The scope and direction of international agricultural trade among nations depend on a number of factors. This study, thus, sought to identify and evaluate the determinants of trade in live animals and animal products among member countries in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) sub-region. Panel data on values of bilateral merchandise imports of agricultural commodities (HS Codes 1-24) at 2-digits were obtained from the International Trade Centre (ITC) for the years 2001 to 2011. The data were analysed using descriptive statistics and gravity model. The value of all agricultural commodities imports within the region for the period stood at 4.56 billion US dollars, which accounted for 6.38% of the total value for all commodities imports in the region. Imports of live animals and animal products constituted 18.46% of all agricultural products imports for the period. The results also indicated that regional characteristics such as importer and exporter’s Gross Domestic Products (GDPs), geographical distance, contiguity and usage of common official language did significantly affect the trade in live animals and animal products. Intra-ECOWAS imports of these products were consistent with the gravity theory and the trade pattern followed the Heckscher-Ohlin’s theory of trade. The study therefore recommends that effort be made to improve on infrastructural facilities and harnessing of the resource endowments of member-countries to promote greater trade within the region.
Key words: Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), livestock trade, regional integration.
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