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Entrevista a Verónica Sión de Josse, Ministra de Industrias y Productividad de Ecuador‏.

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Compartimos con ustedes la entrevista realizada por The Business Year a Veronica Sión - Ministra de Industrias y Productividad sobre las estrategias de competitividad, tecnología e industrial de Ecuador. 

TBY talks to Verónica Sión de Josse, Minister of Industry & Productivity, on Ecuador's industrial strategy, competitiveness, and technology.
Verónica Sión de Josse graduated from the Catholic University of Guayaquil and also has diplomas in Foreign Trade with a focus on customs from University Espiritu Santo, and High Management from INCE. She has worked in both the private and public sectors, including being the Executive Director of the National Council for the Reactivation of Production and Competitiveness. She has also served as Minister of Tourism, and is currently the Minister of Industry and Productivity.

What are the main axes of Ecuador's industrial development strategy?

VSdJ: The government of Ecuador favors investments that will be profitable while adding value, generating social inclusion, and respecting the rights of nature, consumers, workers, and the state. Ecuador is the first country to recognize these rights as a legal body. Under these axes we are generating a productive economic model that contributes to economic growth and incorporates elements of sustainability.

How competitive is Ecuador compared to other countries in the region?

VSdJ: At a regional level, Ecuador is a very dynamic economy. We are currently witnessing positive economic developments in Latin America. Ecuador is fourth in the region in terms of GDP growth. In terms of competitiveness, a major aspect that has contributed to this level of growth has been the macroeconomic stability of Ecuador. In the World Economic Forum report for 2011, Ecuador's competitive ranking improved for the first time by four positions. In terms of macroeconomic stability, we hold 40th place among the 142 countries evaluated worldwide.
How is the current administration improving the country's competitiveness?

VSdJ: We are working hard to improve our efficiency and productivity alongside strong public investment to guarantee the best levels of competitiveness. Approximately 13% of GDP has been dedicated in 2011 to public investment in ports, airports, and road infrastructure. Public investment in 2011 totaled $8.45 billion, and in 2012 we forecast investment of over $10 billion. Estimated GDP growth will be between 13% and 14.18%. In roads, ports, airports, and agriculture the initial investment will be $1.22 billion. In terms of commercial policy, Ecuador is making big strides toward Asia, and many of the new investments in the country originate from there. China, South Korea, and Singapore are assisting us technically to improve our levels of development and competitiveness. We want to overcome the model that characterized Ecuador for decades, based on the extraction of non-renewable resources. Now we want to transform that model into value-added based on knowledge and high technology.

What specific investments have been made to develop the country technologically?

VSdJ: We have signed a strategic alliance with South Korea to develop a "Knowledge City" in Ecuador that will incorporate only the highest available technology in the field of scientific research and work toward reducing the technological gap. This is a must if we are to change our economic model. Since the President's visit to South Korea, some agreements have been established for the transfer of technical know-how and for the incentivization of commercial exchange.

What are the goals of the government's economic development model for the country?

VSdJ: Our model for industrial development, on top of generating value-added, will create opportunities for the development of new businesses. In the country's last census, small enterprises were clearly identified as the engines of growth. During President Correa's administration over 90,000 small enterprises have been created, employing between one and nine people each. In the long term, this is a development model through which the government co-finances innovation using several mechanisms in order to reinforce the productive capacity of the country. Also during the Correa administration, employment has grown by 7.59%, while the unemployment rate has been reduced to 2.19%, and underemployment to 4.71%. We have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the region.

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