China's membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the exports of the developing economies of East Asia: a computable general equilibrium approach
There is a general perception particularly among the developing countries of East Asia that China's WTO membership would spell bad news for their exports. The ASEAN countries in particular are quite concerned about its likely negative impact on their export and growth potentials. In this light, the main objective of this paper is to empirically assess the trade implications of China's WTO membership for these countries. Only few studies, using a Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) approach, have addressed the issue of China's WTO membership trade implications. Further, these studies have not adequately addressed the issue from the perspective of the developing countries of East Asia, particularly the ASEAN countries. Using the latest version of the Global Trade Analysis Project (GTAP) model and based on the latest tariff reduction commitments by China, the results showed that, contrary to the current perception and previous studies, almost all of the developing countries of East Asia are likely to benefit from China's WTO membership overall, after allowing for anticipated price adjustments. Without the price adjustments, the Philippines and Singapore would have come out as net losers. These findings have confirmed the need for economic and export restructuring among the ASEAN countries and the importance of accelerating their economic integration. They have also highlighted the importance of promoting trade and investment cooperation between China and ASEAN countries.