The utilization of export opportunities in the world market: a comparison of Belgium, South Africa and Thailand
Steenkamp, Ermie A.
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A decision support model (DSM) was developed in 1995 by one of the authors with the main aim to identify realistic export opportunities (REOs) for a particular exporting country. The DSM results can assist export promotion agencies in designing export strategies to be better geared for the continuously changing international environment. In this study the results for the DSM applied for Belgium, South Africa and Thailand are analyzed and compared. The comparison includes an analysis of each country's potential to utilize the export opportunities available in the world market. This utilization potential is measured by using the revealed comparative advantage of each exporting country in producing and exporting the almost 5,500 HS six-digit level products. If an exporting country is specialized in exporting a particular product, the export opportunities identified by the DSM for that product are considered an actual (and not only potential) export opportunity. The comparison was done on a product and regional level. It was found that on average of the three countries investigated, Belgium is best adapted to utilize its potential export opportunities in the world market (around 50 percent of the potential export opportunities are also considered actual export opportunities), followed by Thailand (around 37 percent). Given South Africa's current production and export specialization, only around 20 percent of its total export potential can be utilized, which is dismally low.
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