trade communities. The findings of this article are as follows. First, we identified five trade communities in global trade network through community detection algorithm, in which China, USA, Russia, India-UAE, and Germany-the Netherlands-France-Britain and other European developed countries are the cores of the five trade communities, respectively. Second, we identified three trade communities and two sub-communities in the BRI trade network, in which China is the core, Russia is the sub-core of the biggest trade community, and India, UAE, and Saudi Arabia are cores of the second trade community (South Asia-West Asia). Third, the topological analysis results indicate that in the global trade network, most BRI countries are attracted by the core nodes in the BRI area, such as China, Russia, India-UAE core nodes, and have strong trade contact with BRI countries. Most Central-East European countries are mainly attracted by Germany-the Netherlands-France-Britain and other European developed countries with low penetration of BRI trade. Although some Southeast Asian countries are incorporated into the Asia-Australia-South Africa community with China as the core, they still need to strengthen trade linkages with BRI countries.

Key words: the Belt and Road Initiative, global, trade network, trade community, topological relationship