Research on Virtual Water in the Chinese International Grain Trade


Focusing on virtual water in the international grain trade, this paper calculates the virtual water volume embodied in the international grain trade (mainly rice, wheat, corn and soybean) from 1990 to 2012 in China. By doing so, this paper tries to evaluate the contribution of virtual water in trade grains to the agricultural water use in China and its effect on global water resources. The results reveal that the Chinese grain trade and the virtual water trade have maintained a significant deficit over 23 years and that there is a significant negative correlation between the volumes of imported virtual water and water used for agriculture. Each unit of imported virtual water can reduce agriculture water use by 0.306 units; the water saving effect brought by the international crop trade and the grain trade gap are not synchronous. As a result, we present our proposals for enhancing efficient allocation of water resources and maintaining a sustainable ecological development of the environment.

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Wang, X. and Hu, J. (2015) Research on Virtual Water in the Chinese International Grain Trade. Modern Economy, 6, 735-746. doi: 10.4236/me.2015.66070.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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