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China’s Emergence and Prospects as a Trading Nation


CHINA'S ECONOMIC REFORM and its opening to the outside world have resulted in the phenomenal growth of its output and international trade. Manufactured export growth took off after 1984, and GDP growth accelerated as well. Between 1984 and 1995, real GDP grew by 10.2 percent annually, according to official Chinese statistics. The nominal value of exports grew by 17 percent annually, while manufactured exports grew by 22 percent per year. The rapid growth of exports, combined with devaluation of the yuan, the Chinese currency, pushed the ratio of foreign trade (exports plus imports) to GDP from 10 percent in 1978 to 17 percent in 1984 and to 44 percent in 1994. In 1978, China accounted for only 0.75 percent of total world exports, but by 1995, it accounted for 3.0 percent. Together, these numbers indicate the extent of China's emergence as a trading nation




Nicholas Lardy

Anthony M. Solomon Senior Fellow, Peterson Institute for International Economics

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