Structural Change, Performance and Demand on Resources
Edited by Ligang Song and Haimin Liu
Chapter 7: China’s shift from being a net importer to a net exporter of steel and its implications
China for a long time prior to the 1990s was an importer of steel products, reflecting the fact that its domestic supply could not meet its demand in terms of both quantity and quality of steel products. From 1990, the country began to export steel products, but in the following 15 years remained a net importer. With the rapid growth of its exports, and the local industry’s increasing ability to compete with imports, China became in 2005 a net exporter of steel products (see Figure 7.1). The massive increase in China’s steel exports since then reflects the fact that the country’s underlying comparative advantage has begun shifting from labour-intensive to capital-intensive production, which coincides with the mid phase of industrialization characterized by the level of China’s per capita income in the second half of the first decade of the twenty-first century.
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