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Huang, Jingbo (1998) Foreign trade policy reform in China. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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Along with its domestic economic transition, China has carried out a series of reforms in foreign trade and achieved significant policy changes. This thesis shows that China's export policies moved from strong government incentives to a state of market competition while import policies were switched from strict controls to significant liberalisation. In particular, the intensive trade policy reform in the 1990s demonstrated that China has been moving closer to trade liberalisation in line with most international trade practices. Besides providing a comprehensive and updated account of China's trade policy reforms, this thesis contributes to understanding of the field by arguing that: (1) Unlike the trade policy reforms in some other countries, China seems to be a unique case due to its special economic and political conditions, its exclusive reform targets, its cautious reform approach, as well as its sensitive position in the world economy. (2) Econometric tests carried out in this study showed that China's trade policy reforms have been effective, although not all of them were optimal. China's move towards freer trade is thus shown to be the right choice for the economy and is consistent with the view that trade can positively promote growth. (3) China has followed a path of gradual reform with strong government intervention. Given the undeniable achievements and the special natures of trade policy reform, China's experience implies that the route to trade liberalisation can be varied and must be adapted to the specific conditions in the reforming country. (4) Trade liberalisation in China has been less conspicuous in terms of reform measures (for example, tariff reductions) made in the past reform period, due mainly to the incompleteness of the market economy. (5) The biggest challenge facing China is still how to combine trade liberalisation and government intervention, in order to establish a "socialist free trade system". Continuous emphasis on government control may contain the risk obstructing a sustained trade policy reform. China needs to adopt a "market-first" reform strategy to complete the establishment of a full-functioning market economy. The concept of "Chinese characteristics" can only be well-developed in market systems rather than in making use of the market forces on the basis of a government regulated economy. The reforms in the past years have provided a foundation for China to go further towards trade liberalisation. China could, and should, move faster toward trade liberalisation.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:00

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