Europe as a Global Macro-Region
Edited by Kathy Pain and Gilles Van Hamme
Chapter 3: European countries and regions in the international division of labour
Analysis of the position of the European territory in the international division of labour and global commodity chains in Chapter 2, gives rise to important conclusions to be addressed here. First, Europe as a whole, has maintained a very high position in the division of labour, selling goods with medium-and high-technological content, whilst buying raw materials, food products and low-value-added manufacturing goods. Second, Europe also plays a major role in the global service economy, in which it has a very positive trade balance, notably in the important knowledge-intensive sectors, such as financial, and computer and information services. Third, in the context of increasingly complex dispersed value chains, Europe remains a site for the concentration of top global commanding functions, as measured through corporate headquarter locations. However, this positive overall picture hides a great diversity in the positions of different places within the European space in relation to these criteria. And we find that the existing literature provides little systematic evidence on the nature and geography of this diversity, nor on the complex issue of the uneven territorial impacts of globalization. On the one hand, a globalization perspective generally pays too little attention to the subject of territories, and to their systematic analysis and, on the other hand, the reality and the significance of globalization remain contested in the regional literature (the literature on regional competitiveness, for example).
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