China: a Workshop of the World and a Market for Europe
China has become the world’s third largest exporter and will doubtless be number one in less than ten years. The recent elimination of textile quotas has opened European and North American markets to Chinese textile products. But machinery, electrical and electronic products actually account for the bulk of Chinese exports. These products stem mainly from factories owned by foreign companies located in China, which import components from Asia, and subsequently export finished products to world markets. This is one source of the asymmetry in trade between China and the United States and Europe, which tends to hide the fact that Europe is a leading supplier of imports for China’s domestic market. European companies should be well-placed to meet local demand were growth to be led more by domestic consumption. Such a scenario depends, however, on the evolution of the labour market and on the extent of rural-urban migration.
International trade; specialization; technology transfers
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