Discussion Paper Details

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Title: How Did China's WTO Entry Benefit U.S. Consumers?

Author(s): Mary Amiti, Mi Dai, Robert Feenstra and John Romalis

Publication Date: June 2017


Programme Area(s): International Trade and Regional Economics

Abstract: China's rapid rise in the global economy following its 2001 WTO entry has raised questions about its economic impact on the rest of the world. In this paper, we focus on the U.S. market and potential consumer benefits. We find that the China trade shock reduced the U.S. manufacturing price index by 7.6 percent between 2000 and 2006. In principle, this consumer welfare gain could be driven by two distinct policy changes that occurred with WTO entry. The first, which has received much attention in the literature, is the U.S. granting permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) to China, effectively removing the threat of China facing very high tariffs on its exports to the U.S. A second, new channel we identify is China reducing its own input tariffs. Our results show that China's lower input tariffs increased its imported inputs, boosting Chinese firms' productivity and their export values and varieties. Lower input tariffs also reduced Chinese export prices to the U.S. market. In contrast, PNTR had no effect on Chinese productivity nor export prices, but did increase Chinese entry into the U.S. export market. We find that at least two-thirds of the China WTO effect on the U.S. price index of manufactured goods was through China lowering its own tariffs on intermediate inputs.

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Bibliographic Reference

Amiti, M, Dai, M, Feenstra, R and Romalis, J. 2017. 'How Did China's WTO Entry Benefit U.S. Consumers?'. London, Centre for Economic Policy Research.