Global Value Chain Development Report 2021: Beyond Production

Publication | November 2021

This joint report explores the transformation of global value chains as they expand beyond manufacturing to services and intangible assets. It highlights opportunities for services-led development and discusses policy considerations.

Global value chains (GVCs) are the cross-border networks that bring a product or service from conception to market. The tasks that add most value in these chains usually occur before or after production, such as product design or marketing. Intangible assets and intellectual property—including brands, patented technologies, and supply chain management know-how—increasingly determine the ability of firms to lead and benefit from GVCs.

Meanwhile, digital platforms are changing who participates in GVCs, increasing opportunities for developing economies and micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises. These platforms can also bring challenges, including uneven access to digital infrastructure and a tendency toward consolidation that reduces competition.

Participation in services GVCs can help generate well-paying jobs and boost inclusive growth. To support such participation, policy makers need to tackle obstacles to increasing educational attainment.

Reducing risks to GVCs, including geopolitical, environmental, and pandemic risks, requires outward-oriented strategies.

The report is co-published by ADB, the Research Institute for Global Value Chains at the University of International Business and Economics, the World Trade Organization, the Institute of Developing Economies – Japan External Trade Organization, and the China Development Research Foundation. It is the third in a biennial series; see the 2017 and 2019 reports on the WTO website.


  • Recent Trends in Global Value Chains
  • Trade in Intangible Assets along Global Value Chains and Intellectual Property Protection
  • Productivity Growth, Innovation, and Upgrading along Global Value Chains
  • The Role of Global Services Value Chains for Services-Led Development
  • Rising Risks to Global Value Chains
  • Digital Platforms and Global Value Chains
  • Appendix: First Workshop and Chapter Authors’ Workshop for the Global Value Chain Development Report 2021

Additional Details

  • Economics
  • Industry and trade
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Regional cooperation and integration
  • 246
  • 8.5 x 11
  • TCS210400-2
  • 978-92-9269-090-8 (print)
  • 978-92-9269-091-5 (electronic)
  • 978-92-9269-092-2 (ebook)

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