16 Oct 2018

Promoting E-Commerce in Latin America and the Caribbean

E-commerce is an opportunity to make the global trading system more inclusive. It allows micro-, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) to access new markets and consumers, break through geographic barriers, and cut down on intermediaries and transaction costs. An increase in e-commerce in Latin America and the Caribbean would improve the region’s competitiveness by allowing it to increase and diversify its exports and attract direct foreign investment. What is e-commerce? When we talk about e-commerce,...
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4 Oct 2018

Industry 4.0—Manufacturing the Future

Throughout the history of humanity, technological advances have driven different radical transformations in the material and social conditions of production. We are currently witnessing a new phase in the transformation of the global economy, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which centers on the digitization of the manufacturing sector and is driven by surprising increases in volumes of data, computing power, and connectivity. Industria 4.0. Fabricando el Futuro [Industry 4.0. Manufacturing the Future] explores the scope of...
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18 Sep 2018

From physical to virtual: digitizing the business experience

Over 3 million firms from 150 countries have visited ConnectAmericas.com. Some 200,000 of them from 50 different industries have signed up for the platform, where they can access sector-specific communities, business opportunities, training, and financial information. ConnectAmericas.com receives support from Google, DHL, SeaLand, Facebook and MasterCard. It was created by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in 2014 to help local SMEs to go international, building on the success of events like LAC Flavors (foods, beverages,...
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12 Sep 2018

The success that ten years of LAC Flavors has brought

Let’s try to get inside the head of a food exporter from Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). What might their greatest desire be? Seeing their products on the shelves of supermarkets in other continents, probably. They might dream of someone in Belgium tasting their blueberry jam or a shopper in Korea trying their yucca snacks. They might not even need to look for new consumers, as there are millions of people from Latin America...
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21 Aug 2018

Short-sea shipping: A solution to Caribbean logistics challenges?

Caribbean islands face significant competitive disadvantages in trade because of a variety of factors — including the size and nature of their economies and their geographic location, which necessitates a reliance on maritime and air transport for most of their import and export needs, with 90 percent of goods being transported by sea. At the same time, maritime transport and insurance costs in the Caribbean are 30 percent higher than the world average. These costs...
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17 Aug 2018

Why fragmented integration hampers fragmented international production

When world trade consisted mostly of final goods or inputs used only in goods for domestic final demand, the relationship between trade agreements and trade flows was relatively simple: sign an agreement with another country and the trade flows between the two nations would most likely increase, end of story. With the emergence of global value chains, however, the story is not so simple. Because inputs are increasingly used in the production of goods that...
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1 Aug 2018

Latin American integration: an insurance policy against uncertainty on global market access

Over the last 30 years, in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), preferential trade agreements (PTAs) were the instrument of choice for moving toward more integrated markets. Although PTAs were successful in helping countries to move beyond the limitations of earlier, more inward-looking integration initiatives, their proliferation led to a regulatory architecture that has not necessarily given companies the agility they need to compete in the global 21st-century economy. The most recent IDB flagship report...
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