Intra-Firm Trade and the Developing Countries

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Economic literature: papers , articles , software , chapters , books. Registered: Rainer Lanz Sebastien Miroudot. The emergence of global value chains and the expansion of activities of multinational enterprises have increased the value of intra-firm trade flows.

Measuring the impact of trade finance on country trade flows: a South African perspective

Despite growing attention from policymakers, few data are collected on trade transactions between related parties. Available evidence suggests that intra-firm trade represents a significant share of world trade but differs widely across countries and industries. Trade statistics and firm-level data point out that intra-firm trade and vertical integration occur predominantly among OECD countries and that firm behaviour and relationships between buyers and suppliers explain the patterns of intra-firm trade.

The report analyses the implications of intra-firm trade for trade liberalisation, transfer pricing and the transmission of macroeconomic shocks.

It finds that for trade policymakers, the rise of intra-firm trade underscores the benefits of trade liberalisation when domestic firms have affiliates abroad and foreign firms are established in the domestic economy. Trade policy should remain neutral with respect to firms. It is not clear from the accounts how much was quid pro quo, but Boeing agreed to construct some of the planes in China under a joint venture. In addition to the complexity of supply chains and the role of intrafirm trade, another issue that is raised here is about direct investment.

Direct investment is about ownership. Direct investment has different characteristics from portfolio investment.

Buying bonds and stocks in a foreign country is important, and the internationalization of savings is an important feature of our modern world. However, the extent of direct investment is also important. Like the planes that will be constructed and sold in China, many, if not most, of the Japanese brand cars on US roads today, are built in the US. At least one Japanese carmaker exports cars from California. The importance of the stock of foreign direct investment goes unrecognized in most narratives about trade.

One dramatic implication is that the US does not serve foreign demand by exporting, though the US is the world's third largest exporter behind China and Germany.

Rather US companies service foreign demand by building locally and selling locally. The sales by the foreign affiliates of US companies sell more than 4x more goods than are exported from the US. According to MOF data, Japanese companies made the switch in the lates, so that the sale of its affiliates also outstrips exports.

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What follows from this is that the location of those affiliates is not primarily in low-wage countries. That is a myth.

The Global Forum website tries to keep track of the ever changing landscape of trade analysis, measurement of trade and trade statistics. The site keeps a database of links to over relevant publications, reports, articles and speeches.

Export Policies part 1

The full list of featured publications can be found HERE. The trade collapse that followed the recent financial crisis has led to a renewed interest on the measurement issues affecting international merchandise trade statistics in the new globalized economy. The international fragmentation of industrial production blurs the concept of country of origin and calls for the production of new statistics on the domestic content of exports An increasingly important feature of global economic integration is trade in intermediate inputs associated with the fragmentation of production across national borders.

For some goods, production has become a multinational process in which different stages are carried out in specialized plants around the globe.