The margins of export competition: A new approach to evaluating the impact of China on South African exports to Sub-Saharan Africa
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Journal of Policy Modelling
University of Cape Town
Chinese manufacturing exports to Sub-Saharan Africa challenge South Africa's economic influence in the region. To evaluate this, the paper develops and applies a conceptual framework that distinguishes between the intensive and extensive margins of Chinese export competition. South African exports of new and existing manufactured products to Sub-Saharan Africa are found to have been negatively affected by Chinese competition relative to exports from other countries. Consequently, South Africa's exports to the region in 2010 were 20% lower than they would have been if they had been affected to the same degree as other countries. The crowding-out effects are found to be strongest in medium- and low-technology products. Overall, the data suggest that Chinese exports of manufactures have diminished South Africa's participation and economic influence in the region.