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Edited by Stefano Ponte, Gary Gereffi and Gale Raj-Reichert

Global value chains (GVCs) are a key feature of the global economy in the 21st century. They show how international investment and trade create cross-border production networks that link countries, firms and workers around the globe. This Handbook describes how GVCs arise and vary across industries and countries, and how they have evolved over time in response to economic and political forces. With chapters written by leading interdisciplinary scholars, the Handbook unpacks the key concepts of GVC governance and upgrading, and explores policy implications for advanced and developing economies alike.
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Stefano Ponte, Gary Gereffi and Gale Raj-Reichert

This introductory chapter provides an overview of what global value chains (GVCs) are, and why they are important. It presents a genealogy of the emergence of GVCs as a concept and analytical framework, and some reflections on more recent developments in this field. Finally, it describes the chapter organization of this Handbook along its five cross-cutting themes: mapping, measuring and analysing GVCs; governance, power and inequality; the multiple dimensions of upgrading and downgrading; how innovation, strategy and learning can shape governance and upgrading; and GVCs, development and public policy.

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Jonathan Michie

Since the 1980s it had been fashionable to suggest that there was little that individual countries could do in the face of global economic forces, and any attempt to pursue independent policies would be doomed to failure. ‘Even China’, it was often said, was embracing the global free market. The idea that developing countries, such as India, could promote their own developmental interests by sheltering behind exchange controls or national planning had been swept away along with the Berlin Wall. In the globalized economy of the twenty-first century, it was argued, national governments had to go with the flow of global markets. As the 2008 international financial crisis was breaking, the global strategy firm Oxford Analytica held one of its usual daily analysis sessions, but open to those attending its annual conference. The chair briefly summarised the unfolding global crisis, and then went round the table asking the various national experts to report. Despite the consensus referred to above, the reports did not paint a picture of a uniform globalised market to which each country related in the same way. The US and UK had been referred to in the opening statement, being very much at the centre of whatever it was that had caused the worst economic crisis since the 1930s. But when the expert on Brazil was called, he reported that the socialist President Lula had kept its financial sector rather independent of the global markets. Next India, and here too it was reported that it actually hadn’t opened itself up to the global market quite as much as might have been thought. Then China, where, it was reported, the Communist Party had maintained rather a firm grip.

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Edited by Jonathan Michie

The past 30 years are often depicted as an era of globalisation, and even more so with the recent rise of global giants such as Google and Amazon. This updated and revised edition of The Handbook of Globalisation offers novel insights into the rapid changes our world is facing, and how best we can handle them.
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William A. Kerr

Singapore, through the colonial era up to the present, has fulfilled an entrepôt role in European-Asian economic trade. This role continues, but Singapore has increasingly promoted and undertaken the role of being a bridge between Asian business culture and western business culture. The government of Singapore has actively encouraged the city to become a centre of western-style financial institutions and a place where an uncorrupt ‘rule of law’ is applied to commercial transactions. On the other hand, the Singapore business community has strong traditional relation-based networks across Asia. It is a place where European Union business persons can operate in a familiar milieu yet connect with wider markets across Asia. To facilitate this relationship both Singapore and the EU have negotiated formal trade, financial and broader-based agreements. The chapter reviews a selection of these formal agreements.

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Jappe Eckhardt

News reports often talk about the political influence that major corporations and industry groups have on EU trade policy decisions. But exactly what role do business actors play in EU trade policy-making? And why do EU policy-makers listen to the demands of firms and their lobby groups? This chapter tries to answer these questions by identifying the type of firms involved in EU trade politics, analysing their political strategies and influence, as well as detailing the institutional setting in which EU trade policy-making takes place. In doing so, this chapter provides a detailed account of business-government relations in current EU trade politics and how these dynamics have changed over time.

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Johan Adriaensen

What role does the Council of the European Union fulfil in EU trade policy? In this chapter, I argue that the Council fulfils both a legislative as well as an executive function. Starting from the legal foundations, three different instruments of EU trade policy are distinguished, each with their own decision-making procedures and each with a different role for the Council. Supplanting such a legal framework with an administrative perspective provides the reader with the type of practical knowledge that facilitates a better understanding of the existing literature but also clarifies the aptness of a focus on both the Council’s legislative and executive roles. A third layer adds a political perspective by overviewing the academic literature. This perspective highlights the Council’s role (1) as a legislative body, seeking to control the European Commission (particularly in external negotiations), (2) as a defender of national competencies before the court of justice, and (3) as an executive body whose decision-making process is less characterized by political conflict and bargaining and more by collective problem-solving, coordination and cooperation. The chapter ends with a prospective outlook and lays down three directions for future research on the Council in the domain of trade policy.

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Sangeeta Khorana and W. Gregory Voss

This chapter focuses on the importance of the impact of e-commerce and digital technologies in the transition from the European single market into a Digital Single Market (DSM). Highlighted is the opportunity that this change may present to enable the growth of the European Union’s international trade by capitalising on the potential of electronic transactions to enhance trust within the European digital framework. Key issues of data protection and data localization – the former leading to trust, while the latter causes fragmentation – and the importance of data security for trust and the interoperability of data flows under the DSM are analysed.

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Nicholas Perdikis and Laurie Perdikis

The chapter begins with a brief historical overview of the principal catalysts, both economic and political for European economic integration, before moving on to discuss the theoretical foundations of economic integration and the economic and trade implications of the Treaty of Rome. The chapter then proceeds to outline the development of the EU’s trade policy and how this was affected by its deepening and widening, as well as the impact international factors had on that process. The principal areas of EU trade policy are also covered – in particular its multilateral aspects, its bilateral and plurilateral arrangements and its unilateral policy covering the Generalised Scheme of Preferences or GSP. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the future direction and re-calibration of the EU’s trade policy towards relationships with Far Eastern economies via its ‘Trade for All’ policy document.

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Tony Heron and Peg Murray-Evans

In the twenty-first century, relations between the EU and Africa have been defined by intense diplomatic activity. In this chapter, we survey the focal point of this activity – the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) – and highlight an unresolved tension between the economic dimension (reciprocity in matters of trade and investment) and the political dimension (institution building and the promotion of regional integration) of this process. We provide a background to contemporary EU-Africa trade relations before looking at the interregional dimension more specifically. We note the diverse array of different functional logics that have historically defined African regionalism, both prior to and in parallel with the EPAs. Accordingly, the influence of the EPA negotiations on these (partially if not wholly independent) processes of integration has been highly uneven and contradictory. We conclude by considering these effects with respect to each African ‘region’ and the longer-term implications for African governance and development.