Multinational production networks and the new geo-economic division of labour in the Pacific Rim

Author name: 
Prema-chandra Athukorala

This paper examines the implications of international fragmentation of production for trade patterns in the Pacific Rim, with special emphasis on regional and global integration of countries in East Asia. The analysis reveals that the degree of dependence of East Asia on this new global division labour is much larger compared to the other countries in the Pacific Rim and Europe. Network- related trade in parts and components has certainly strengthened intra-regional economic interdependence among the East Asian countries, but this has not lessoned the dependence of growth dynamism of these countries on the global economy. The operation of cross-border production networks depends inexorably on trade in final goods with North America and the European Union. The paper also probes the challenges posed by the fragmentation-based international division of labour for the ‘flying geese’ approach to the analysis of growth patterns in East Asia.

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