Escaping the Middle Income Trap

The V4 can learn from China's experience

3 June 2019

While not really underneath any direct influence from Beijing, the V4 can take heed of which Chinese policies have been successful and attempt to avoid any foreseeable pitfalls. Specifically, the V4 is not escaping the middle income trap fast enough, so they need to be strategic about learning from the Chinese experience more than focusing on attracting Chinese investment.

The current US-China conflict over trade and technology has dramatised to the world the rise of China as a superpower that has become the world’s second biggest economy, the world’s biggest exporter, and a possible challenger to the world’s biggest economy for technological leadership, at least in some sectors.

China’s rise is even more meteoric given its humble 1978 starting point of a per capita GDP just 1,5% of that of the US.

While China has obviously achieved its spectacular economic success in the context of an authoritarian system, a question worth asking whether any specific policy objectives of China may be relevant to the Visegrad region despite radically different political systems.

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Martin Miszerak

He is a regular contributor to the Financial Times and a Visiting Lecturer at the Renmin Business School in Beijing. In the 1990s he served as privatisation adviser to the Polish government and was heavily involved in the reform of the financial sector. Subsequently, he became CEO of one of Poland’s mass privatisation funds.

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