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Performance Evaluations and Influencing Factors of the Agricultural Product Trade Supply Chain between China and Central Asian Countries

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Performance Evaluations and Influencing Factors of the Agricultural Product Trade Supply Chain between China and Central Asian Countries


1. Introduction

Since China joined the WTO in 2001, China has become increasingly closer to economic and trade exchanges with countries in Central Asia (Central Asian countries refer to the five countries of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan). Data shows that the total bilateral trade between China and Central Asian countries increased by 20 times from 2000 to 2020, and the total imports and exports of China have also increased by about 10 times during the same period, which indicates the high-quality cooperation between China and Central Asian countries and its contribution the Chinese economy. Development has played an increasingly important role. At the same time, with the continuous deepening of cooperation between China and Central Asian countries, the field of trade cooperation is also continuously expanding, including the field of equipment, the field of agricultural products, the field of mineral fuel, and the field of logistics facilities. Moreover, China’s exports to Central Asian countries are mainly primary products. Central Asian countries are mainly resource–energy products for China’s exports. The trade between the two makes up for the other party’s development shortcomings and improves the efficiency of resource utilization (http://www.mofcom.gov.cn/article/beltandroad/index_zh.shtml, accessed on 31 October 2022).
In 2013, China proposed the “Belt and Road” initiative to provide development opportunities for countries. Relying on the existing bilateral and multilateral mechanisms between China and relevant countries, and with the existing and effective regional cooperation platforms, the “Belt and Road” aims to borrow the historical symbols of the ancient Silk Road, hold high the banner of peaceful development, actively develop economic cooperation partnerships with countries along the route, and jointly build a community of interests, a community of destiny, and a community of responsibility with political mutual trust, economic integration, and cultural tolerance, especially for Central Asian countries. At the same time, changes in the global natural environment and the shrinking world economy also challenged and impacted the cooperation between China and Central Asian countries. To this end, in 2016, the most important document of the Chinese government pointed out that in order to ensure domestic food security and the supply of major agricultural products, it is necessary to make full use of the two resources and markets at home and abroad, ameliorating insufficient domestic agricultural resources and improving the agricultural operation environment (https://www.fmprc.gov.cn/web/ziliao_674904/1179_674909/202206/t20220609_10700888.shtml, accessed on 31 October 2022).

In recent years, the union and games between global economies have shown an increasingly intense trend. A series of emerging technical methods have been introduced in the field of logistics in the 1990s, which have been continuously improved and updated in theory of logistics management. In order to meet the development of the times and meet customer requirements, the logistics field is gradually concrete, and plays an important role in work, information, and funds. Additionally, many subjects such as terminal consumers can promote the improvement of operating efficiency from production to circulation in the coordination of market participation subjects in various parties, creating a comprehensive supply chain is an important part of China’s economic development. The logistics industry’s medium and long-term development plan (2014–2020) clearly proposes to improve the industrial structure and implement the overall strategy of regional development to implement a good industrial chain development system. The development of the industrial chain requires the leading role and radiation role of regional logistics hub cities and national logistics hub cities, thereby achieving cross-regional coordinated development of the logistics industry. To this end, the important strategies such as the “Silk Road Economic Belt”, the “Yangtze River Economic Belt”, and the “Maritime Silk Road Economic Belt” proposed by China build a logistics channel and important logistics centers connected to China and foreign countries, in line with the development direction of national strategy. It focuses on building strategic transport arteries in West Asia, South Asia and Central Asia, and on building transport arteries and key aviation hubs connecting rivers and seas and land and sea in the face of ASEAN. It also builds a joint system between countries and provinces to achieve the goal of sharing information resources and connecting basic logistics facilities. Under this opportunity, the construction of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the strengthening of the construction of transportation arteries in the western region can optimize the regional transportation environment and promote the development of special agricultural products industry, bulk cargo logistics industry and mineral products industry.

Xinjiang, China, as the bridgehead of the “Belt and Road”, has a unique geographical advantage. Xinjiang, China, borders Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. It is an important channel and window to China to Central Asian countries. The construction of the “Belt and Road” can promote the western, eastern, and central regions, not only to play the key window function and regional advantages of Xinjiang’s opening to the west, but also to further promote the communication and interaction between West Asia, Central Asia, and South Asian countries. Essentially, therefore, as the key hub of traffic along the “Silk Road Economic Belt”, economic, trade logistics and cultural science education bases, Xinjiang needs to continuously improve its infrastructure and use unique geographical advantages to further consolidate its mportant core position. The “Fourteenth Five -Year Plan and the Outline of the Variety Outline of 2035” emphasized the need to vigorously build the modern transportation industry, focusing on the construction of the International Logistics Corridor. In accordance with the support of Xinjiang’s core area, with the support of important cities such as Kashgar and Urumqi, the hub logistics advantages are radiated to Qinghai, Ningxia, Gansu, Shanxi and other provinces to connect the logistics channels in the northwest region of China Unicom to build a domestic supply chain network. This will further promote the international logistics network connecting Western and Central Asia, and even European countries. Data shows that after the initiative of jointly building the “the Belt and Road” was put forward in 2013, the agricultural trade scale between China and Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan increased by 39.6%, 30.7%, 14.7%, and 13.9%, respectively, in 2014 compared with the previous year. In 2021, Kazakhstan will rank first in the agricultural trade between China and the five Central Asian countries, with a total trade volume of 574 million USD, accounting for 53%. The second is Uzbekistan, with a total trade volume of 302 million USD, accounting for 28% (http://www.mofcom.gov.cn/article/beltandroad/index_zh.shtml, accessed on 31 October 2022). China’s agricultural products exported to the five Central Asian countries mainly include dried fruits, fresh fruits, drinks, etc. In 2021, China will mainly import wheat, oilseeds and barley from Kazakhstan, and cotton, flax, dried apricots and cherries from Kyrgyzstan; cotton and hemp silk are mainly imported from Tajikistan and Turkmenistan, and agricultural and sideline products such as dry beans and cotton and hemp silk are mainly imported from Uzbekistan. Additionally, with the advancement and popularization of internet technology, China’s supply chain development opportunities and challenges coexist. In recent years, the development of the supply chain has also faced certain opportunities and adjustments. On the one hand, the proposal of the “Belt and Road” initiative has brought development opportunities to the development of agricultural products. At the same time, the progress of internet technology has greatly improved the business environment, increased the trade volume between countries, and accelerated the rapid development of cross-border e-commerce. On the other hand, with the rapid development of China’s economy, the overall and related node companies of agricultural product trade supply chain and related node companies also face many problems (https://www.fmprc.gov.cn/web/ziliao_674904/1179_674909/202206/t20220609_10700888.shtml, accessed on 31 October 2022). Due to the rapid growth of China’s foreign trade, the infrastructure of important cities in related logistics hubs is lagging behind and cannot meet the throughput of goods. Meanwhile the high-quality and characteristic agricultural products produced by the majority of farmers are not tight enough with core enterprises, resulting in trade development dividends cannot benefit to the general public. Therefore, it is necessary to strengthen the construction of the agricultural product trade supply chain, strengthen the construction of high-quality agricultural product production bases in China, increase China’s agricultural products in the foreign agricultural product market, accelerate the process of agricultural industrialization, and then effectively realize the exchanges and docking with the international agricultural product trade market.

This paper studies the performance evaluation and influencing factors of agricultural product trade supply chain. The research on the performance evaluation and related influencing factors of agricultural product trade supply chain is not an integrated system as a whole, and there is no mature research on the construction of indicator system of influencing factors of agricultural product trade supply chain performance, most of which are scored by experts. Subjective evaluation methods and ostensibly related research are lacking in objective performance evaluation and empirical research combining theory and practice. Therefore, research on methods that can provide reference for agricultural trade supply chain performance evaluation, construction of relevant evaluation indicators, empirical analysis of relevant influencing factors, and improvement path of performance improvement is relatively lacking.

4. Empirical Test and Analysis

4.1. DEA-BCC Comprehensive Evaluation Results

In order to make the evaluation results more complete, according to the above evaluation results, the overall performance evaluation analysis of the evaluation object is carried out. The specific content is shown in Table 5 and Table 6.
Judging from the overall performance evaluation data of DEA-BCC, the average performance level of China and Central Asia agricultural product trade supply chain is 0.621, and the performance status is in the middle range. There is an obvious downward trend, which indicates that there are some key problems. The overall technical benefit is at a relatively high level, and the comprehensive benefit is mainly affected by the scale benefit. The change trend of the scale benefit is similar to the comprehensive benefit. It shows that China and Central Asian countries can further develop their development potential by adjusting and optimizing resources. It is necessary to adjust the direction of resource input and improve the resource utilization rate of both sides. According to the actual situation of both sides and supply chain related investment, policy communication, logistics and transportation foundation Facility connectivity, financial connectivity and other aspects are effectively adjusted to achieve the optimal allocation of resources, thereby achieving close cooperation. The specific results are shown Table 7 and Table 8 and Figure 4.

From the perspective of the overall return to scale, except for 2010, the other years were in a state of increasing returns to scale, and the overall performance was low, which means that if the scale is too small, the scale can be expanded to increase efficiency. To further improve cooperation in relevant policy communication, infrastructure and other aspects, to increase resource input in all aspects, form economies of scale, and improve resource management capabilities, thereby improving the performance level of China and Central Asia’s agricultural trade supply chain.

In the process of cooperation, the main reason for the low performance is that the cooperation value of the agricultural product trade supply chain, their respective resource input, technology, management and other capabilities are different. Therefore, we should consider the advantages of their agricultural resources to further develop greater development potential by adjusting and optimizing resources. In the process of agricultural product trade supply chain cooperation, we should combine the resource value of partners.

4.2. The Relationship between Technical Benefit, Scale Benefit and Comprehensive Benefit

Comprehensive benefit is the product of technical benefit and scale benefit, so comprehensive benefit, technical benefit and scale benefit interact and restrict each other. Technical benefits refer to the benefits generated by the decision-making unit through the improvement of the relevant management level and technical level. Scale benefit is the standard to measure whether an organization’s production scale is in the most appropriate scale. The value of scale benefit is equal to the comprehensive benefit divided by the technical benefit. In order to correctly judge the impact and restriction degree of the technical benefits and scale benefits on the comprehensive benefits of the agricultural product trade supply chain, in this section, the comprehensive benefit, technical benefit, comprehensive benefit and scale benefit of the scatter chart are used to analyze their impacts and constraints. The closer the points in the scatterplot are to the diagonal line, the stronger the impact and restriction of technical benefits and scale benefits on comprehensive benefits, and vice versa.

As can be seen from Figure 5, from the scatter plot of comprehensive benefit and technical benefit, most of the scatter points deviate from the diagonal line, indicating that the impact of technical benefit on comprehensive benefit is relatively small. From the scatter plot of comprehensive benefits and scale benefits, scatter points are on the diagonal or closer to the diagonal, which indicates that scale benefits have a greater impact on comprehensive benefits and have a closer relationship. In a word, the scale benefit of the agricultural trade supply chain affects and restricts the overall benefit more.

4.3. Panel Tobit Regression Test

Referring to the existing research, this section will use the Tobit regression model for parameter estimation [47]. The basic model settings are as follows:



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where i is the ith country and t represents the tth period. Among them, SCP represents the performance of the agricultural product trade supply chain, LM represents the logistics development and market environment of the Central Asian countries, FEC represents the capital and e-commerce of the Central Asian countries, CE represents the customs environment of the Central Asian countries, and SS represents the relevant security management and trust of the Central Asian countries. RS represents resource sharing among Central Asian countries, ui represents the individual random error term, ut represents the time random error term, and εit represents the disturbance term.

It draws a scatter plot between China and Central Asian countries’ cross-border agricultural product supply chain performance and various influencing factors (Figure 6).
According to the scatter plot shown above, there is a relatively obvious positive relationship between the influencing factor variables of each dimension and the cross-border agricultural product supply chain. A sound environment is conducive to improving the efficiency of the trade supply chain and promoting the cooperation. In addition, the dimensional variables have different effects on the performance of the agricultural product trade supply chain. The slope of the regression line is fitted, and this correlation does not explain the problem. As for the relationship between the specific variables of each dimension and the performance of the agricultural product trade supply chain, the relationship between the two needs to be established on the basis of detailed quantitative analysis, and the specific empirical analysis results will be further given in Table 9.
Formula (4) shows the Central Asian countries customs environment (CE), funds and e-commerce (FEC), security management and trust and system (SS), logistics development and market environment (LM), information resource sharing (RS), and cross-border agricultural supply chain performance levels (SCPθ). The model estimation results are shown in Table 9. It can be seen from the model estimation results that the regression results of the influence of Central Asian countries’ trust and customs environment on the performance of China-Central Asian cross-border agricultural product supply chain show that the standardization coefficient is −0.4922 (p p p p p

5. Discussion and Conclusions

According to the DEA-BCC calculation results, the overall performance evaluation index of the performance evaluation of the agricultural product trade supply chain is 0.615. It is consistent with the basic logic of an agricultural trade supply chain. The overall performance evaluation results show an obvious downward trend, which shows that there are some key problems. The technical benefits are generally at a relatively high level, and the comprehensive benefits are mainly affected by scale benefits. Technical benefits refer to the benefits generated by the decision-making unit through the improvement of the relevant management level and technical level. The technical benefits of the trade supply chain reflect the influence of the technical level and relevant management level of the agricultural product trade supply chain after excluding the influence of the scale factor. The scale remained unchanged from 2010 to 2012, but from 2013 to 2019 it has a downward trend, and it is now returning to an upward trend. On the whole, the performance shows that the existing technology utilization ability and management ability still have more room for improvement and development, and the technology needs to be improved and the supply chain management needs to be strengthened to achieve the highest performance level. From the perspective of scale benefits, the return to scale in 2010 remains unchanged. In terms of overall performance, it indicates a downward trend, in the state of increasing returns to scale, and the performance level is in the lower middle range.

According to the Central Asian countries’ customs environment, funds and e-commerce, security management, trust, systems, logistics development and market environment, information, resource sharing, and other factors, the performance level of the agricultural product trade supply chain carry out relevant empirical analysis. From the results of influencing factors, the customs environment of Central Asian countries has a negative and significant inhibitory effect on the performance of the agricultural trade supply chain; this shows that the existing customs environment has certain obstacles to the performance of the agricultural trade supply chain. Funds and e-commerce in Central Asian countries, security management and trust and systems in Central Asian countries, logistics development and market environment have a significant positive role in promoting agricultural product trade supply chain performance to varying degrees, which is consistent with the basic situation of reality.

China and Central Asian countries should proceed from their respective advantages in agricultural resources, more fully reflect the value of cooperation in the supply chain of agricultural products trade between China and Central Asia, and reflect their respective capabilities in resources, technology, management, etc., and further develop them by adjusting and optimizing resources. Greater development potential, in the process of agricultural product trade supply chain cooperation, the resource value of partners should be combined, efforts should be made to reduce the production and trade costs of each link of the agricultural product trade supply chain, and efforts should be made to improve the interests of the cooperative members of the agricultural product trade supply chain. The connection mechanism and interest connection are the core link of the agricultural product trade supply chain cooperation and supply chain formation, which realizes the seamless connection of information, transactions and settlements between cooperative members of the agricultural product trade supply chain. Efforts should be made to implement measures according to local conditions, pay attention to scientific thought and rationality, and make effective adjustments according to the actual situation of both parties and supply chain-related aspects such as investment, policy communication, logistics and transportation infrastructure connectivity, and financial integration, so as to achieve the optimal allocation of resources. The cooperation level of the agricultural product trade supply chain will strengthen the overall benefits brought by the agricultural product trade supply chain cooperation and improve the overall performance of the agricultural product trade supply chain.

The better development of e-commerce, the more conducive to changing the inefficiency of previous economic and trade cooperation, improving the information processing efficiency of both parties, and shortening the relevant payment and related trade links; the logistics and transportation efficiency of the Central Asian countries and the forecast market demand are relatively underdeveloped. The logistics and transportation infrastructure of China’s aid to the Central Asian countries can effectively strengthen the interconnection between China and the Central Asian countries. National security management and related systems have a significant positive impact on cross-border agricultural product supply chain performance. In the process of cross-border trade, the related security management of partner countries and the improvement of the transparency of related trade policies can effectively reduce trade conflicts between countries and transaction costs, which is conducive to optimizing the impact environment, helping China and Central Asian countries to cooperate in the agricultural product trade supply chain, and promote the growth of agricultural trade flow. The information resource sharing of Central Asian countries has a positive impact on the performance of agricultural product trade supply chain, but it has not passed the significance test, and the impact is not large. Therefore, work should be undertaken to improve the ability to integrate agricultural resources, make use of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and strengthen multilateral transport infrastructure cooperation. Work should also be done to improve the supporting environment for the coordination of cross-border e-commerce and cross-border logistics of agricultural product, and to strengthen policy communication according to local conditions, and strengthen support for Chinese enterprises in the overall layout of the supply chain of agricultural products trade.

This paper also has certain study limitations. The existing research on agricultural product trade supply chain is less, the relevant theoretical research is not deep enough, and the complete system has not been formed, which brings certain difficulties to this article. As the performance evaluation of the agricultural trade supply chain is relatively complex and extensive, the performance evaluation of the trade supply chain not only involves the main body of the whole supply chain system, but also involves many aspects such as the process and technical support in the operation process. In the future, I hope that the selection of evaluation indicators in this paper, based on previous studies, will improve the performance evaluation of agricultural trade supply chain.

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