Book Description

China was steeped in the concepts and ideology of a planned economy for 30 years until reforms began in 1978. Although the country is now well on its way to becoming a market economy, its trading system remains shackled by its centrally planned past. Measuring the Costs of Protection in China analyzes some of the costs of trade protection and the corresponding benefits of liberalization for 25 highly protected sectors in China.

The book begins with a description of the development of China's trade administration system, sketching the obstacles to and prospects for further liberalization. The authors analyze the structure of Chinese trade protection and present their estimates of its static costs. They then offer an in-depth analysis of the country's trade regime and of the administrative barriers to rationalization and liberalization. The final chapter presents the authors' recommendations for improving China's trade system. They conclude that the short-term costs of trade liberalization for goods examined in the study will be substantial in terms of lost domestic output and lost jobs. The long-term benefits, however, would provide some $35 billion worth of consumer benefits.

Five appendices provide greater technical detail on the modeling and methodology applied in this study, as well as a brief description of some peculiarities of the Chinese trade regime-including copious levels of smuggling and monopolistic market structures.

The study was conducted by a team of Chinese economists at the independent Unirule Institute in Beijing, whose president is the prominent reformer, Mao Yushi. It is part of the Institute's series on the costs of protection in several major countries, which has previously produced publications on the United States, Japan, and Korea.

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