By Shahid Javed Burki, Guillermo E. Perry, Sara Calvo
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Shahid Javed Burki is Vice President and Guillermo E. Perry is Chief Economist of the World Bank's Latin America and the Caribbean Regional Office. Sara Calvo is senior economist of the Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Network Central Unit. The planning and organization of the Third Annual World Bank Conference on Development in Latin America and the Caribbean was a cooperative effort of the Central Bank of Uruguay and the World Bank's Latin America and the Caribbean Regional Office and Economic Development Institute.
That is one reason why we talk of "open" regionalism in LAC today. The same is true with respect to investment flows. Regionalism in the 1990s has gone hand in hand with a substantial liberalization of investment regimes. Nowadays, several countries in LAC treat foreign direct investment (FDI) on exactly the same footing as domestic investment. 2 This is in sharp contrast to the restrictive regimes of the 1960s and the 1970s in most LAC countries. Table 2 shows that in fact FDI has become an important and increasing contributor to domestic investment.
Again, if forks need to be coated with plastics, we know that even if the plastics are immediately produced at home, their gross value would generally include imported intermediates at several stages of manufacture, which are impossible, for the same reasons, to identify and quantify meaningfully. Again, even if we were to estimate such imported shares meaningfully, the imports are likely in turn to include, in today's globalized production, intermediates produced by us and used by the producers abroad.