Made in China 2025 as a Challenge in Global Trade Governance: Analysis and Recommendations

CIGI Paper No. 183

August 15, 2018

This paper provides a reassessment of Made in China 2025 (MIC 2025) — China’s industrial policy framework aimed at helping the country overcome the much-maligned middle-income trap — in the context of global trade governance. It suggests that China’s industrial policies have been viewed too narrowly — without sufficient attention to longer-term global governance issues — by a large segment of the global business and policy-making community. The paper argues that the general aims of MIC 2025 and the policies that underpin them are not unreasonable, given the increasingly prevalent dilemmas in global trade that China’s leaders are grappling with. These include problems of international development arising from growing global industrial concentration — driven by the growth of the intangible economy — and China’s shrinking access to importing and developing technological components (such as semiconductor chips) that are increasingly characterized as “dual-use” by China’s trading partners. This suggests that resolving the concerns of China’s trading partners regarding China’s industrial policies requires global trade governance reform to ensure an equitable, rules-based global trading order that addresses the legitimate needs of developing and middle-income economies in acquiring foreign-owned technological components and know-how, for the purposes of economic development. The paper concludes by outlining specific recommendations for Canada’s policy makers in improving their economic relationship with China in the context of MIC 2025.

About the Author

Anton Malkin is a CIGI fellow whose research focuses on China’s role in the global economy, with a focus on finance and intellectual property.