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Abstract

This study examines whether international trade statistics can be used to provide a useful estimate of the extent of trade in, and the potential market for, giant clam meat. It evaluates the contribution of two reports which assessed potential export markets for giant clam meat. It also discusses the value of investigating the potential export market demand for giant clam meat using possible substitutes as a guide. International trade statistics are found to be insufficiently disaggregated to draw any conclusions as to the volume of trade. In addition, even if the commodity could be distinguished, assessment of any country's potential market demand for giant clam meat would require an accompanying in­depth market analysis. The two previous studies of the potential export market demand for giant clam meat used differing methodologies and reached different conclusions. At one extreme, Compass suggested a very large potential export market to many countries based on a diverse range of clam meat uses. At the other extreme, Dawson conducted a market analysis in only four countries which focussed on identifying a narrow range of existing and potential uses. This study examines the use of giant clam adductor muscle as a possible substitute for other seafood products using a characteristics approach and a review of studies of own-price, cross and income demand elasticities for seafoods. Substitution possibilities exist but the review suggests that market expansion, based on securing market share from adjacent commodities in characteristics space, may be difficult. Aggressive pricing to establish a market is likely to be counter-productive.

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