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    Harper Adams secures AHDB contract for modelling trade agreements

    Posted 22 December 2020

    A team at Harper Adams University has secured a contract with England’s agricultural development board to model the impacts of international trade agreements on UK agriculture.

    The impacts of future international trade agreements on UK agriculture will be modelled by a team from the Land and Agri-business Management Department at Harper Adams under a 3 year contract with the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board (AHDB).

    The team will work closely with AHDB and was selected for their International Agri-Food Trade Network (IAFTN) model, which better reflects the important dimensions of agricultural and food chains across and between countries.

    Senior Lecturer in Applied Farm and Rural Economics at Harper Adams University and developer of the model Dr Daniel May said the model better reflects the realities of domestic and international trade.

    Dr May said: “We know in the real world that markets, food chains and trade do not operate under perfect competition - which is the core assumption to previously used trade models.

    “Given the market power of intermediaries such as large supermarket chains and different sized markets, as well as the multitude of trade agreements the UK and their trading partners can have with other countries, simple country to country perfect competition trade models fail to take these realities into account.

    “This novel trade network modelling approach considers trade agreements in a world with imperfect competition.”

    As the Brexit transition period ends on 31 December 2020, understanding the impacts of international trade agreements is more vital than ever.

    Areas of concern such as tariffs, food standards and the competitiveness of farmers and food chains between trading countries are taken into consideration by the IAFTN model.

    The project was awarded as part of a tender process and will run until the end of 2023. The forecasts from this work will be used to inform AHDB reports and these reports can be found at

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