Volume 44, Number 173,
April-June 2013
Towards a New Development Model?
from a Regulatory Perspective. Argentina 2003-2010
Ignacio de Angelis, Mariana Calvento and Mariano Roark
Institutional Forms: International Insertion ( ...continuation )

The context of the 2008-2009 international crisis served as a framework to challenge the recipe for economic orthodoxy, with the State driving anti-cyclical measures (without recurring to external financing), manifest in the increase in aggregate demand and public spending. This sign of strength is built from autonomous growth8 and the State’s capacity to partially compensate for the depressive effects of the crisis, spending capacity and backing from international reserves, allowing for the implementation of commercial protective measures for the most important sectors for employment and programs to foster consumption.

On the other hand, studying the distribution of the surplus within the productive structure that sustained the new development study is revealing. An analysis of the sector composition of exports reveals that the sale of manufacturing products is the area that has grown the most since 2002. This growth was led by Agricultural and Livestock Manufactures (moa), followed by Industrial Manufactures (moi), with respective annual growth rates of 15% and 14%.

It must be stated that despite the significant increase in absolute terms of manufacturing exports, the structure of exportable products has not shown significant variation with respect to the 1990s (Figure 3). There is still an important concentration surrounding primary products and industrial commodities of lower technological content associated with the production of raw materials.

Figure 3. Exports in Major Sectors 1998-2010
Source: Prepared by the authors based on data from the Center for International Studies (cei) and indec (2008; 2011)

The persistent share of the primary sector is explained by the maintenance of legislation granting control over natural resources to the provinces and the existence of a subsidies and incentives policy for the primary sector, which, together with the increase in prices and growing international demand, have strengthened the specialization and increasing emphasis on the primary sector in the external economic profile. Something similar is happening in the rest of the sectors that extract natural resources, because the State did not modify the promotions regime inherited from convertibility, meant to benefit large mining companies and firms exploring hydrocarbons, allowing them to send large percentages of their revenue from exports abroad.

The distributional structure of imports, besides having experienced important growth as a result of the progressive demand for capital goods and consumer goods, did not vary significantly. It is thus possible to identify an argument of weakness within the import substitution process, made clear in the importance of intermediary goods and foreign capital in the national productive structure. In this sense, there have not been structural advances in the national production of capital goods, which continue to be one of the most important sectors for imports and one of the central components of the commercial balance deficit of industrial products (Neffa, 2010: 353).

Still, although the import and export structures have not been substantially altered, the new government did successfully forge a new political-commercial profile for economic insertion, by searching for new commercial partners and strengthening relations with other countries in the region. In this context, they rejected the ftaa and established a strong and fruitful policy of market diversification in the search for new partners. This became one of the specific objectives of the international insertion policy starting in 2003, which would allow the country to enter markets such as China, Korea, India, South Africa and Mexico. As a result, the location of exports followed a trend quite different from that of the 1990s, marked by a strong presence of new Latin American commercial partners.9

To summarize, this institutional form presents a scenario that is quite revealing of the national development situation, by shedding light on the scope of transformations that occurred from 2003 to 2010. Taking everything into account, the international projection that has been forged since 2003 is based on rather different guidelines, with distinct concrete elements that cannot be read as a natural extension of the neoliberal strategy.

8 By analyzing growth of aggregate demand starting in 2003 until the beginning of the 2008 crisis, it appears that exports contributed less than 10% of the total growth. The rest came from growth in consumption and investment, with percentages around 57% and 33%, respectively (cenda, 2009).

9 Venezuela is a paradigm of this, having achieved the greatest commercial link with Argentina in the entire history of bilateral commercial relations (Calvento and Roark, 2011: 38).

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PROBLEMAS DEL DESARROLLO. REVISTA LATINOAMERICANA DE ECONOMÍA, Volume 49, Number 195 October-December 2018 is a quarterly publication by the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacán, CP 04510, México, D.F. by Instituto de Investigaciones Económicas, Circuito Mario de la Cueva, Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacán,
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