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Economic impacts of China's accession to the World Trade Organization


  • Ianchovichina, Elena
  • Martin, William


Ianchovichina and Martin present estimates of the impact of accession by China and Chinese Taipei to the World Trade Organization. China is estimated to be the biggest beneficiary, followed by Chinese Taipei and their major trading partners. Accession will boost the labor-intensive manufacturing sectors in China, especially the textiles and apparel sector that will benefit directly from the removal of quotas on textiles and apparel exports to North America and Western Europe. Consequently, developing economies competing with China in third markets may suffer relatively small losses. China has already benefited from the reforms undertaken between 1995 and 2001 (US$31 billion) and trade reforms after accession will lead to additional gains of around $US10 billion. Accession will have important distributional consequencesfor China, with wages of skilled workers and unskilled nonfarm workers rising in real terms and relative to farm incomes. Reduction in agricultural protection may hurt some farmers. Possible policy changes considered to offset these impacts include reductions in barriers to labor mobility and improvements in rural education. The authors estimate that the removal of the hukou system would raise farm wages and allow 28 million workers to migrate to nonfarm jobs. If, in addition, there is an increase in education spending that results in a percentage point increase in the annual skilled labor growth rate, approximately 32 million farm workers would leave their job for jobs in the nonfarm sectors. These policies would not only facilitate the evolution of China's economy toward high-technology manufacturing and services, they have the potential to much more than offset any negative impacts of accession on rural wages and rural incomes generally.

Suggested Citation

  • Ianchovichina, Elena & Martin, William, 2003. "Economic impacts of China's accession to the World Trade Organization," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3053, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3053

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bach, Christian F. & Martin, Will, 2001. "Would the right tariff aggregator for policy analysis please stand up?," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 23(6), pages 621-635, August.
    2. Elena Ianchovichina & Terrie Walmsley, 2005. "Impact of China's WTO Accession on East Asia," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 23(2), pages 261-277, April.
    3. Ianchovichina, Elena, 2001. "Trade Liberalization in China’s Accession to WTO," Journal of Economic Integration, Center for Economic Integration, Sejong University, vol. 16, pages 421-445.
    4. Will Martin, 2001. "Implications of reform and WTO accession for China' agricultural policies," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 9(3), pages 717-742, November.
    5. Hertel, Thomas, 1997. "Global Trade Analysis: Modeling and applications," GTAP Books, Center for Global Trade Analysis, Department of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University, number 7685.
    6. John Gilbert & Thomas Wahl, 2002. "Applied General Equilibrium Assessments of Trade Libereralisation in China," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 25(5), pages 697-731, May.
    7. Martin, Will, 2001. "Trade policy reform in the East Asian transition economies," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2535, The World Bank.
    8. Terrie L. Walmsley & Thomas W. Hertel & Elena Ianchovichina, 2006. "Assessing The Impact Of China'S Wto Accession On Investment," Pacific Economic Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 11(3), pages 315-339, October.
    9. Long Yongtu, 2000. "On the Question of Our Joining the World Trade Organization," Chinese Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(1), pages 5-52, January.
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