Trade Integration and the Trade Balance in China

42 Pages Posted: 27 Aug 2018

See all articles by George Alessandria

George Alessandria

Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia

Horag Choi

Monash University, Economics Department

Dan Lu

University of Rochester

Date Written: August 2017


We study China’s growth and integration (trade and financial) in a two-country DSGE model with a dynamic exporting decision, pricing-to-market, incomplete financial markets, and aggregate shocks to trade barriers, productivity, and preferences. We estimate the changes in technology, trade costs, and preferences accounting for the dynamics of China’s gross and net trade flows, export participation, real exchange rate, and growth from 1990 to 2014. We find a large unanticipated decline in bilateral trade barriers with persistent, but not permanent, innovations that include an important gradual, phased-in component. Since the Great Recession, average bilateral barriers have stabilized at low levels even as barriers on Chinese imports have risen substantially relative to exports. Trade stagnation since 2011 largely reflects the completed transition to past trade reforms rather than an increase in trade barriers or reversal in the expected pace of future integration. Trade is forecast to decline almost 1 percent per year starting in 2017. Changes in trade barriers are an important determinant of China’s trade balance and its accumulation of foreign assets, accounting for as much as 70 percent of the foreign assets accumulated by 2014. Shocks to trade barriers and in China are found to have increased ROW consumption by 11.9 percent and employment by 0.6 percent but lowered ROW output by less than 1 percent relative to 1990.

Keywords: E31, F12

Suggested Citation

Alessandria, George A. and Choi, Horag and Lu, Dan, Trade Integration and the Trade Balance in China (August 2017). IMF Economic Review, Vol. 65, Issue 3, 2017. Available at SSRN: or

George A. Alessandria (Contact Author)

Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia ( email )

Ten Independence Mall
Philadelphia, PA 19106-1574
United States
(215) 574-6402 (Phone)
(215) 574-4364 (Fax)

Horag Choi

Monash University, Economics Department ( email )

900 Dandenong Road
Caulfield East, Victoria 3145
+61-3-9903-2848 (Phone)

Dan Lu

University of Rochester ( email )

300 Crittenden Blvd.
Rochester, NY 14627
United States

Register to save articles to
your library


Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics