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China and the Manufacturing Terms-of-Trade of African Exporters

Nelson Villoria ()

Journal of African Economies, 2009, vol. 18, issue 5, 781-823

Abstract: China's export expansion is commonly associated with lower global manufacturing prices. For most countries, lower prices heighten global competition but also allow importing a cheaper and wider set of inputs and consumer goods. This paper investigates the balance of these two forces in Kenya, Mauritius and the Southern Africa Customs Union, the largest exporters of manufactured goods in sub-Saharan Africa. The paper uses the economic geography model of Redding and Venables (in Economic geography and international inequality, Journal of International Economics, 62, 53-22, 2004) to decompose the import growth of a large number of countries into supply and demand capacities. This decomposition allows for analysis of the extent to which China's export growth has altered manufacturing import and export prices for the selected countries. The study finds that China has significantly decreased world prices in major markets for manufactures, especially textiles, wearing apparel and footwear, potentially displacing the clothing exports of the selected African countries. As a consequence of China's export growth, these focus countries have also seen substantial reductions in their import prices across all manufacturing sectors. However, an estimation of their terms-of-trade suggests that the reductions in export prices outweigh the decrease in import prices and the countries are deemed to lose from China's manufactures export expansion. Copyright 2009 The author 2009. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Centre for the Study of African Economies. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oxfordjournals.org, Oxford University Press.

Date: 2009
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