Handbook on Global Value Chains
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Handbook on Global Value Chains

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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Chapter 32: International trade policy and global value chains

Shamel Azmeh


The rise of global value chains (GVCs) as a key model for organizing global production coincided with important shifts in the international trade regime. These shifts included the quantitative expansion of the trade regime through an increase in the number of trade agreements and the number of states that are signatories to these agreements. They also included a qualitative shift in what is governed by the trade regime through the inclusion of issues such as investments, intellectual property and regulatory harmonization. This chapter argues that there is a structural relationship between these two shifts and that GVCs cannot be the dominant mode of production in the absence of an effective rules-based trade regime. This regime is needed to facilitate stable and predictable flows of goods and to provide a stable and predictable regulatory framework for the operations of GVC actors and for the capital and knowledge flows needed for the functioning of GVCs. Examining this relationship, the author argues, is crucial to unpacking the geography of GVCs and to predicting the implications of changing trade policies on the future of GVCs.

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