The future of global value chains

18th January 2019 | Workshop | Berlin, Germany

The BMZ and World Bank invited experts from politics, business, academia and civil society to discuss global value chains and development and provide input for the “Global Value Chains: Trading for Development” 2020 World Development Report.

The dynamics of global production and trade present companies and governments with major challenges. Supply and value chains have grown increasingly complex, and individual countries’ participation in and specific contributions to production and distribution are in constant flux. In addition to the conventional bilateral foreign trade of raw materials and finished products, today's cross-border value chains feature the worldwide exchange of semi-finished products, components, data and financial flows inside global companies. This has limited the relevance of the classical trade statistics that still dominate the political debate today.

After a welcoming address by Ms Daniela Zehentner-Capell, head of the BMZ’s "Trade Policy" Division, guests split into four groups to discuss important aspects of the future of global value chains. Participants explored issues such as the opportunities and risks facing small and medium-sized enterprises in developing and emerging countries because of digitized trade, how to improve access to and the expansion of global value chains by improving infrastructure and facilitating trade, how to guarantee international standards, such as environmental and climate protection and safeguarding human rights and occupations safety, are upheld, and the role the private sector and the state could play here.

The rapporteur of each group reported their table’s findings in plenary, providing the World Bank team with valuable feedback to incorporate into the report. One central takeaway was that sustainability standards, a key issue in need of more recognition during the 2030 Agenda, seemed greatly underrepresented in the report draft. Participants were also in agreement that it was the ideal time for next year’s World Development Report to highlight this issue.

Experts from the BMWi, the WTO, UNIDO and OECD, the World Economic Forum, business associations, companies, civil society and academia all actively participated in the event.

Senior Director for Development Economics at the World Bank Shanta Devarajan emphasised how valuable the findings from the event would be in the further drafting of the 2020 World Development Report and concluded by joking: "If we could record all of you here in this room for a week, the report would be done.”

Photo above: Baller/GIZ

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