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1 Vietnam’s agricultural trade competitiveness by the RCA

1 Vietnam’s agricultural trade competitiveness by the RCA

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and 11 weak competitive agricultural sectors. Vietnam achieves the competitiveness in

19 agricultural sectors in 2014, while it has the competitiveness in 23 sectors in the

average of the period. The average analysis of comparative advantage for the full period

1997 - 2014 shows that rice is the strongest comparative advantage commodity with the

value of 37.83. The next top highly competitive groups in the full period are crustaceans

and molluscs; spices; natural rubber; coffee; wood in chips. There are significant

variations between the RCA values in 2014 and in the average of the full period. This

indicates a mobility and change of the RCA values over time.

Table 4-1: Vietnam’s top agricultural competitiveness by the RCA

No.

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

22

23

24

25

26

27



Code

246

075

042

231

071

036

037

034

265

074

057

054

264

046

035

411

245

058

062

122

061

248

081

098

056

111

048



Commodity

Wood in chips, particles

Spices

Rice

Natural rubber, etc.

Coffee,coffee substitute

Crustaceans,molluscs etc

Fish etc.prepd,prsvd.nes

Fish,fresh,chilled,frozn

Vegetable textile fibres

Tea and mate

Fruit,nuts excl.oil nuts

Vegetables

Jute,oth.textl.bast fibr

Meal,flour of wheat,msln

Fish,dried,salted,smoked

Animal oils and fats

Fuel wood, wood charcoal

Fruit,preserved,prepared

Sugar confectionery

Tobacco, manufactured

Sugars,molasses,honey

Wood, simply worked

Animal feed stuff

Edible prod.preprtns,nes

Vegtables,prpd,prsvd,nes

Non-alcohol.beverage,nes

Cereal preparations

Max

Average

Competitive sectors



RCA

(1997)

4.99

21.29

66.33

19.90

17.45

20.62

6.76

2.74

3.97

11.38

2.50

1.34

1.89

0.16

4.10

0.01

6.53

5.64

0.55

0.09

0.21

0.19

0.08

2.70

0.94

0.84

0.32

66.33

3.72

22



RCA

(2014)

18.41

17.57

14.00

12.52

11.31

9.54

8.92

5.22

3.98

3.60

3.22

1.95

1.62

1.49

1.48

1.31

1.31

1.03

1.02

0.95

0.89

0.79

0.71

0.66

0.57

0.46

0.45

18.41

2.12

19



Source: Own calculation based on the data of UN Comtrade (2017)



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RCA

(1997-2014)

11.02

19.05

37.83

18.87

17.32

23.14

5.78

6.27

5.34

7.36

3.66

1.39

1.15

0.77

4.87

0.81

4.37

1.89

1.05

1.17

0.66

0.45

0.28

1.21

0.65

0.36

0.75

37.83

3.13

23



87



Vietnam, generally, has strong comparative advantages in the crop sectors such as

spices, rice, coffee, tea, fruit & nut, and vegetables; and the fishery sectors such as

crustaceans and fish whilst the country is definitely comparative disadvantageous in the

livestock sectors such as live animal, meat, and eggs & birds; and the processed food

sectors such as chocolate, cheese, butter, and other processed meat & foods.

4.1.2 Analyzing the dynamics of the competitiveness indicators

The changes of the RCA indicators between 1997 and 2014

The difference of the RCA values between 1997 and 2014 shows Vietnam’s change

in comparative advantage. There are 22 competitive sectors in 1997 and only 19

competitive sectors in 2014. The country experiences the increase of the comparative

advantage in 29 agricultural commodity sectors and the decrease of the comparative

advantage in 29 agricultural commodity sectors. The top increasing sectors are wood in

chips; fish, fresh, chilled, frozen; and fish, prepared, preserved. The top decreasing

sectors are rice; crustaceans, molluscs; and tea and mate. Eggs, birds, yolks, albumin;

crude animal materials; and silk, especially, move from strong advantage comparative

groups to disadvantage comparative sectors (Table 4-2).

Table 4-2: The change of the RCA indicators position between 1997 and 2014

Top Increase

Wood in chips, particles

Fish,fresh,chilled,frozn

Fish etc.prepd,prsvd.nes

Meal,flour of wheat,msln

Animal oils and fats

Tobacco, manufactured



Top Decrease

Rice

Crustaceans,molluscs etc

Tea and mate

Natural rubber, etc.

Silk

Coffee,coffee substitute



Strong to Weak

Fish,dried,salted,smoked

Fruit,preserved,prepared

Fuel wood, wood charcoal

Tea and mate



Strong to No

Eggs,birds,yolks,albumin

Crude animal materls.nes

Silk



Source: Own calculation based on the data of UN Comtrade (2017)

The general pattern of the RSCA indicators by the OLS method

The estimation results for the RSCA indicators result in the values of 0 < β < 1 and

values of β/R < 1 over three periods (Table 4-3) (the RSCA is the replace for the RCA

for regression without changing economic implications). The results indicate that

Vietnam, in general, has the convergent pattern in the agricultural competitiveness. In

other words, the country loses the competitiveness in the initial strong competitive



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88



agricultural sectors whilst it gains the competitiveness in the initial weak competitive

agricultural sectors. The values of 0 < β < 1 also prove the process of de-specialization

in Vietnam’s agricultural export competitiveness. The possible explanation for the result

is that: Vietnam’s agricultural competitiveness pattern is based on natural resources with

the primary agricultural products, thus the country’s increases in the productions and

exports of the strong competitive sectors will result in the utilization of higher

opportunity cost resources. Therefore, the competitive advantages of these sectors

decrease. On the other hand, the resources of the new and weak competitive advantage

sectors are still abundant with lower opportunity cost resources. Therefore, the

competitive advantages of these sectors increase. This result is consistent with the

traditional economic theory which explains that a country tends to decrease the

competitive advantage in a commodity when it increases the production specialization

and exports the product to the world market.

Table 4-3: The OLS estimation results for the RCA indicators over three periods

β

0.74



1997 - 2005

R

0.79



β/R

0.95



β

0.83



2006-2016

R

0.89



β/R

0.93



β

0.63



1997 - 2014

R

0.71



β/R

0.89



Source: Own calculation based on the data of UN Comtrade (2017)

The mobility and stability of the RCA indicators by Markov matrix

The RCA values are classified into four groups including competitive disadvantage,

weak competitive advantage, medium competitive advantage, and strong competitive

advantage. The boundary of competitive and uncompetitive groups is remained (the

RCA neutral value is the unity) and the authors then divide the RCA values into 3

classes of weak, medium and strong advantages by quartile method (Table 4-4). Let pij

(i, j = 1, 2, 3, 4) denotes a one-step transition probability, that is the transition

probability for the agricultural sectors which are in class “i” of year “t” moving to class

“j” of year “t+1”.

The stability and mobility of the RCA indicators are investigated by using Markov

transition probability matrix and mobility index for yearly values of the RCA values



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from 1997 to 2014. The diagonal elements of Markov matrix show the probability of

remaining persistently in the initial class. The other elements of Markov transition

probability matrix provide further information on the mobility of the RCA values.

Specifically, they show the probabilities of moving from one class to another from the

year “t” to the year “t+1”. There is a 4x4 matrix with 1,037 observations.

Table 4-4: The classifications of RCA values and the interpretations

Categories

Class 1

Class 2

Class 3

Class 4



Interpretation

Non-competitiveness

Weak competitiveness

Medium competitiveness

Strong competitiveness



RCA Values

≤1

≤ 4.44

≤ 12.26

> 12.26



Source: Own calculation based on the data of UN Comtrade (2017)

The result indicates that the high probabilities of the RCA indicators remain in their

initial class (high diagonal elements) in which the uncompetitive sectors with 94.89

percent and the strong competitive sectors with 95.51 percent maintain the highest

probabilities and they are the most persistent. In other words, the sectors with initial

non-competitiveness seem to stay uncompetitive whilst the sectors with initial strong

competitiveness maintain to be competitive. The average probability of stability in

initial class is 85.49 percent whilst the average probability of mobility to other class is

4.84 percent. There is no sector moving from class 4 backwards to class 1 and class 2,

and from class 2 forward class 4. The probabilities of closer shifts are higher than the

probabilities of longer moves between classes. M-Shorrocks of 0.19, generally, shows a

relatively low degree of mobility between the classes in Markov matrix (Table 4-5).

Table 4-5: The M-Shorrocks and Markov transition matrix for the RCA values

M-Shorrocks

0.19

Average stability

85.49

Average mobility

4.84



Obs: 1,037

Class 1

Class 2

Class 3

Class 4

Total

Long run



Class 1

94.89

20

3.41

0

66.35

70.31



Class 2

4.82

73.14

15.91

0

16.88

16.74



Source: Own calculation based on the data of UN Comtrade (2017)



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Class 3

0.15

6.86

78.41

4.49

8.29

7.16



Class 4

0.15

0

2.27

95.51

8.49

5.78



90



The total and the long run distributions are relatively similar and this indicates that

the Markov matrix accurately captures the underlying distribution of the RCA indicators

(Hinloopen and Marrewijk, 2001). The difference between total and long run

probabilities, moreover, indicates that the shares of uncompetitive sectors increase

whilst the competitive sectors decline.

The trends of the RCA indicators

The result of trend analysis for the RCA indicators during the period of 1997–2014

shows that Vietnam has the gaining trends in 19 agricultural commodity sectors with β

> 0 and the country incurs the losing trends in 23 agricultural commodity sectors with β

< 0. The wood in chips, particles; fish etc., prepared, preserved; fish, fresh, chilled,

frozen; vegetable textile fibres; and animal oils and fats exhibit the most growing trend

in the revealed comparative advantage. This suggests that Vietnam continues to obtain

the stronger comparative advantage in these commodities during this period and in the

future. During the same period, rice; crustaceans, molluscs etc; fuel wood, wood

charcoal; natural rubber; and coffee, coffee substitute exhibit the most losing trend in

the revealed comparative advantage (Table 4-6).

Table 4-6: The top gaining and losing trends of the RCA indicators

Code

Commodity

246

Wood in chips, particles

037

Fish etc.prepd,prsvd.nes

034

Fish,fresh,chilled,frozn

265

Vegetable textile fibres

411

Animal oils and fats

046

Meal,flour of wheat,msln

062

Sugar confectionery

261

Silk

074

Tea and mate

071

Coffee,coffee substitute

231

Natural rubber, etc.

245

Fuel wood, wood charcoal

036

Crustaceans,molluscs etc

042

Rice

Gaining trend groups

Losing trend groups





1.2396

0.3956

0.3227

0.2220

0.1401

0.1027

0.0809

-0.3464

-0.3934

-0.4481

-0.4610

-0.4975

-1.2257

-2.4678

19

23



p-value

0.0000

0.0000

0.0030

0.0660

0.0000

0.0000

0.0000

0.0000

0.0000

0.0060

0.0070

0.0630

0.0000

0.0000



R^2

0.8786

0.6408

0.4357

0.1960

0.8069

0.8879

0.6023

0.6614

0.7728

0.3879

0.3710

0.2000

0.5750

0.8455



Source: Own calculation based on the data of UN Comtrade (2017)



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RCA

(1997)

4.99

6.76

2.74

3.97

0.01

0.16

0.55

6.59

11.38

17.45

19.90

6.53

20.62

66.33



RCA

(2014)

18.41

8.92

5.22

3.98

1.31

1.49

1.02

0.22

3.60

11.31

12.52

1.31

9.54

14.00



91



4.2 Vietnam’s agricultural trade competitiveness by the RTA

4.2.1 Measuring the static competitiveness

The analysis result of agricultural relative trade advantage at 3-digits level shows

that, in 2014, Vietnam obtains the strongest competitiveness in wood in chips; spices;

rice; natural rubber; and coffee,coffee substitute, coffee,coffee substitute, and fish

etc.prepd,prsvd.nes with the RTA values of 21.79, 19.27, 15.85, 13.02, 12.47, 12.47,

and 9.64, respectively, while the country has the weakest competitiveness in wood,

simply worked; crude animal materls.nes; animal feed stuff; maize unmilled; and cotton.

The world market share indicator in 2014 also indicates the similar results for the top

competitive agricultural sectors (Table 4-7).

Vietnam, in 2014, achieves the competitive advantages in 27 agricultural sectors.

Based on the classification of the RTA values into four groups by quartile method

(Table 4-10), the country has seven strong competitive advantage agricultural sectors,

four medium competitive advantage agricultural sectors, and 16 weak competitive

advantage agricultural sectors.

Vietnam, generally, has strong competitive advantages in crop sectors such as spices,

rice, coffee, tea, fruit & nut, and vegetables; and fishery sectors such as crustaceans and

fish whilst the country is definitely competitive disadvantageous in livestock sectors

such as live animal, meat, and eggs & birds; and processed food sectors such as

chocolate, cheese, butter, and other processed meat & foods (Table 4-7).

The average values of the RTA indicators for the full period 1997 - 2014 show that

Vietnam obtains 28 competitive advantage sectors and rice is the strongest competitive

advantages sector with the value of 44.99. The next highly competitive sectors in period

average are crustaceans and molluscs; spices; coffee,coffee substitute; and natural

rubber, and wood in chips with the values of 25.72, 19.73, 18.90, 18.70, and 12.03

respectively. There are significant variations between the RTA values in 2014, in 1997

and in the period average.



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Table 4-7: Vietnam’s top agricultural competitiveness by the RTA

No.

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

22

23

24

25

26

27



Code

246

075

042

231

071

037

036

034

265

074

057

035

054

046

245

058

122

411

062

056

061

059

112

223

047

421

017



Commodity

Wood in chips, particles

Spices

Rice

Natural rubber, etc.

Coffee,coffee substitute

Fish etc.prepd,prsvd.nes

Crustaceans,molluscs etc

Fish,fresh,chilled,frozn

Vegetable textile fibres

Tea and mate

Fruit,nuts excl.oil nuts

Fish,dried,salted,smoked

Vegetables

Meal,flour of wheat,msln

Fuel wood, wood charcoal

Fruit,preserved,prepared

Tobacco, manufactured

Animal oils and fats

Sugar confectionery

Vegtables,prpd,prsvd,nes

Sugars,molasses,honey

Fruit, vegetable juices

Alcoholic beverages

Oilseed(oth.fix.veg.oil)

Other cereal meal,flours

Fixed veg.fat,oils, soft

Meat,offl.prpd,prsvd,nes

Max

Average

Competitive groups



RTA

(1997)

5.04

22.22

82.34

19.65

18.86

6.87

22.59

2.69

3.93

11.52

2.42

3.94

1.26

-14.80

6.31

5.69

0.05

-0.12

-0.12

0.86

-0.51

-0.02

-0.07

0.16

-0.39

-0.29

0.40



RTA

(2014)

21.79

19.27

15.85

13.02

12.47

9.64

8.62

4.57

4.11

3.52

2.24

1.40

1.37

1.22

1.06

0.97

0.82

0.57

0.43

0.29

0.26

0.18

0.15

0.14

0.09

0.04

0.02

21.79

1.22

27.00



RTA

(1997-2014)

12.03

19.73

44.99

18.70

18.90

5.98

25.72

6.08

5.13

7.33

3.00

4.83

1.07

-3.42

3.98

1.81

0.27

0.19

0.16

0.41

-0.34

0.18

-0.01

2.26

-0.60

-0.73

0.06

44.99

2.24

28.00



Source: Own calculation based on the data of UN Comtrade (2017)

4.2.2 Analyzing the dynamics of the RTA indicators

The changes of the RTA indicators between 1997 and 2014

The variation of the RTA values between 1997 and 2014 shows Vietnam’s changes

in positions of competitive advantages. There are 33 competitive agricultural sectors in

1997 and only 27 competitive agricultural sectors in 2014. The country obtains the

increase of the competitive advantages in 22 agricultural sectors but losses the decrease

of the competitive advantages in 39 agricultural sectors.



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