Trade with China: Do the Figures Add up?

Pub. Date
24 April, 1997
Pub. Type

There are wide discrepancies in bilateral trade data compiled by China and by its trading partners, particularly the United States. This paper investigates the main reasons, notably the role of Hong Kong as an entrep™t, and develops a methodology to provide more accurate estimates for these trade flows. It extends the Sung-Lardy method in recent literature and achieves a reconciliation of the two data sets by China and by its partners. The effects of using improved data are demonstrated in an application to examine fair market access in China-US bilateral trade undertaken by Tower (1993). The paper also presents new estimates of UK trade with China indicating flows in each direction that are nearly double the published figures.