• C13;
  • F49;
  • Q17
  • European Union;
  • Agri-food trade;
  • Gravity model;
  • Trade creation;
  • Trade diversion


The proliferation of regional trade agreements in recent years has intensified the debate on the desirability of these agreements in themselves and their coexistence with multilateral free trade under the WTO. This study contributes to this debate by analyzing trade creation and trade diversion effects of the European Union on trade flows of six major agri-food products from 1985 to 2000. An extended gravity model is estimated employing pooled data and generalized least squares methods. The results show that the developments in the EU since the mid-1980s have served to boost agri-food trade significantly among the members. Some of the growth in intra-EU trade in agri-food products came at the expense of nonmembers as the EU reduced the degree of relative openness to trade with nonmembers during this period and diverted trade from the rest of the world into the intra-EU channels.