| THE COORDINATION OF EFFORTS BETWEEN MULTIPLE
A requirement to gain efficiency in the competition for world markets
by Félix Peña
English translation: Isabel Romero Carranza
The opportunities to project into the world what a
country like Argentina is able to produce -in terms of goods, services
and creative activities- can be manifold.
However, if these opportunities are multiple and diverse, the number
of competitors interested in profiting from them can also be vast. Countries
and consumers have significantly increased their options in terms of which
goods to purchase, which services to use and which creative activities
to choose and, above all, where to get the supply of that which they need
Thus, the competition to access international markets has become much
more intense. In this context it comes as no surprise that many countries
have launched innovative strategies to compete with their goods and services
in the world markets.
There are two cases that are worth noting. Both have been reflected
by very recent reports. One is the case of the U.S. and the other is the
case of Ireland.
The common element that characterizes both cases is the coordination
of efforts at the government level and of the sectors related with production
and international trade. The action of the whole of society towards ambitious
goals that are perceived as achievable characterizes the initiatives of
These two cases are useful when considering the projection into the
world of what a country like Argentina can produce. They reflect the idea
that the necessary efforts can be multiplied if they result from the synergy
between the multiple protagonists, either from the government, business
or academic sectors.
The opportunities to project into the world what a country such as Argentina
is able to produce -in terms of goods, services and creative activities-
can be manifold, given, of course, that their current state and its future
evolution are accurately assessed. However, history shows that the risk
of delusion exists and that its effects can be costly for a country and
Among other factors, these opportunities stem from a relevant fact: there
are increasingly more countries with the conditions to become main players
in the global economic competition and, within them, consumers that have
the power to acquire goods and demand services that used to be out of
The data on the growth of the urban population and the middle classes
in many emerging economies, and in Latin America itself, evinces a trend
that is producing significant changes in the competition for world markets.
The number of consumers is increasing and, at the same time, their consumption
habits are changing deeply. This is due to the fact that more people are
living in big cities and are in contact with the values and preferences
espoused by the media and Internet. Additionally their income level has
However, if the opportunities are multiple and diverse, so are the competitors.
Countries and consumers have significantly increased their options in
terms of the goods they buy, the services they use and the creative activities
they choose and, above all, in terms of where to get the supply of that
which they need or prefer.
The competition to access world markets has thus become much more intense.
This is a fact that will continue to increase. Competition can even turn
very aggressive, leading to a pattern of "everybody against everybody"
that the world has experienced in other opportunities, not so long ago.
To protect the markets, even with very creative modalities, or to compete
with exchange rate policies are, among others, some of the threats that
have menaced the international scenario since the global financial and
economic crisis became apparent at the end of 2008.
In such context, it comes as no surprise that many countries are launching
ingenious strategies to compete with their goods and services in the world
markets. Two of these examples are worth noting for at least two reasons.
The first reason is because they are very recent cases, the second reason
is because they are countries which, rightfully so, consider that their
national interests have been seriously affected by the recent international
economic crisis. Indeed they have also been impacted by the new conditions
of the global economic competition that are the result, among other factors,
of an increasing number of relevant players and of strong shifts in the
relative power of nations.
The first of these examples is that of the strategy for the promotion
of exports that has been announced by the U.S. government. It is reflected
in the "Report to the President on the National Export Strategy:
The Export Promotion Cabinet's Plan for Doubling US Exports in Five Years",
published last September. (See the reference in the Recommended Reading
Section of this newsletter),
The other example is that of Ireland's strategy and plan of action for
trade, tourism and investments with a 2015 horizon. It is comprised in
the report "Trading and Investing in a Smart Economy", also
published last September by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Innovation
of the Government of Ireland. (See the reference bellow in the Recommended
The common element that characterizes both experiences, and that can
be found in the abovementioned reports, is the coordination of efforts
at the government level and at the level of the sectors of society related
with production and international trade. It is precisely the joint action
of the whole of society in pursuit of ambitious goals, which nevertheless
are perceived as realistic, what characterizes the proposals of both governments.
Their aim is to take advantage of the opportunities that are identified
and that may be fulfilled by the existing capabilities of a country, or
by those capabilities that may eventually be developed. In a certain way
this idea was expressed by Marina Silva, one of the candidates with a
prominent role in the recent first round of the presidential elections
of Brazil, at the beginning of her campaign: "To think about the
future based on the potential we have", and which was one of the
mottos she proposed as a means to attract the support of the citizens
of her country.
In the case of the U.S., the National Export Strategy (NEI), whose ambitious
goal is to double exports in the term of five years, assumes that this
will only be achievable if the big companies, the farmers and the SMEs
-described as the driving force behind economic growth- receive the encouragement
and support they need when trying to reach new markets for their goods
From there that the strategy proposed by the Export Promotion Cabinet
is the result of the joint effort of all the federal government agencies
involved and of intense consultation with different sources from the private
sector, within the framework of the Trade Promotion Committee (TPCC).
This joint effort translates into eight priorities which constitute the
essence of the strategy. However, the same report recognizes that, as
the plan is set into motion, the government will continue to seek the
opinion of the different protagonists. It will also adapt the NEI according
to the evolution of the economic and market conditions in the upcoming
years. This means that the foreign trade strategy is based on a "moving
target" criteria, which will demand the close follow up of a world
context that is characterized by its dynamism and its continuous and sometimes
In the case of Ireland, the defined strategy is also the result of a
joint effort of different government departments. Aside from the Department
of Enterprise, Trade and Innovation -that had the main responsibility-
the departments of Education and Skills; of Tourism, Culture and Sport;
of Foreign Affairs; and of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, participated
as well. It is also the continuation of an effort that was initiated in
For its global strategy, Ireland links three planes in which it can compete
based on a knowledge economy. These planes are: trade, tourism and investment.
The opportunities with regards to each one of them are identified as a
result of the assessment of what the world demands and what the country
is in condition to offer in a competitive manner. The roles that can be
played by each of the protagonists, including diplomatic missions abroad
and the members of the Irish Diaspora -i.e. the Irish and their descendants
who live in different countries around the world- are determined in accordance
with the necessary actions required on the three planes. Finally, the
plan includes eleven courses of action with concrete measures for its
The two cases mentioned above are useful when considering the world projection
of what a country like Argentina is able to offer. They acknowledge the
fact that the necessary efforts can be multiplied if they result from
the synergy between different protagonists, whether from the government,
business or academic sectors.
Such coordination of national efforts may be more necessary in three
fronts. The first front is that of the quality of the assessment regarding
the opportunities that may exist and of which other countries would be
in a position to benefit too. The second front is that of the quality
of strategic planning, including the roadmaps that will enable to capitalize
such opportunities and that are adaptable to the continuous changes in
reality. Finally, the third front is that of the quality of the international
associations conceived either by the country -for example through a network
of preferential trade agreements and of economic and technological cooperation-
or by its businesses -for example through the insertion of SMEs in transnational
value chains- (on this regard see our article "Desafíos del
comercio exterior argentino", in the magazine of the Stock Exchange
of Rosario, Year XCIX - 1511 /August 2010, pages 22 and subsequent on
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Europea, América Latina y el Caribe: 10 Años de Asociación
Estratégica", CELARE - Universidad Pedro de Valdivia, Santiago
de Chile 2010.
- Ascúa, Ruben; Beltrán, Carlos, "Exportaciones Argentinas.
Una mirada desde Santa Fé", Universidad Nacional del Litoral,
Santa Fe 2006.
- Baldinelli, Elvio, "Los Consorcios de Exportación en la
Argentina", Fundación Standard Bank, Buenos Aires 2010.
- Bown, Chad P., "Taking Stock of Antidumping, Safeguards, and
Countervailing Duties, 1990-2009", Policy Research Working Paper,
WPS 5436, Development Research Group - Trade and Integration Team, The
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Trade and Investment Agreements Lead to More FDI? Accounting for Key
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da Política Externa Brasileira à Luz do Interesse Nacional",
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- Río de Janeiro 2010, en http://www.cebri.org.br.
- Department of Enterprise, Trade and Innovation (Ireland), "Trading
and Investing in a Smart Economy. A Strategy and Action Plan for Irish
Trade, Tourism and Investment to 2015", Dublin 2010, en http://www.deti.ie/
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Trade: The 7th GTA report. A focus on Latin America", Global Trade
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and Agriculture Directorate - Trade Committee, Working Party of the
Trade Committee, OECD Trade Policy Working Paper N° 101 (TAD/TC/WP(2009)3/FINAL,
Paris 19-Jul-2010, en http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/.
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and Cost of Short-Term Trade Finance and its Impact on Trade",
OECD Trade Policy Working Paper. N° 98, OECD, Publishing (TAD/TC/WP(2009),31/FINAL,
Paris 02-Jun-2010, en http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/.
- Leiva Lavalle, Patricio (editor), "Impactos de la crisis internacional
sobre la economía chilena", LOM Ediciones, Universidad Miguel
de Cervantes y Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, Santiago de Chile 2010.
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Restructuring of Global Value Chains", Policy Research Working
Paper, WPS 5294, The World Bank, Washington May 2010, en http://www-wds.worldbank.org/
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Manual", ALOP, "El Mercosur ciudadano. Retos para una nueva
institucionalidad", Editorial B de F, Buenos Aires - Montevideo
- Saner, Raymond, "Trade Policy Governance Through Inter-Ministerial
Coordination. A Source Book for Trade Officials and Development Experts",
Republic of Letters - Publishing, Dordrecht 2010.
- The Export Promotion Cabinet (USA), "Report to the President
on the National Export Initiative. The Export Promotion Cabinet's Plan
for Doubling U.S. Exports in Five Years", Washington, D.C., September
2010, en http://www.whitehouse.gov/
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on Future Directions for Research", Policy Research Working Paper
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Washington September 2010, en http://www-wds.worldbank.org/
Félix Peña Director
of the Institute of International Trade at the ICBC Foundation. Director
of the Masters Degree in International Trade Relations at Tres de Febrero
National University (UNTREF). Member of the Executive Committee of the
Argentine Council for International Relations (CARI). Member of the Evian
Group Brains Trust. More