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The changing composition of developing country exports (English)

This paper explores the influences that have shaped export growth since 1960 and the prospects for their further expansion. Particular emphasis is given to manufactured exports, which grew more than twice as fast as total LDC exports from 1960-75. Manufactured export composition and prospects in four groups of LDCs are analyzed. A majority of these exports come from a small number of countries that have specialized in manufactures starting in labor-intensive, technologically stable products, using cost-cutting strategy based on low wages, while relying heavily on foreign buyers for marketing and product design. These countries are now trying to diversify into more complex and skill-intensive products. Meanwhile, increasing numbers of LDCs not in this group have shifted their policies at least part way in an export-oriented direction. The rapid increase in manufactures exported from LDCs interacting with developed countries' own poor economic performance have combined to trigger rising protectionism, adding to uncertainties about markets. An especially serious aspect of the problem is the effect on export prospects of those LDCs that are not yet successful exporters of manufactures, but will need to be so to facilitate their growth.




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The changing composition of developing country exports (English). Staff working paper ; no. SWP 314 Washington, D.C. : World Bank Group.