This report is the product of a research project titled "Comparative Study on East Asian and Latin American Information Technology (IT) Industries", carried out in 2004 and 2005 by the International Trade and Integration Division of the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) in Santiago, Chile, in collaboration with the Institute of Developing Economies Japan External Trade Organization (IDE/JETRO) in Chiba, Japan. The project it was financed by the Thematic Trust Fund - Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for Development, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), established by the Government of Japan.
The main purpose of the project was to study and document the experiences of IT usage by small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Asia-Pacific and Latin America and to identify and analyze the policies, instruments and institutions created for SMEs digitalization having in mind the ultimate goal of: (i) enhancement of the intra- and inter-regional business ties in the IT-based supply chain in each Forum for East Asia - Latin America Cooperation (FEALAC) member country; (ii) development of SMEs through IT use; (iii) promotion of inter-regional cooperation between SMEs in the two regions; and (iv) reduction of poverty through development of SMEs.
This volume includes 13 country studies selected from FEALAC member countries - six from Asia (China, Japan, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Viet Nam) and seven from Latin America (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Mexico and Peru) - which are summary reports of the background papers. Each country report addresses the following issues: i) SMEs' contribution to the economy; ii) IT usage by SMEs; iii) case studies on development of IT and SMEs; and iv) government policies designed for SMEs, IT, and international trade. Before the writing of this report, the International Seminar "Information Technology for Development of Smalland Medium-sized Exporters in East Asia and Latin America" was held during November 23-24 at ECLAC, in which the commissioned and invited experts presented their study results, debated actively, and exchanged experiences and opinions regarding usage of IT for promoting international trade by SMEs. We now present summaries of the current situations of informatization in these countries, policies adopted and institutions created to entrance IT informatization by SMEs, and policy suggestions that came out of the seminar.