EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

How would shifting manufacturing from China to Indonesia or India impact human health and social economy?

Qi Ran1,2, Shao-Yi Lee2, Duofan Zheng1,2, Han Chen1,7, Shili Yang3, John Moore4,5,6, and Wenjie Dong1,2
Qi Ran et al.
  • 1School of Atmospheric Sciences, Key Laboratory of Tropical Atmosphere-Ocean System, Ministry of Education, Sun Yat-sen University, Zhuhai, 519082, China.
  • 2Southern Marine Science and Engineering Guangdong Laboratory (Zhuhai), Zhuhai, 519000, China.
  • 3Beijing Meteorological Observation Centre, Beijing Meteorological Bureau, Beijing, 100089, China.
  • 4College of Global Change and Earth System Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, 100875, China.
  • 5Arctic Centre, University of Lapland, Rovaniemi, 96101, Finland.
  • 6CAS Center for Excellence in Tibetan Plateau Earth Sciences, Beijing, 100101, China.
  • 7Central-South Architectural Design Institute Co.,Ltd., Wuhan 430064

The COVID-19 pandemic is reshaping the global trade and supply chains, and some developed countries may consider relocating strategic manufacturing operations out of China, providing new opportunities for some South and Southeast Asian countries. Since the shift of manufacturing is accompanied by redistribution of emission sources of air pollutants, the impacts on environment and human health of the countries directly involved and their neighbors, should be considered. We used the Community Earth System Model, the Integrated Exposure-Response (IER) model and Willingness To Pay (WTP) method, to simulate fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and the socio-economic responses to shifting manufacturing from China to Indonesia or India. Our results show that significant effects on PM2.5 related mortality and economic cost for these deaths were seen in many East, Southeast and South Asian countries, particularly those immediately downwind of these three countries. Transferring all of export-related manufacturing to Indonesia resulted in significant mortality decreases in China and South Korea by around 78k (5 per 100k) and 1k (2 per 100k) respectively, while Indonesia’s mortality significantly increased (73.7k; 29 per 100k), as well as India, Pakistan and Nepal. When manufacturing was transferred to India, mortality rates in East Asia show similar responses to the Indonesian scenario, while mortalities in India increased dramatically by 87.9k (6 per 100k), and mortalities in many neighbors of India also severely increased. Shifting manufacturing to India in our simulations led to more Asian countries showing significant changes in PM2.5 related deaths and economic costs than an equivalent shift to Indonesia. This is because of the maritime Indonesian setting as well as patterns of surface winds. Nevertheless, the economic costs for these deaths were much smaller than national GDP changes in China (0.9% of GDP vs. 18.3% of GDP), India (2.7% of GDP vs. 84.3% of GDP) or Indonesia (9.4% of GDP vs. 337% of GDP) due to shifting all of export-related production lines from China to India or Indonesia. Perhaps the most concerning aspect of this study is the damage to “innocent” victims of any manufacturing shifts in third countries that do not see any domestic economic gains. Morally, part of the benefits of economic activity should be used to compensate the neighboring communities where mortality increases occur.

How to cite: Ran, Q., Lee, S.-Y., Zheng, D., Chen, H., Yang, S., Moore, J., and Dong, W.: How would shifting manufacturing from China to Indonesia or India impact human health and social economy?, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-3715,, 2023.

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