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World Trade Organization: Global Value Chains in a Changing World

Editors: Deborah K. Elms, and Patrick Low
October 25, 2013

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"In the last three to four decades, government and business have been part of a far-reaching economic transformation, made possible by remarkable advances in information, communication and transport technologies. The proliferation of internationally joined-up production arrangements – that is, global supply chains – has changed our economic and political landscape in fundamental ways."

Trade and production networks are not new. Firms have been producing items with components sourced from around the globe for centuries. Businesses have continuously sought out new markets for their products. What have changed, however, are the speed, scale, depth and breadth of global interactions. Increasingly, new players have become active in what have come to be called global value chains or global supply chains. This process of organization has brought entirely new issues to the table for consideration.

As this book highlights, global value chains (GVCs) have been rapidly evolving. As our knowledge and experience with different kinds of GVCs accumulates, the kinds of policy responses governments develop to encourage supply chain growth will need to change. Because GVCs come in all different shapes and types, it may not be possible or desirable to create a one-size-fits-all response. The kinds of data used to measure and assess changes in economic structures are being modified to better suit this new environment.

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