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EU SMEs in Global Value Chains

03 January 2017


On 24 January 2016, the Commission is organising a workshop for SMEs on global value chains.

Global value chains (GVCs) are already an important reality in the world economy. They are characterised by a high fragmentation of the production process, based on a higher level of economic integration, efficient and effective transports, telecommunication and logistic services, and by services playing a more prominent role. As referred to by some, "the rise of global value chains has produced a new trade-investment-services-know-how nexus".

The companies that are a part of GVCs usually display high levels of innovation, flexibility and productivity. Several international studies have concluded that the participation in GVCs is beneficial for SMEs, in terms of growth and internationalisation. However, many SMEs have difficulties securing access to GVCs, even the EU-based ones, which constitutes a market failure, in the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme’s (CIP’s)opinion.

This workshop intends to show the reality of global value chains through a brief conceptual and statistic description and through testimonials from various participating companies from the industrial and services' sectors. Its main goal is to raise awareness of the main opportunities and challenges that SMEs face while trying to be a part of this global production process.

Finally, representatives from national and European economic policy-makers, will discuss the importance of GVCs and present the measures and instruments that, while combining elements from the Industrial, European Single Market and Internationalization policies, are focused on promoting the participation of SMEs in global value chains. Entities that represent these instruments will give examples, so will companies which provide services in these areas, e.g. management of supply chains, and business associations/clusters which promote business cooperation.