unctad.org | UNCTAD discussants at the launch of the UNIDO Industrial Development Report 2018
UNCTAD discussants at the launch of the UNIDO Industrial Development Report 2018
04 July 2018

​Steve MacFeely, Head of Statistics and Information (UNCTAD) and Joerg Mayer, Senior Economic Affairs Officer (UNCTAD), were both discussants at the launch of two new UNIDO reports on 28 June, 2018, the Industrial Development Report 2018 and the Structural Change for Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development.



Mr. MacFeely stressed the interconnections highlighted in the reports, noting it makes perfect sense to examine industrialization from a holistic perspective that incorporates both the supply and demand side. He also noted challenges of measuring and understanding productivity statistics in the context of globalisation, mechanisation and digitalization. He applauded the idea of the "virtuous circle", as it illustrates very well the idea of interlinkages. In this context he noted the importance of not studying manufacturing in isolation from services - the delineation between manufacturing and services is increasingly blurred – in many cases they are so intertwined as to be inseparable.

 

He also congratulated the UNIDO on addressing the important role of government, explaining that governments facilitate markets by providing the necessary mechanisms for a market – currencies, rule of law, weights and measures and dispute mechanisms.

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Mr. Mayer focused on the synergies between the demand side and supply side policies in driving structural transformation, and on why this link between supply- and demand-side policies is becoming increasingly more important. Regarding the role of demand, he noted it is clear that demand is important because production need markets. Indeed, probably the two most important factors behind successful structural transformation are, first, strong market demand and, second, the policy space required to support from the supply side the industrial restructuring that is required to respond to that demand.

He also noted that the reports are rather silent on the impact of the 4th Industrial Revolution on industrialization, and explained that, for the moment, there are very few international rules in this area and the debate is just starting on what rules and regulations will allow harnessing the productivity and developmental potential of the digital economy. Agreement needs to be reached on what part of the issues around the digital economy are in the realm of the WTO and what should be dealt with elsewhere.

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