Abstract. During the last decade global value chains are undergoing profound structural shifts. Goods-producing value chains have grown less trade-intensive. Labor-cost arbitrage is declining in some value chains. This shift will have important implications for how low-income countries participate in global value chains. Global value chains are growing more knowledge-intensive. They are becoming more regional and less global. Regionalization is most apparent in global innovations value chains, given their need to closely integrate many suppliers for just-in-time sequencing. Three value chains reviewed give support to these changes. In mining value chain recent changes have opened new opportunities for technological upgrading by local suppliers in developing countries where mining contractors were actively integrated into knowledge-intensive stages of the value chain in recent years. Technological efforts are largely driven by the mining companies’ demands, which favor incumbent over emergent suppliers due to their experience in the local market. The emergence of a group of highly innovative suppliers in developing countries is explained mostly by new technological and knowledge opportunities, which are not exploited by large incumbents and open spaces for new entrants. Local specificities are also key in the explanation of local suppliers. An important trend in the woodworking industry at present is the transition of companies from working in the mass markets of standard products to working for the consumer (taking into account the original requests of specific consumers and establishing contacts with them through the creation of branches and representative offices of firms in different countries and within them in different cities). Electric vehicles are expected to grow in a big way and could disrupt the traditional automotive supply chain globally. The change in the prime mover, from internal combustion engines to electric motors, is about to have a major impact on the vehicle BOM (Bill of Materials). The transformed BOM will witness an increase in usage of materials like copper and battery active material (lithium, cobalt, graphite). The largest disruption is expected in the components segment of the value chain.
Keywords: global value chains (GVCs), MNCs, local suppliers, Bill of materials (BOM), knowledge intensity, innovations, low-income countries, mining industry, woodworking industry, electric vehicles production
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