Skip to main content
main-content

Über dieses Buch

Central and Eastern European countries are entering the development race at a crucial juncture in EU enlargement and the wider phenomenon of globalization. In the face of hesitant and controversial EU policy, these countries need to engage sound development strategies. International production networks are expected to be decisive in helping them strengthen their competitiveness and establish knowledge-based economies. In this book, Julie Pellegrin looks at whether and how production networks develop in Central and Eastern European countries and assesses their chances of catching up with the rest of Europe.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

1. The Enlargement Problematic: Heterogeneity, Catching up and Convergence

Abstract
At first sight, the opening up of Central and Eastern European countries (CEECs) unleashes unprecedented potential for accelerated growth and enhanced competitiveness across Europe. By rendering ‘readily’ available markets and cheap skilled labour, liberalisation enables Western firms to realise economies of scale and scope as well as providing the opportunity to relocate those segments of the production process which are no longer competitively produced in their domestic economies. At the same time, the process is expected to offer CEECs’ firms much needed access to markets, capital and technology. This is a rosy picture of a game where each player apparently has something to gain. But a less optimistic version is equally possible. What if Western firms seize market shares, local firms are locked into loww age specialisation patterns, and no substantial capital and technology, let alone knowledge, is transferred, with the result that local firms are not competitive enough to take advantage of trade liberalisation? Alternatively, howabout the possibility of massive imports of ‘sensitive goods’ and waves of immigration disrupting Western markets with the relocation of Western production to the East potentially causing a significant increase of unemployment in the economies of the European Union (EU)?
Julie Pellegrin

2. The Neglected Importance of OPT in CEECs’ Foreign Trade

Abstract
Outward processing traffic (OPT) is an important feature characterising patterns of East–West economic interdependence. Indeed, OPT may prove relevant, if not decisive, in influencing the terms under which such interdependence develops. Notwithstanding this, the now vast literature on CEECs’ trade (and production) specialisation is characterised by a sustained neglect of OPT developments. A succinct literature on OPT does exist, but its findings are rarely taken into account in ‘mainstream’ trade analyses. Nor does the literature actually bother to refer to the latter. As a result, very little connection is established between the development of OPT and CEECs’ trade performance. In addition, OPT studies are often biased by the negative approach adopted so that when the impact OPT may have on the development of East–West economic interdependence is explored, it is almost always concluded that the measure brings with it only adverse consequences.
Julie Pellegrin

3. OPT Partnerships at Firm-Level: a ‘Learning Approach’

Abstract
The picture of OPT relations is very different at firm-level and in aggregate statistical terms. Thus it is necessary to go beyond a statistical analysis and conduct a more qualitative assessment of the very nature of OPT partnerships that are concluded between EU and CEECs firms. The ‘aggregate’ dependence of CEECs’ trade on OPT, highlighted in Chapter 2’s statistical section, corresponds to a ‘microeconomic’ dependence of local firms on their foreign OPT partners which can take many different forms. It is important to understand the nature of these OPT inter-firm relations as they coincide with different opportunities for CEECs’ firms to take advantage of the measure. In fact, they trigger different ‘learning mechanisms’ which are important factors determining the chances that CEECs transition economies have to catch up. This chapter thus identifies different possible types of OPT partnerships mainly on the basis of fieldwork analysis carried out with local firms in the T&C and electrical machinery sectors in the Czech Republic and in Hungary.
Julie Pellegrin

4. The Transformation of a Policy Instrument

Abstract
An analysis of OPT relations between the EU and CEECs makes clear two fundamental features characterising the development of economic interdependence between the EU and the transition economies. These include the fact that economic interdependence develops at the same time in the very politicised framework of opportunities and constraints shaped by EU policies, and in the context of profound changes at work in the world economy, broadly referred to as ‘globalisation’.
Julie Pellegrin

5. The Politics of OPT

Abstract
This chapter proposes to analyse the logic underlying the adoption of the OPT measure. The objective is to identify vested interests aligned in reaction to CEECs’ opening up. Enshrining into lawsuch an apparently anodyne mechanism – consisting as it does in discriminating between the imports of local producers and the ‘re-imports’ resulting from the relocation strategies of Community producers – has actually given rise to a complex bargaining process. Debate has revolved around the longrunning opposition between the advocates of protection and those who are favourable to free trade. It has involved numerous actors, and has taken place in various arenas: within domestic constituencies, between firms, federations of industry and labour unions, and at the European level, between virtually the same actors plus confederations of industries and of labour, member states and institutions of the Community participating in legislation-making at EU (Commission) level.
Julie Pellegrin

6. Theories of Regional Economic Integration Revisited

Abstract
Besides testing theories that examine European integration in its political aspect, the OPT example offers an opportunity to apply a further set of literature to the case of CEECs’ transition economies. This is comprised of international trade and international production theories and, in general, theories of regional economic integration. Whereas International Trade theories provide – in principle – an answer as to why OPT develops in CEECs, International Production theories are better apt at answering how OPT is chosen by EU firms to extend their activities to CEECs. As for as theories of regional integration are concerned, these should offer an explanation to account for the contribution of OPT to the dynamics of regional integration in an enlarged Europe.
Julie Pellegrin

7. Conclusion

Abstract
An analysis of the development of OPT in CEECs is particularly heuristic in the sense that it provides extremely rich material from which insight into different aspects of the dynamics of regional integration in Europe can be inferred. Different findings were presented in the previous chapters which concern CEECs’ chance of catching up in the context of the regional integration process, as well as implications for policies conducted in the EU and in CEECs. In this chapter, it is proposed to pull this evidence together and drawsome wider conclusions concerning the exercise of the governance of the economy in an enlarged Europe.
Julie Pellegrin

Backmatter

Weitere Informationen

Premium Partner

    Bildnachweise