PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2019, Vol. 38 ›› Issue (10): 1643-1654.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2019.10.018

• Special Issue | Empirical Study • Previous Articles    

Spatial pattern and evolution of cereal trade networks among the Belt and Road countries

CHEN Yiwen1,LI Erling1,2,*()   

  1. 1. Institute of Sustainable Development in Agriculture and Rural Area/College of Environment and Planning, Henan University, Kaifeng 475004, Henan, China
    2. Collaborative Innovation Center of Urban-Rural Coordinated Development, Henan Province/Academician Laboratory for Urban and Rural Spatial Data Mining, Zhengzhou 450000, China
  • Received:2019-06-17 Revised:2019-09-01 Online:2019-10-28 Published:2019-11-01
  • Contact: LI Erling
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(No. 41971222);Key Project of the Humanities and Social Sciences Research Base in Ministry of Education(No. 15JJDZONGHE008);Natural Science Foundation of Henan Province(No. 182300410144);Program for the First-class Discipline of Henan University(No. 2018YLTD16);Program for the First-class Discipline of Henan University(No. 2019YLZDYJ12);Henan Planning Project of Philosophy and Social Science(No. 2019BJJ019)


Trade of agricultural commodities is an important part of the economic and trade cooperation between the Belt and Road countries, but the existing trade theories cannot fully explain the pattern and change of the cereal trade network between these countries. This study set up a four-dimensional analytical framework, combined social network analysis with spatial econometric analysis, and analyzed the spatial structure characteristics and mechanism of change of cereal trade network between the Belt and Road countries based on the United Nations Comtrade data from 1993 to 2016. The results show that: 1) The cereal trade network density of the Belt and Road countries is constantly increasing while the trade relations and trade intensity between these countries are constantly deepening. The position of the Belt and Road countries in the global grain trade network is on the rise and there is a clear phenomenon of trade club. 2) The network of trade relations has evolved from non-nuclear to multi-nuclear, and then to reshaping. 3) China's cereal trade with other Belt and Road countries has undergone an evolution from export-oriented to import-oriented. The Belt and Road initiative has enhanced China's position in the global grain trade network. 4) The evolution of the national cereal trade network of the Belt and Road countries is the product of resource endowment, economic environment, cultural identity, and political games. Compared with other trade networks, grain trade network has distinct characteristics and stronger stability. This study may provide some guidance for promoting cereal trade cooperation among the Belt and Road countries, optimizing trade structure, and ensuring food security.

Key words: cereal trade network, social network analysis, mechanism of change, the Belt and Road initiative