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Week 10 Reading Keller, Li And Shiue, 2010 Notes

History And Economics Notes > Chinese Economic History Since 1850 Notes

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Topic 10: "China's Foreign Trade: Perspectives From the Past 150 years" (Keller, Li and Shiue, 2010)

"CHINA'S FOREIGN TRADE: PERSPECTIVES FROM THE PAST 150 YEARS" (KELLER, LI AND SHIUE, 2010) ABSTRACT Volume of foreign trade remained limited initially Notable expansion in the diversity of products New goods became imported into China Regional diffusion of foreign goods was facilitated greatly by the expansions of the port system Hong Kong was an intermediary in China's trade Long-term fluctuations suggest learning effects China's recent growth is in line with her income growth

INTRODUCTION Sir Henry Pottinger was overly optimistic about the opportunities for world trade for China Reasons for modern success of Chinese trade Contemporary view: China's recent success was primarily as a result of the post-1978 reforms Contradicts the idea that sustained economic growth requires simultaneous political reform Present day view: China's currency interventions that keep the Renminbi from appreciating China's entry into the WTO in the year 2001 Were more important reasons How did opening of China by West affect growth?
View 1: China would have benefited from the increase in trade if it 'hadn't arrived through gunboats' View 2: Foreign trade at the time was too trivial in size to matter for China View 3: Slowed down her growth Chinese Maritime Customs (CMC)service Setup and run by the West to govern China's foreign trade Because Qing government were unable to project effective rule Local powers competed with official stated goals Introduced a consistent set of rules Transfer of a Western institution Evidence supports that this increased trade and welfare Notable expansion in the diversity of product categories and new goods that were imported into China Previous authors have overlooked this 50% faster than US between 1970-2000 Therefore product variety gains are not limited to highly developed countries Importance of Hong Kong suggests high fixed learning costs to trade during this period Importance of Hong Kong suggests high fixed learning costs to trade Larger countries conduced less of their trade with China through HK than smaller countries HK's trade intermediation became less important over time China's recent position in world trade appears less exceptional in light of its long-run history Recent growth due to 2 factors: Reversion from the depressed levels of the pre-1978 period Lifting of trade restrictions Current footprint in world trade is mainly that of a very large country rapidly industrializing



Opening of China for trade in 19th century has been examined by many authors o E.g. Morse 1926, Fairbank, 1978 (Descriptive accounts) Trade came about through a quasi-colonial set-up imposed by Western powers o Early writers see this in a negative way
? Opium addiction
? Destroying domestic industry o Modern writers:
? Foreign trade was small

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