China plays a hugely important world role – and the effects of the crisis could be choppy and lasting
by Phillip Inman, economics editor
China reached this position by supplanting the US as the fulcrum of global trade. Beijing is the largest trader of merchandise in the world, and is fast catching the US in commercial services following an 18% growth spurt in 2018. The long-held practice of sourcing components and widgets from Chinese companies, and the country’s vast and growing domestic market, has encouraged thousands of foreign businesses to open their own factories on the mainland, join local distribution networks and open shops. Advertisement
China is also central to a diverse range of global supply chains: much of the world’s raw materials travel to China before being turned into a manufactured product. Last year’s battle with the US over import tariffs on billions of dollars’ worth of goods illustrated the power of the Chinese economy to disrupt and disturb the global outlook.