chapter  Chapter 7
Economy
WithJerome Ch’en
Pages 48

Western merchants continued to create demand for Chinese goods at home, for instance by obtaining the reduction of British tariff on tea under Peel and Gladstone, and for Western goods in China. Capital inflow from the treaty powers and from overseas Chinese remittances enabled the trade to grow more rapidly than before, culminating in the wartime and post-war boom of her exports and imports. Of cardinal importance to the whole treaty system of trade was the maritime customs service organized by the Chinese government according to the Nanking Treaty. From 1895 onward, especially after 1911, there arose a peculiar problem known as 'the balance of the customs revenue'. It was foreign competition which depressed China's tea and silk production. To industrialize at the expense of this type of subsistence economy in the twentieth century could be justified only if a complicated system was constructed to safeguard the interests of the peasants, out of humanitarian considerations.