The Export Miracle

Part of the Studies on the Chinese Economy book series (STCE)


One of the most remarkable things about China’s rise as an international trader is the speed with which the economy changed from being essentially closed to one in which export volumes and the resultant trade surplus have begun to create problems for the international system. In November 1995, US trade ambassador, Charlene Barshefsky, went so far as to claim that China’s trade surplus with the United States was set to eclipse that of Japan, and that this level of trade imbalance between the two countries could be sustained neither economically nor politically.1 While we will want to quarrel with the US trade negotiators’ interpretation of the trade data and will do so below, that is not our point in raising the issue at this early stage in the study. We raise it to show the impact China’s exporting performance is having on what is still the world’s leading economy and only superpower. The rapid growth of China’s foreign trade is already reshaping international political economy: a major feat in so short a time span.


Foreign Trade Pearl River Delta Domestic Firm Foreign Capital Export Volume 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Charlene Barshefsky, Statement before the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs, 29 November 1995; D. Hughes and S. Yim, South China Morning Post International Weekly, 18 Nov 1995, p B1; D. Hughes, South China Morning Post International Weekly, 14 Oct 1995, p B1.Google Scholar
  2. 10.
    Yan Shanping, ‘Export-Oriented Rural Enterprises’, Jetro China Newsletter, 118, Sept–Oct 1995, p 10.Google Scholar
  3. 11.
    Ibid., p 9; even with the exclusion of foreign-invested enterprises in rural areas from the statistics, domestic rural industry was contributing 40 per cent of total industrial output in 1995 (China Statistical Yearbook 1996, p 401). Although the statistical basis was changed making comparison difficult, 1996 data would tend to suggest this trend has continued with domestic rural industry contibuting over 43 per cent of industrial output value (China Statistical Yearbook 1997, p 411). With the output of foreign-invested enterprises in the rural areas, rural industry now clearly contributes a majority of total output. At the same time the contibution of the state sector continues to fall — to 28 per cent in 1996 (ibid.).Google Scholar
  4. 12.
    Yan Shanping, op. cit., pp note 10–11.Google Scholar
  5. 15.
    Yan Shanping, op. cit., note 10 JETRO China Newsletter, 118, Sept–Oct 1995, p 10.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Thomas Chan, Noel Tracy and Zhu Wenhui 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hong Kong Polytechnic UniversityHong Kong
  2. 2.International Relations and Political EconomyFlinders University of South AustraliaAdelaideAustralia
  3. 3.China Business CentreHong Kong Polytechnic UniversityHong Kong

Personalised recommendations