There is no precise definition of a Newly Industrializing Country (NIC). The term NIC is an economic classification used by economists to represent economies that fail somewhere between a developed country and a developing country. Since 1980s and 1990s the term has waned in favour of the broader concept of emerging economies. Nevertheless, term NIC is mostly connected to the economies achieving industrialization from 1960s through to the 1990s.
Against OECD criteria, 10 countries were generally considered to exhibit NIC characteristics from the early 1960s: Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Mexico, Brazil, Spain, Greece, Portugal and Yugoslavia. Later on, criteria became more specific and besides 4 East Asian NICs, Thailand, Malaysia, Turkey, China, India, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and South Africa were countries signed by an NIC status. Nowadays, commonly cited NICs include Thailand, Malaysia, Turkey, China, India, Mexico, Brazil, South Africa and Philippines.
Therefore, the first aim of our analysis is to clarify: 1) why so many developing countries never achieve the level of an NIC; 2) why there are those countries which after reaching the level of an NIC regressed instead of advancing to the level of developed country; 3) which were the factors that contribute to achieve an NIC status (and furthermore a developed country status); 4) what differentiates Asian NICs from other NICs; and 5) whether there are likely to be more NICs emerging over time or this is very unlikely.
This brings us to the next level of analysis: the role of trade and trade policy. As a factor of success (or failure), export and trade policy are important in all countries in the world, not depending on their phase of development.
In this sense, we have the following objectives in our analysis: 1) the importance of trade and trade policy as a factor of growth; 2) different theoretical standpoints of view regarding the above – who seems to be right; 3) are the export growth rate and export contributions to the GDP the only important indicators of achieved NIC status or the structure of export is equally or more important; 4) which are policy prescriptions needed to achieve impressive export performances that will lead to sustainable growth and development; 5) the role of trade liberalization VS the role of international demand (changes in the international economic environment in last decades); and 6) new form of South-South regionalism: market-driven integration in context of NICs.