International Trade: New Patterns of Trade, Production & Investment

By Nigel Grimwade | Go to book overview

Chapter 7

The Emergence of the Newly Industrialising Countries

CHAPTER OUTLINES: Introduction. Who are the NICs? Reasons for the Rapid Emergence of the NICs—internal economic success, the external environment. The Effects of the Rise of the NICs on the Advanced Industrialised Countries—the problem of adjustment, adjustment policy, the effects on wage inequality in the advanced industrialised countries. Conclusion.


Introduction

This chapter examines Japan’s successors—the group of so-called ‘newly industrialising’ countries (NICs) or economies (NIEs) that have followed in the wake of Japan. Although this term has been used to refer, in particular, to the ‘tiger economies’ of East Asia—namely, Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan—it is applicable to a broader group of countries. NICs or NIEs are countries that have been successful, in a way that other developing countries have not, in breaking through into rapid economic growth. Like Japan, their growth performance has been closely related to their success in exporting manufactures to the rest of the world. Such countries have experienced not only a big increase in their per capita income, but also a radical transformation of their economy. In particular, the importance of agriculture within the economy has declined and that of manufacturing industry increased. An important feature of the industrialisation process of all these countries has been the adoption of outward-looking, export-oriented trade policies. However, despite these similarities, all are very different in other respects. Some have placed reliance upon state regulation and direction of the economy, while others have attached greater importance to market forces. They also differ greatly in their political systems, culture and religion.

Their growth has had a profound effect on the world economy. In particular, these countries have provided a potent source of new, import competition for the advanced industrialised countries in certain important sectors of manufacturing. To begin with, they specialised in relatively simple, labour-intensive manufactures, although some NICs were also successful in expanding exports of capital-intensive goods. Often, these were the industries which were

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