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Global value chains (GVCs) are a prominent feature of today's trade landscape. As technology advancements and low shipping costs have allowed firms to coordinate complex activities across borders, global trading patterns are now predominantly characterized by trade in inputs. A quick look at the data shows that intermediate goods trade has represented over 80% of the increase in total trade over the past two decades, and that GVC trade makes up more than half of world trade today. GVCs have allowed firms to boost their productivity through various channels: access to better-quality and/or cheaper inputs; learning by exporting and importing, to name just a few. However, the Covid pandemic brought supply chain risks into sharp focus, prompting many governments to advocate for reshoring strategies. This seminar will unpack some of these arguments—and invite discussion on the future of GVCs—in the context of the evolution of the global trading system. REBECCA FREEMAN
Rebecca Freeman is a Research Economist in the Bank of England International Directorate. Her research focuses on international trade, with an emphasis on economic integration, value chains, and firm heterogeneity. She is also a Trade Associate at the LSE Centre for Economic Performance and an advisor to a Department of International Trade-funded project on monitoring the economic effects of Brexit. Rebecca received her PhD in international economics from the Graduate Institute, Geneva in June 2019. She was awarded an MA in international economics and international relations from Johns Hopkins University SAIS in 2014 and a BA in economics from Smith College in 2009.