China and OECD - Trade


The People's Republic of China and the OECD share a history of co-operation dating back to the mid-1990s. China's remarkable economic performance and its increasing importance make that partnership more relevant than ever.

China’s effective integration into global supply chains across many industries and the world trading system has been an important driver for its economic growth and dramatic poverty reduction. The increase in merchandise trade volume and output of products with increasingly high domestic content, as well as an increase in services trade, demonstrate the dynamic and changing structure of China’s economy. Its increased level of integration makes China an important stakeholder in maintaining the openness and stability of the multilateral trading system.

Did you know?

In 2010 China became the world’s largest exporter, outpacing Germany and the US.

OECD analyses the impact of further trade openness on different economic sectors and regions, as well as on employment, the environment and overall economic growth in OECD and key emerging economies. As such the Organisation promotes an improved understanding of the role of trade in the economy. As China continues to dominate discussions of trade and with global economic integration an important factor in the ongoing economic recovery, the OECD remains highly engaged with China in developing and implementing its trade policy agenda.

The OECD examined China’s market openness in the context of the OECD’s Review of Regulatory Reform in China (2009). The review found that as China implemented “second generation” trade-related reforms, it would need to focus on border and domestic regulatory barriers. The study proposed a series of policy recommendations to make China’s regulatory framework more market-oriented and trade and investment friendly.

% change in merchandise trade, 2000 - 2008
China and selected other economies

Source: OECD Main Economic Indicators

The OECD is also working on comparative advantage. Analysis of specialisation patterns among exports show that many emerging economies, including China, have a similar export structure as OECD economies, especially in the growth in human capital-intensive products. This work further shows that many of the intermediate inputs imported by China have a high capital and skilled-labour content. The publication Globalisation, Comparative Advantage and the Changing Dynamics of Trade synthesises OECD work on comparative advantage and underscores the importance of physical and human capital, the availability of credit, and the quality of regulations, notably labour market institutions, for competitiveness.

China is also covered in the International Collaborative Initiative on Trade and Employment (ICITE), a joint undertaking of 10 international organisations (including UNCTAD, World Bank and WTO) working together to better understand the mechanisms by which trade interacts with employment. The ultimate goal of this Initiative, which is coordinated by the OECD, is to promote policy dialogue and develop policy recommendations on the trade-employment nexus.

Export credits

Governments provide official export credits through Export Credit Agencies in support of national exporters competing for overseas sales. The OECD develops and monitors international disciplines in this area to ensure a level-playing field amongst exporters and to reduce trade distortions. The Arrangement on Officially Supported Export Credits stipulates the most generous financial terms and conditions for officially supported export credits. The OECD also provides a forum for discussion and coordination of national export credit policies.

As a major provider of official export credits, China participates in the OECD's work, namely by attending meetings of the Participants to the Arrangement on Export Credits and the OECD Working Party on Export Credits and Credit Guarantee. In April 2009, China joined the Statement on Export Credits and the Financial Crisis in which governments agreed to co-ordinate export credits support to help boost international trade and investment during the global economic crisis.

Taken from:

Active with the People's Republic of China (pdf, 56 pages, 1.5 MB)
An overview of OECD work with China on issues including agriculture, industry, environment and social policy

See also:
 OECD Trade Committee: Working Together with Non-member Partners (pdf, 4 pages, 172 KB)
Information on how the OECD Trade Committee is engaging with key non-member partners in current OECD work on trade.


 More OECD work on trade and China

OECD Trade Policy Working Papers (free to access and download):




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