Aciertos en la política industrial

DAVOS – En una época de pobre crecimiento económico mundial, los países en vías de desarrollo están desempolvando algunas viejas estrategias, en especial, el uso de la política industrial para impulsar el desarrollo de sectores específicos y convertirlos en motores de crecimiento y empleo; pero la trayectoria de esas políticas, especialmente en Latinoamérica y el Caribe, está llena de fracasos e historias con moraleja.

En las décadas de 1950 y 1960, muchos países de Latinoamérica y el Caribe abrazaron con entusiasmo la política industrial. Sustituyeron importaciones con productos locales, se centraron en los sectores prioritarios según lo dictaminado por la planificación gubernamental e implementaron programas de protección comercial selectiva –por ejemplo, mediante aranceles, cuotas y licencias de importación– para acelerar sus transiciones, desde proveedores de materias primas a economías manufactureras.

Mientras que los países del este asiático, como Corea del Sur, usaron esas políticas para lograr que ciertas industrias compitieran a escala global, los países latinoamericanos y del Caribe rara vez dieron en la tecla. A pesar de algunos éxitos notables, como el de Embraer, el fabricante de aeronaves brasileño, y el de la piscicultura de salmón en Chile, los gobiernos eligieron mayormente a perdedores, en gran medida porque la presión política, en vez del potencial competitivo de las empresas, gobernó el proceso de selección.

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