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Has the Belt and Road Initiative Improved the Quality of Food Imported by Chinese Enterprises?

Kexuan Zhou, Sanjay Kumar, Futao Lu, Qiaoyun Fang and Linhui Yu

China & World Economy, 2022, vol. 30, issue 2, 60-83

Abstract: Using micro‐level data from 2009–2015 and the difference‐in‐difference method, this paper empirically examines the impact of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) on the quality of food imported by Chinese enterprises from BRI countries. Our baseline results show that the BRI significantly improved the quality of food imported from these countries. Further investigation reveals that trade patterns, ownership types, import regions, transportation methods, and product quality show significant heterogeneous effects in influencing the quality of imported food. A mechanism analysis indicates that the BRI improves the quality of imported food through three main channels: import trade environment enhancement, competition effect, and consumption upgrading, with the competition effect having the largest impact compared with the other two channels. Our findings suggest that China should not only improve the infrastructure in BRI countries but also use the BRI as an opportunity to enhance the level of cooperation with BRI countries and maintain stability and sustainability in cooperation with them.

Date: 2022
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