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    International Perspectives


    © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 4/1999

    These selected examples from academic experts and international organizations formed part of the contributions to the event. Further contributions can be found on the Executive Forum Web site and in the forthcoming publication, Redefining Export Promotion.

    Export Clustering in Nicaragua

    EcoHamaca is a network of 11 handicraft hammock producers located in Masaya, Nicaragua. Each firm competes separately on the local market, but collaborates to develop foreign markets. Masayan wood and furniture producers standardized designs and production specifications and consolidated export-oriented production and pricing.

    The network now has legal status, and it has hired a business development and training manager. Firms have adopted an ecologically friendly strategy that focuses on substituting the wood used for poles from a threatened species to a more abundant species and on using natural rather than chemical dyes. A common brand "made in Masaya" has been launched to promote local identity and establish cluster-wide production standards. Eventually the brand will be extended to all hand-crafted products produced in the cluster.

    Contributed to the Executive Forum by Giovanna Ceglie, United Nations Industrial Development Organization

    Checklist: National Competitiveness Framework

    Macroeconomic stability. A stable, predictable macroeconomic environment for enterprise development, characterized by low budget deficits, tight inflation control and competitive exchange rates.

    Liberalization. An outward-oriented, market-friendly trade and industrial regime emphasizing dismantling of import controls and tariffs.

    Foreign investment. A pro-active foreign investment strategy which targets a few realistic sectors and host countries, encourages overseas promotional offices as public-private partnerships, creates competitive investment incentives and streamlines investment approval processes.

    Training. Sustained investment in human capital at all levels (particularly tertiary-level scientific, information technology and engineering education) and increased enterprise training, including assistance for industry associations to launch training schemes, an information campaign to educate firms about the benefits of training and tax breaks for training.

    Technology. Comprehensive technology support for quality management, productivity improvement and technical services for small and medium-sized enterprises. Examples: establish grants for small and medium-sized enterprises to obtain ISO 9000 certification; create productivity centres; commercialize public technology institutions.

    Finance. Access to ample industrial finance at competitive interest rates through prudent monetary policy management; competition in the banking sector; training for bank staff in assessing lending risks and specialist soft loans for small and medium-sized enterprises.

    Infrastructure. Efficient, cost-competitive infrastructure for air and sea cargo, telecommunications, Internet access and electricity.

    Contributed to the Executive Forum by Ganeshan Wignaraja, Commonwealth Secretariat from his paper: "Tackling National Competitiveness in a Borderless World," Commonwealth Business Council Policy Paper 1, 1999.

    How Firms "Go Global": The Classic Internationalization Process

    Stage 1: Partial Interest in Exporting. Prepared to fill an unsolicited export order, but does not make the effort to explore the feasibility of exporting.

    Stage 2: Exploring Exports. Actively exploring the feasibility of exporting, but exporting less than 5% of total sales.

    Stage 3: Experimental Exporter. Exporting on an experimental basis to countries that are geographically close or which share a culture similar to the domestic market, with exports representing over 5% of total sales.

    Stage 4: Emerging Exporter. Export sales exceeding 5% of total sales; ready to adjust export offerings to changes in the commercial environment, but still exporting only to countries that are close geographically or culturally.

    Stage 5: Experienced Exporter. Export sales are greater than 5% of total sales; currently exploring the feasibility of exporting to additional countries that are distant and have different cultures.

    Contributed by Masaaki Kotabe and Michael Czinkota to the Executive Forum, based on their earlier joint article, "State Government Promotion of Manufacturing Exports: A Gap Analysis", Journal of International Business Studies, 23, fourth quarter 1992, pp. 637-658.