The activities that comprise a value chain can be contained within a single firm or divided among different firms. Value chain activities can produce goods or services, and can be contained within a single geographical location or spread over wider areas. The GVC Initiative is particularly interested in understanding value chains that are divided among multiple firms and spread across wide swaths of geographic space, hence the term "global value chain."
Studies from a range of disciplines show that global value chains have become much more prevalent and elaborate in the past 10 to 15 years. While many firms have had international operations and trading relationships for decades and a few for more than a century, global value chains now contain activities that are tightly integrated and often managed on a day-to-day basis. This means that firms and workers in widely separated locations affect one another more than they have in the past. Some of these effects are quite straightforward, as when a firm from one country establishes a new factory or engineering center in another country, and some are more complex, as when a firm in one country contracts with a firm in another country to coordinate production in plants owned by yet another firm in a third country, and so on.
Tracing the shifting patterns of global production, understanding how GVCs work or are "governed," and determining the roles they play in rich and poor countries alike, is what the study of global value chains is all about. GVC research consists of learning the details of jobs, technologies, standards, regulations, products, processes, and markets in specific industries and places. GVC research is challenging, fun, interesting, relevant, and important.
The CRT supports developing countries to design trade strategies that enable the transformative change necessary for their SMEs to be more competitive internationally, facilitating growth and employment.
The need to generate sustainable growth and decent employment through trade continues to be an important policy goal for many developing countries. 80% of world trade takes place within value chains, and around 60% of world merchandise trade is in intermediate goods. Integration into value chains enables SMEs from developing countries to benefit from participation in global trade. Trade and investment support institutions provide vital support services to facilitate the integration of SMEs into these value chains and to support them in moving up the value chain.
CRT’s aims to help SMEs provide a differentiated and value-added offer and address production- and logistics-related difficulties in getting products to market. The solutions offered within the programme are modular in nature and are customised to suit client needs. The main elements of the programme are:
- Logistics and supply chain: Meeting customers’ product or service requirements through effective and efficient production management, operations, procurement, sourcing of materials, inventory management, as well as inbound, outbound and internal logistics.
- Export marketing: Designing services with differentiated features through marketing, branding, innovative products/services, and packaging design.
Meeting technical/quality requirements: Complying with standards, technical regulations, and sanitary and phyto-sanitary (SPS) measures, organize after-sales services, and achieving internationally recognized certification.
- Fostering market links: Communicate with current and potential customers through campaigns, identify adequate distribution channels and modes of entry into foreign markets, identify and close sales opportunities, and develop partnerships with larger firms to become part of their supplier base. E-solutions and e-platforms play an important role in expanding links to markets.
This integrated approach is focused on priority sectors, including agri-business, services (including tourism) and light manufacturing. The organization takes a market-led approach to sector development, emphasizing diversification, improved linkages in higher value-added segments of global and regional value chains, and promoting investment.