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A decomposition analysis of horticultural trade flows is carried out to identify the main sources of change in EC horticultural imports from different LDC regions. Sources of change are associated with each region's international competitiveness, the relative openness of the EC market, the degree of trade preference enjoyed by the region, and the EC global import growth. The main contribution to the LDC export growth of fruit and vegetables to EC between 1975-79 and 1985-89 is found to be attributable to the global import growth effect. However, it has been significantly counteracted by the negative effect of a declining share of non-EC suppliers as a group. Marked interregional differences in changes in regional preferences show a lack of a strong correlation between LDC export performance and the existence of preferential trade agreements with EC. While the potential for LDC export growth to EC is clear, the results seem to indicate that in general EC protection policies have adversely affected import growth from LDCs. Various factors influencing LDC export performance in horticultural products arc discussed. Apart from EC protection policies and changes in trade preferences, domestic supply factors arc of significance in explaining export growth, including a liberal trading environment, but also specific policies to promote exports of horticultural products. While non-price competition weakens the discriminatory effect of preferential tariffs, there is a pressing need for developing countries to adapt to the demands of the European distribution system relating to quality, grades, and regularity of supplies.


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