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How vertically specialized is Chinese trade?

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  • Dean, Judith
  • Fung, K.C.
  • Wang, Zhi

Abstract

Two recent phenomena have transformed the nature of world trade: the explosive growth of Chinese trade, and the growth of vertically specialized trade due to international production fragmentation. While vertical specialization may explain much of the growth and unique features of Chinese trade, few papers have quantitatively assessed these two phenomena together. In part, this is because it is difficult to measure just how vertically specialized Chinese trade is. The unique features of China's extensive processing trade cause both the identification of imported intermediate goods, and their allocation across sectors, to depend upon the Chinese trade regime. In this paper, we estimate the vertical specialization of Chinese exports, addressing these two challenges. Using two Chinese benchmark input-output tables, and a detailed Chinese trade dataset which distinguishes processing trade from other forms of trade, we develop a new method of identifying intermediate goods imported into China. Vertical specialization is then estimated using two methods. The first method uses the Hummels, Ishii and Yi (2001) measure, the official benchmark IO tables, and incorporates our identification correction. The second method follows the first, but also incorporates the Koopman, Wang and Wei (2008) method of splitting the benchmark IO tables into separate tables for processing and normal exports, in order to address the allocation problem. Results show strong evidence of an Asian network of intermediate suppliers to China, and the two methods provide a range of estimates for the foreign content of Chinese exports. In 2002 aggregate exports ranges between 25% and 46%, with some individual sectors are as high as 52! %-95%. Across destinations, under both methods, the vertical specialization of Chinese exports declines with the level of development of the trading partner. JEL Codes: F10, F14 Keywords: China, fragmentation, vertical specialization, trade growth

Suggested Citation

  • Dean, Judith & Fung, K.C. & Wang, Zhi, 2008. "How vertically specialized is Chinese trade?," BOFIT Discussion Papers 31/2008, Bank of Finland, Institute for Economies in Transition.
  • Handle: RePEc:bof:bofitp:2008_031
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Chen, Xikang & Cheng, Leonard K. & Fung, K.C. & Lau, Lawrence J. & Sung, Yun-Wing & Zhu, K. & Yang, C. & Pei, J. & Duan, Y., 2012. "Domestic value added and employment generated by Chinese exports: A quantitative estimation," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 850-864.
    2. Song, Malin & Zhang, Jie & Wang, Shuhong, 2015. "Review of the network environmental efficiencies of listed petroleum enterprises in China," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 65-71.
    3. Fidrmuc, Jarko & Korhonen, Iikka, 2010. "The impact of the global financial crisis on business cycles in Asian emerging economies," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 293-303, June.
    4. Dmitriy Izotov, 2013. "Zones with China's concessional regime: spatial concentration and foreign trade contribution," Economy of region, Centre for Economic Security, Institute of Economics of Ural Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences, vol. 1(1), pages 123-132.
    5. Judith M. Dean & Mary E. Lovely, 2010. "Trade Growth, Production Fragmentation, and China's Environment," NBER Chapters,in: China's Growing Role in World Trade, pages 429-469 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Jesse Mora & Nirvikar Singh, 2013. "Trade productivity upgrading, trade fragmentation, and FDI in manufacturing: The Asian development experience," Indian Growth and Development Review, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 6(1), pages 61-87, April.
    7. K. C. Fung & Nathalie Aminian & Chris Y. Tung, 2016. "Some characteristics of innovation activities: Silicon Valley, California, China and Taiwan," Economic Change and Restructuring, Springer, vol. 49(2), pages 221-240, August.
    8. Aksoy, M. Ataman & Ng, Francis, 2013. "Demand growth versus market share gains : decomposing world manufacturing import growth," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6375, The World Bank.
    9. Françoise Lemoine & Deniz Ünal, 2012. "Scanning the Ups and Downs of China’s Trade Imbalances," Working Papers 2012-14, CEPII research center.
    10. Dietzenbacher, Erik & Pei, Jiansuo & Yang, Cuihong, 2012. "Trade, production fragmentation, and China's carbon dioxide emissions," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 88-101.
    11. Robert Koopman & William Powers & Zhi Wang & Shang-Jin Wei, 2010. "Give Credit Where Credit Is Due: Tracing Value Added in Global Production Chains," NBER Working Papers 16426, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Roberts, Ivan & Rush, Anthony, 2012. "Understanding China's demand for resource imports," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 566-579.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F10 - International Economics - - Trade - - - General
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade

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