Reevaluation on China’s real trade benefit: a research based on the export implied environmental cost

LI Zhen1 CHEN Tianming1 LI Maolin1 ZHAI Xiaoying1

(1.School of Economics, East China Normal University, Shanghai, China 200062)

【Abstract】The direct cause of Sino-US trade frictions lies in the fact that the US believes that China’s long-standing trade surplus has made China obtain the so-called “unequal interests.” However, China bears the environmental pollution loss caused by the production of a large number of trade products in the large volume of import and export trade. This paper used the real implied pollution emission model in foreign trade to account for the implied industrial pollution emission in import and export trade, and used the structural decomposition model to analyze the reasons for the change of the implied pollution emission in import and export trade from five aspects, namely, emission intensity, technical structure, import and export scale, import intermediate input, and import and export structure, combining with the ExternE model and Logistic model to account for economic losses caused by all kinds of implied pollution emission in the trade. The environmental cost of pollutants is included in the trade interest system to evaluate China’s real trade interest. It comes to the following conclusions. First, during 2007–2015, in addition to the V-shaped change in the implied emissions of smoke (dust), the closer industrial production links, technical links and the decreasing intensity of pollution emissions made the other implied emissions decrease year by year. This shows that the emission reduction strategy cannot be achieved at the expense of export scale, and we should focus on the intensity of pollution emission, the upgrading of trade structure and the terminal treatment of pollutants. Second, the import intermediate input for export should be eliminated from the import, otherwise, the import implied exhaust gas emissions of 23.08%–32.70% and the import implied effluent discharge of 23.49%–33.59% will be overestimated, which will lead to the overestimation of China’s real trade interests. Third, the loss of real welfare of the industrial sector’s export trade caused by the three industrial wastes is about 9% every year. The human health loss caused by the exhaust gas accounts for the highest proportion of the total export implied emission environmental cost, followed by the agricultural loss and waste water loss caused by the exhaust gas. Fourth, there is no directly inevitable relationship among the contribution rate of trade, the emission of industrial pollutants and the rate of economic loss. The marginal contributions of this paper are mainly reflected in four aspects. First, the implied environmental cost of net export is removed from the net added value of trade to examine a country’s real trade interests. Second, the research on trade implied emissions is further expanded to study the environmental costs and real trade benefits of trade implied emissions, and the research subject is also changed from single carbon dioxide emissions to general pollutant emissions. Third, the structural decomposition of the cross-period changes in the emissions of the implied pollutants of value-added trade is carried out in order to find out the impact mechanism behind them. Fourth, the research cycle is 2004–2014, which can make a more objective and in-depth analysis of the implied pollution cost and real trade benefits of China’s value-added trade under different international economic and trade relations before and after the crisis.

【Keywords】 decomposition of trade value added ; environmental cost embodied in export value added; real trade benefit; economic loss rate;


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CN: 31-1012/F

Vol 46, No. 06, Pages 64-78

June 2020


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