Is China ‘crowding out’ South African exports of manufactures?

R. Jenkins, Lawrence Edwards

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This article analyses the impact of Chinese competition on South African manufacturing exports to its major markets in Europe, the United States and Sub-Saharan Africa. The article considers five related research questions. First, are China and South Africa competing with each other in export markets, how extensive is such competition and how is this changing over time? Second, to what extent has Chinese competition led to the displacement of South African exports? Third, in which countries have South African exports been most affected? Fourth, which South African export sectors face the greatest threat from Chinese competition? Finally, how does South Africa's experience compare to that of Brazil, another middle-income country and regional power. We find that competition between South Africa and China increased significantly over the past decade, particularly in African markets. All types of manufactured exports lost ground to China, but the impact is strongest in low-technology products. South African exports have nevertheless increased from 2001 so that ‘crowding out’ should be interpreted in relative terms.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)903-920
Number of pages18
JournalEuropean Journal of Development Research
Early online date27 Jan 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • China
  • South Africa
  • Sub-Saharan Africa
  • exports
  • manufactures
  • competition

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