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China'S Nexus Of Foreign Trade And Economic Growth: Making Sense Of The Anomaly


  • Dic Lo

    () (Department of Economics, SOAS, University of London, UK)


Using a range of specifications that are standard in the relevant literature, this paper finds that China’s rapid and sustained economic growth in the reform era has tended to be negatively correlated with its export growth and positively correlated with its import growth. This finding runs counter to widely-held perceptions on China’s nexus of foreign trade and economic growth, and thus presents a serious challenge for interpretation. On the basis of some further regression analyses, and drawing on a number of applied studies on the subject matter, the paper argues that the finding is plausible and of complex ramifications. The conclusion which this paper arrives at, therefore, is that the Chinese experience has tended to be a case of strategic integration into the world market, rather than conforming to the standard neoclassical thesis of trade regime neutrality.

Suggested Citation

  • Dic Lo, 2004. "China'S Nexus Of Foreign Trade And Economic Growth: Making Sense Of The Anomaly," Working Papers 143, Department of Economics, SOAS, University of London, UK.
  • Handle: RePEc:soa:wpaper:143

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. David Greenaway & David Sapsford, 1994. "What does liberalisation do for exports and growth?," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 130(1), pages 152-174, March.
    2. Balassa, Bela, 1978. "Exports and economic growth : Further evidence," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 181-189, June.
    3. Romer, Paul, 1994. "New goods, old theory, and the welfare costs of trade restrictions," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 5-38, February.
    4. Lee, Jong-Wha, 1995. "Capital goods imports and long-run growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 91-110, October.
    5. Dic Lo & Thomas M. H. Chan, 1998. "Machinery and China's nexus of foreign trade and economic growth," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 10(6), pages 733-749.
    6. Yu, Qiao, 1998. "Capital investment, international trade and economic growth in China: Evidence in the 1980-1990s," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 73-84.
    7. Pack, Howard & Westphal, Larry E., 1986. "Industrial strategy and technological change : Theory versus reality," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 87-128, June.
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    More about this item


    China; foreign trade; economic growth;

    JEL classification:

    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • F43 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Economic Growth of Open Economies


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