Abstract: Focuses on the United States government’s policy on the Big Emerging Markets (BEM), which include the Chinese Economic Area, South Korea, Indonesia, India, South Africa, Poland, Turkey, Mexico, Brazil and Argentina. BEMs’ investment on infrastructure projects; BEM’s share of global gross domestic product; Projected increases in world imports; Lessons learned from the BEM strategy.
THE BIG EMERGING MARKETS
During his tenure as Under Secretary of Commerce, the author was one of the architects of the Clinton administration’s Big Emerging Markets policy under Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown. He is now
dean of the Yale School of Management. The Clinton policy emerged out of a growing conviction that some ten markets will account for the overwhelming growth potential in world imports, not to mention commensurate growth in economic and political influence around the world. These markets include, in Asian–the Chinese Economic Area (China, Hong Kong and Taiwan), South Korea, Indonesia and India; in Africa–South Africa; in Central Europe–Poland and Turkey; and in Latin America Mexico,Brazil and Argentina. The administration concluded that, because many of these countries still have important state sectors, and because virtually all are focusing heavily on infrastructure projects that demand the involvement of local governments, U.S. companies need the U.S. government at their side to win a fair hearing. What is more, because of the intensity of foreign competition and the capital demands on these countries, international competitors will be public/private partnerships in which foreign governments provide concessionary financing and aggressive advocacy to support their companies’ efforts.
Discovering the BEMs
During the first year of the Clinton administration, a good deal of analysis was conducted to answer the questions, If we look toward the next century, where will we find the engines of American growth? What
markets hold the most promise? What is the role of the U.S. government in helping to ensure that we realize that promise? Although such questions seem rational enough, as far as Washington has been concerned in past years, they have rarely been pursued in the international economic arena, let alone answered. Nevertheless, the Clinton administration broke with past patterns. It put an enormous amount of effort into looking over the immediate horizon and came up with some interesting–and powerful–conclusions.
We found, for example, that the markets in Europe and Japan will be growing much more slowly over the next two decades than a good deal of the rest of the world. Moreover, we discovered that, despite optimism
about future prospects throughout East Asia and Latin America, the countries that will account for the overwhelming incremental growth in the world imports number fewer than a dozen, which we called the Big
Emerging Markets, or BEMs. The BEMs are in Asia–the Chinese Economic Area (China, Hong Kong and Taiwan), South Korea, Indonesia and India; in Africa–South Africa; in Central Europe–Poland and Turkey; and in Latin America–Mexico, Brazil and Argentina (see Chart 1).
We also found that success in these markets will require a complete rethinking of our approach to trade. Because these are emerging markets, they are constantly changing and occasionally unstable. They do not have the established ties to the United States that our traditional partners have had. Relations with them are volatile. And, because of the enormous promise of these markets, they are a magnet for the world’s most competitive companies from the U.S. and abroad.
In each, competition will be fierce. But because many have important state sectors, and because virtually all are focusing heavily on infrastructure projects that demand the involvement of local governments, U.S. companies will need the U.S. government at their side to win a fair hearing. What is more, because of the intensity of foreign competition and the capital demands on these countries, our competitors will be public/private partnerships in which foreign governments are providing concessionary financing and aggressive
advocacy to support their companies’ efforts. If we don’t do the same, we will lose not only our chance to succeed in these markets but our chance to remain the world’s economic leader into the next century.
BEMs in the Headlines
….. Turkey has been the crossroads of the world since Alexander. In recent years, an economic renaissance made the Istanbul stock market one of the most attractive in the world. Now, Turkey has entered a period of
difficulties. But no matter how you look at it, Turkey will play a pivotal role in our future, for it is both the link and the buffer between Europe and the Middle East, between Europe and the southern tier of the former Soviet Union. It is at the border between the developed and developing worlds, on the front line in the dynamic exchanges that will define the nature of the next century.
The Economic Stakes
Our economic stakes in the BEMs are enormous. Our calculations indicate that by the turn of this century the 10 BEMs as a group will be importing more from us than either Japan or the European Union (see Chart 2). Well before the year 2010, their imports could exceed those from Japan and Europe combined. In fact, during the period 1990-2010, the BEMs could account for $1 trillion in incremental U.S. exports.
The Clinton administration certainly understands the limitations of long-term Economic projections and also the possibility that economic policies in certain BEMs could fail. The administration’s outlook, in
fact, is based on some critical assumptions, such as the belief that world trade will remain open and continue to expand, and that policy reforms initiated in the BEMs will continue. The BEM list is, therefore, one that could evolve depending on trends. If the Russian economy really turns the corner, it could be added to the list.
Certain rapidly growing economies such as Thailand might also join this group. Some day, some countries might graduate, having completed their emergence into the ranks of the world’s developed nations. By the same token, it is also possible that a country that endures a prolonged setback might be taken off the list.
The Role and Policies of the U.S. Government
There is an important role for our government to play in helping to stimulate trade with each of the BEMs. The BEMs are unlike our more traditional trading partners, such as the United Kingdom or Germany. There are frequently severe barriers to entering these markets, including high tariffs, quotas and protectionist regulatory barriers. Commercial systems, including full respect for intellectual property rights, smoothly functioning capital markets and open government-procurement procedures, are often still developing or lacking altogether. In some of the BEMs, impartial legal systems are missing, too. And, as noted earlier, the nature of the competition we face in these markets is dramatically different from what we have known in the past.
Country Strategies and Country Teams
For decades, agencies of the executive branch have been notorious for pursuing many different commercial approaches to a particular country with little or no coordination. Every administration has tried to fix the problem. At last, we are making significant progress. A successful BEM strategy requires fully coordinated export strategies toward the 10 countries.
Big Emerging Sectors
Part of every country strategy is a focus on selected industries where U.S. exports have particularly good prospects. In our in-depth studies on Indonesia, China, Argentina and Brazil, and from additional
research, we have formulated a vision of the areas where the BEM imports are likely to be greatest.
Several clusters of industries are high on the list. They include the following:
? Information technology, including telecommunications, computers and software;
? Environmental technology, including pollution control equipment and consulting services;
? The transportation industry, including aviation, automotive trade and the services and equipment needed to build modern rail systems and airports;
? Energy technology, especially for the soaring demand for electric power;
? Health care technology, including advanced medical equipment, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and hospital-management services;
? Financial services, including banking, insurance and the securities business.
For this reason, the U.S. government has set up special commercial forums with several of the BEMs, under which a broad range of common concerns can be addressed. To date, participating countries include
South Africa, Argentina, Brazil, India and China (see Chart 12). All have a significant role to play in helping to build solid commercial institutions, but they are structured in diverse ways, with somewhat different agendas. All have a sectoral industrial component–a focus on telecommunications, energy, financial services, etc.–so that commercial matters relating to the promotion of trade and investment have a particular real world focus. Some are heavily involved with the U.S. and foreign private sectors.
Poland, recovering from negative growth, is today one of the fastest expanding economies in Europe. And let’s not forget how far Mexico has come. In 1990, it was running enormous budget deficits totaling 4 percent of its GDP. In 1994, Mexico had a balanced budget.
A lot has happened in just the last year in the world economy to bolster the long-term prospects of the BEMs. NAFTA was established to provide a long-term framework for expanded trade and investment in
North America–which has been and will be of great benefit to Mexico, as well as to the United States and Canada. An agreement was reached among all the democracies of the western hemisphere to move towards
free trade arrangements, including more openings for foreign investors, within a decade. The 18 nations of the Asia-Pacific region also committed themselves to move in this direction, albeit over a longer period of time. The European Union is heading toward new trade arrangements with its Eastern European neighbors and with Turkey. The GATT treaty was concluded and a new World Trade Organization was set up that requires developing countries to adhere to all the rules–on lowering tariffs, reducing trade-blocking regulations, enforcing patent laws, treating foreign investors fairly–or face serious penalties.
Turkey Accelerated privatization program Eased foreign investment restrictions Reduced import charges/fees
Poland Eased foreign investment restrictions Liberalized foreign exchange rules Reformed social welfare system
Source: Columbia Journal of World Business, Summer96, Vol. 31 Issue 2,
p6, 26p, 3 charts, 11 graphs Author(s): Garten, Jeffrey E.