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At the Los Cabos Summit in June 2012, G20 leaders noted “… the relevance of regional and global value chains to world trade, recognising their role in fostering economic growth, employment and development and emphasizing the need to enhance the participation of developing countries in such value chains.” Leaders called on the OECD, WTO, and UNCTAD “to accelerate their work on analysing the functioning of global value chains and their relationship with trade and investment flows, development and jobs, [….] and to report on progress under Russia's Presidency.” The report that follows, Implications of Global Value Chains for Trade, Investment, Development and Jobs, is a joint response from the OECD, WTO and UNCTAD to this mandate drawing upon the latest findings in on-going research. We are pleased to deliver it for the 2013 Saint Petersburg Summit.
Value chains have become a dominant feature of the world economy, involving countries at all levels of development, from the poorest to the most advanced. The production of goods and services is increasingly carried out wherever the necessary skills and materials are available at competitive cost and quality. This growing fragmentation of production across borders has important implications for trade and investment patterns and policies and offers new prospects for growth, development and jobs. We will need to further develop our understanding of how this shapes the conduct of international trade and investment reforms, but we have already achieved much progress under the Russian G20 Presidency both in terms of analytical substance and in terms of knowledge sharing among G20 countries.
Our analysis highlights that trade and investment openness are important components of comprehensive policy reforms in G20 countries; action is needed now to implement an effective framework for strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth in which all countries could reap benefits. The report also outlines how in today’s more interconnected world both the costs of trade and investment protectionism and the benefits of multilateral opening are much higher than previously thought. Practical trade facilitation reforms, such as those being negotiated at the WTO today, offer significant potential to reduce trade costs. In a world characterised by components crossing borders multiple times, removing tariffs peaks and escalation in agriculture and manufacturing, as well as addressing non-tariff barriers affecting both goods and services, would reduce business costs and boost growth. Efficient services sectors improve growth prospects not just within the service parts of our economies, but are essential to productivity growth in manufacturing as well. Importantly, appropriately-tailored complementary policies that accompany increased trade and investment openness help ensure that this growth potential is realized and is widely inclusive. This is partly done at the domestic level, but partly also at the international level through the development assistance to help connect the least connected economies.
Over the past year OECD and the WTO have worked closely to develop a trade in valueadded database (TiVA) which was released in May 2013. This database is a first step in integrating trade measured in value added terms into the international statistical system and provides the evidence-base for our new analysis. UNCTAD has contributed its own work on trade and development, as well as the new initiative assessing the relationship of value chains and investment flows also described in the 2013 World Investment Report.