China: The rise of a trade titan

SectorOil & Gas
CountryMiddle east

China is perhaps one of the most unprecedented stories of economic development in recent history. In the last 25 years, the country’s economy rapidly expanded, lifting more people out of poverty than anywhere else in the world. But all this wouldn’t have been possible without another outstanding story: the emergence of China from the periphery of world trade to becoming a global trade titan.

Genesis of a trade transformation While the rise of China as an export powerhouse became evident at the beginning of this century, the story began earlier. Towards the end of the 1970s, China began a set of reforms to upgrade its economy and open up to the world. At that time, its share of global trade stood at less than 1 percent. In 1986, to enhance and secure access to foreign markets for its growing exports, China applied to join the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). However, the accession process was derailed, and more...