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China's Foreign Trade: Perspectives From The Past 150 Years

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Executive Summary

This paper studies the trade of China in the past 150 years, starting from the first opening of China after the Opium War. The main purpose of the paper is to identify what is China's 'Normal' level of foreign trade, and how these levels changed under different trade regimes, from 1840 to the present. The authors present new evidence on China's foreign trade during the treaty port era, drawn from disaggregated trade data collected by the Chinese Maritime Customs Service that yields important findings for current research. The paper emphasizes the roles that history and institutional change have played in this.

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