Shanghai’s Trade, China’s Growth: Continuity, Recovery, and Change since the Opium War
AbstractIn this paper, we provide aggregate trends in China’s trade performance from the 1840s to the present. Based on historical benchmarks, we argue that China’s recent gains are not exclusively due to the reforms since 1978. Rather, foreign economic activity can be understood by developments that were set in motion in the 19th century. We turn our focus to Shanghai, currently the world’s largest port. Shanghai began direct trade relations with western nations starting in 1843. By 1853, Shanghai already accounted for more than half of China’s foreign trade. In tracking the levels and growth rates of the city’s net and gross imports and exports, foreign direct investment, and foreign residents over more than a century, we find that Shanghai’s level of bilateral trade today with the United States, the United Kingdom, or Japan, for example, are by no means high given Shanghai’s 19th century experience. This paper argues that a regional approach that embeds national trading destinations within an international trading system provides a meaningful approach to understanding the history of China’s trade.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 8808.
Date of creation: Jan 2012
Date of revision:
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Other versions of this item:
- Wolfgang Keller & Ben Li & Carol H Shiue, 2013. "Shanghai's Trade, China's Growth: Continuity, Recovery, and Change since the Opium Wars," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 61(2), pages 336-378, June.
- Wolfgang Keller & Ben Li & Carol H. Shiue, 2012. "Shanghai’s Trade, China’s Growth: Continuity, Recovery, and Change since the Opium War," NBER Working Papers 17754, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- F10 - International Economics - - Trade - - - General
- F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
- F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business
- N65 - Economic History - - Manufacturing and Construction - - - Asia including Middle East
- N70 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services - - - General, International, or Comparative
- N95 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History - - - Asia including Middle East
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2012-03-28 (All new papers)
- NEP-HIS-2012-03-28 (Business, Economic & Financial History)
- NEP-INT-2012-03-28 (International Trade)
- NEP-TRA-2012-03-28 (Transition Economics)
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