The debate in the region on industrial policy is currently centered on policies to promote competitiveness in the context of open economies. It gives priority to the use of horizontal policies, is based on the market, and attaches great importance to the maintenance of macroeconomic balance. It continues to suffer from weaknesses in its treatment of sectoral issues, however, continues to be reluctant to assimilate the Asian experience of giving support to pioneering firms and seeking closer coordination between the public and private sectors, and still does not give sufficient importance to measures to strengthen the technological base and human resources. This article reviews the international events which have changed the notion of competitiveness and posits that the idea of production development policies is more appropriate than that of industrial policy as such. It maintains that changing production patterns in the 1990s are indissolubly linked with internationalization and the deepening of the export process, and looks at some possible policy instruments in the areas of export promotion, technology, productivity and training. It concludes with some reflections on the quality requirements in public management that stem from this approach.