El mito del regreso de la manufactura

CAMBRIDGE – El decenio que precedió a la crisis financiera de 2008 se caracterizó por unos enormes desequilibrios comerciales mundiales, pues los Estados Unidos acumularon grandes déficits bilaterales, en particular con China. Desde que la crisis llegó a su nadir, se han corregido en parte dichos desequilibrios, pues el déficit comercial de los EE.UU., como porcentaje del PIB, se ha reducido de su nivel más alto de 5,5 por ciento en 2006 a 3,4 por ciento en 2012 y el superávit de China se ha reducido de 7,7 por ciento a 2,8 por ciento en el mismo período, pero, ¿se trata de un ajuste temporal o está próxima la reequilibración a largo plazo?

Muchos han citado como prueba de una reequilibración más duradera la “vuelta a casa” de la manufactura de los EE.UU. que antes se había trasladado a mercados en ascenso. Apple, por ejemplo, ha establecido nuevas instalaciones en Texas y Arizona y General Electric se propone trasladar la producción de sus lavadoras y refrigeradores a Kentucky.

Varios indicadores señalan que, tras decenios de declive prolongado, la competitividad de la manufactura de los EE.UU. está, en efecto, aumentando. Mientras que los costos laborales se han incrementado en los países en desarrollo, han permanecido relativamente estables en los EE.UU. En realidad, el tipo de cambio real y efectivo, ajustado conforme a los costes laborales unitarios de la manufactura de los EE.UU., se ha depreciado en un 30 por ciento desde 2001 y en un 17 por ciento desde 2005, lo que indica un rápido deterioro de la ventaja representada por los bajos costos de los mercados en ascenso... y un impulso importante de la competitividad de los EE.UU.

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