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What Accounts for the Rising Sophistication of China's Exports?

In: China's Growing Role in World Trade

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  • Zhi Wang
  • Shang-Jin Wei

Abstract

Chinese exports have become increasingly sophisticated. This has generated anxiety in developed countries as competitive pressure may increasingly be felt outside labor-intensive industries. Using product-level data on exports from different cities within China, this paper investigates the contributing factors to China's rising export sophistication. Somewhat surprisingly, neither processing trade nor foreign invested firms are found to play an important role in generating the increased overlap between China's export structure and that of high-income countries. Instead, improvement in human capital and government policies in the form of tax-favored high-tech zones appear to be the key to the country's evolving export structure. On the other hand, processing trade, foreign invested firms, and government-sponsored high-tech zones all have contributed significantly to raising the unit values of Chinese exports within a given product category.
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Suggested Citation

  • Zhi Wang & Shang-Jin Wei, 2010. "What Accounts for the Rising Sophistication of China's Exports?," NBER Chapters, in: China's Growing Role in World Trade, pages 63-104, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:10449
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    1. Raymond Fisman & Peter Moustakerski & Shang-Jin Wei, 2008. "Outsourcing Tariff Evasion: A New Explanation for Entrepôt Trade," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(3), pages 587-592, August.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F1 - International Economics - - Trade
    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development

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