Forgotten effects in trade relations: a view from the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)

Purpose The purpose of this paper is to evaluate Chinese indirect trade relations in the global trade network to observe if the objectives identified by Cai (2017) in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) are being fulfilled, especially with Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) countries. Design/methodology/approach Using data from the UNCTAD (2016) for the period 2011-2015, a normalized exports network is built. It is analyzed with the Forgotten Effects Theory and the PageRank algorithm. A Monte Carlo experiment with 10,000 replicates is performed to account for its volatility. Findings The paper identifies one instance in which China's peripheral countries are importing raw materials and commodities --oil products - to produce low technological value-added products, which, in turn, are exported to China. LAC countries do not have significant indirect trade relations with China when the former is the origin country, while the latter is the destination in a trade relationship. The trade network has a clear core-periphery structure, with China belonging to its core, although being only the fourth most central node in the network. Originality/value This paper contributes with both a new methodology for the analysis of indirect trade relations and the results found for China under the BRI and its trade relationship with LAC economies.

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