Spatially detailed agricultural and food trade between China and the United States

Akshay Pandit, Deniz Berfin Karakoc, Megan Konar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The United States and China are key nations in global agricultural and food trade. They share a complex bilateral agri-food trade network in which disruptions could have a global ripple effect. Yet, we do not understand the spatially resolved connections in the bilateral US-China agri-food trade. In this study, we estimate the bilateral agri-food trade between Chinese provinces and U.S. states and counties. First, we estimate bilateral imports and exports of agri-food commodities for provinces and states. Second, we model link-level connections between provinces and states/counties. To do this, we develop a novel algorithm that integrates a variety of national and international databases for the year 2017, including trade data from the US Census Bureau, the US Freight Analysis Framework database, and Multi-Regional Input-Output tables for China. We then adapt the food flow model for inter-county agri-food movements within the US to estimate bilateral trade through port counties. We estimate 2,954 and 162,922 link-level connections at the state-province and county-province resolution, respectively, and identify core nodes in the bilateral agri-food trade network. Our results provide a spatially detailed mapping of the US-China bilateral agri-food trade, which may enable future research and inform decision-makers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number084031
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2023


  • China
  • United States
  • agriculture
  • food
  • high-resolution
  • networks
  • trade

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • General Environmental Science
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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