Myanmar, Say Hello to the World of Global Value Chains

  • Thomas Bernhardt


After long years of isolation and inward orientation, Myanmar’s participation in global value chains (GVCs) is very limited. Yet, integration into GVCs can be an important contributor to a country’s economic development. However, the benefits from GVC participation do not materialize automatically and there are actually also risks associated with it. Based on primary and existing secondary data and information collected through expert consultation, this chapter assesses the extent of Myanmar’s current participation in GVCs before discussing the opportunities and challenges that deeper integration into GVCs can bring for the country. It concludes by delineating a number of policy recommendations.


  1. ADB. (2014). Myanmar: Unlocking the Potential. Mandaluyong: ADB.Google Scholar
  2. ADB. (2016). Myanmar Transport Sector Policy Note: How to Reduce Transport Costs. Mandaluyong: Asian Development Bank (ADB).Google Scholar
  3. Arndt, S. W., & Kierzkowski, H. (2001). Fragmentation: New Production and Trade Patterns in the World Economy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Athukorala, P. (2010). Production Networks and Trade Patterns in East Asia: Regionalization or Globalization? ADB Working Paper on Regional Economic Integration, No. 56.Google Scholar
  5. Ayres, S., & Freire, C. (2014). In Which Industries to Invest? Aligning Market and Development Incentives in Myanmar. Journal of Southeast Asian Economies, 31(3), 395–411.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Barrientos, S., Gereffi, G., & Rossi, A. (2011). Economic and Social Upgrading in Global Production Networks: A New Paradigm for a Changing World. International Labor Review, 150(3-4), 319–340.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bernhardt, T., Kanay De, S., & Dickenson-Jones, G. (2016). Myanmar SMEs’ Participation in ASEAN and East Asian Regional Economic Integration – With a Focus on Food and Apparel Manufacturing. CESD Economic Reforms Working Paper, No. 1/2016.Google Scholar
  8. Donaubauer, J., & Dreger, C. (2016). The End of Cheap Labour: Are Foreign Investors Leaving China?. DIW Discussion Paper, No. 1598.Google Scholar
  9. Dunning, J. H. (2000). The eclectic paradigm as an envelope for economic and business theories of MNE activity. International Business Review, 9, 163–190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Ernst, D., & Kim, L. (2002). Global Production Networks, Knowledge Diffusion, and Local Capability Formation. Research Policy, 31, 1417–1429.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Feenstra, R. C. (1998). Integration of Trade and Disintegration of Production in the Global Economy. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 12(4), 31–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Gabusi, G. (2015). State, Market and Social Order: Myanmar’s Political Economy Challenges. European Journal of East Asian Studies, 14(1), 52–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Gereffi, G., & Korzeniewicz, M. (Eds.). (1994). Commodity Chains and Global Capitalism. Westport: Greenwood Press.Google Scholar
  14. Gereffi, G., Humphrey, J., & Sturgeon, T. (2005). The Governance of Global Value Chains. Review of International Political Economy, 12(1), 78–104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Grossman, G. M., & Rossi-Hansberg, E. (2008). Trading Tasks: A Simple Theory of Offshoring. American Economic Review, 98(5), 1978–1997.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hummels, D., Ishii, J., & Yi, K.-M. (2001). The Nature and Growth of Vertical Specialization in World Trade. Journal of International Economics, 54(1), 75–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Humphrey, J., & Schmitz, H. (2002). How Does Insertion in Global Value Chains Affect Upgrading in Industrial Clusters? Regional Studies, 36(9), 1017–1027.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. IMF. (2015). Selected Issues Paper – Myanmar. IMF Country Report, No. 15/268. Washington, DC: IMF.Google Scholar
  19. Kaplinsky, R. (2005). Globalization, Poverty and Inequality. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  20. Kudo, T. (2008). The Impact of U.S. Sanctions on the Myanmar Garment Industry. Asian Survey, 48(6), 997–1017.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. MGMA (Myanmar Garment Manufacturers Association). (2015). Myanmar’s Garment Sector: Opportunities & Challenges in 2015. Yangon: MGMA.Google Scholar
  22. Morris, M., & Staritz, C. (2014). Industrialization Trajectories in Madagascar’s Export Apparel Industry: Ownership, Embeddedness, Markets, and Upgrading. World Development, 56(C), 243–257.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Pickles, J., Plank, L., Staritz, C., & Glasmeier, A. (2015). Trade Policy and Regionalisms in Global Clothing Production Networks. Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, 8, 381–402.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Rossi, A. (2013). Does Economic Upgrading Lead to Social Upgrading in Global Production Networks? Evidence from Morocco. World Development, 46, 223–233.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Soans, A., & Abe, M. (2015). Myanmar Business Survey. Data Analysis and Policy Implications. Bangkok: UNESCAP.Google Scholar
  26. Sturgeon, T. J. (2001). How Do We Define Value Chains and Production Networks? IDS Bulletin, 32(3), 9–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Taglioni, D., & Winkler, D. (2016). Making Global Value Chains Work for Development. Washington, DC: World Bank.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Turnell, S. (2014). Banking and Financial Regulation and Reform in Myanmar. Journal of Southeast Asian Economies, 31(2), 225–240.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. UNCTAD. (2013). Global Value Chains and Development. Investment and Value Added Trade in the Global Economy. Geneva: UNCTAD.Google Scholar
  30. UNESCAP. (2015). Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report 2015: Supporting Participation in Value Chains. Bangkok: UNESCAP.Google Scholar
  31. WTO. (2014). Trade Policy Review Myanmar. Geneva: WTO.Google Scholar
  32. Zhu, S., & Pickles, J. (2014). Bring In, Go Up, Go West, Go Out: Upgrading, Regionalisation and Delocalisation in China’s Apparel Production Networks. Journal of Contemporary Asia, 44(1), 36–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Bernhardt
    • 1
  1. 1.Myanmar Centre for Economic and Social Development (CESD)YangonMyanmar

Personalised recommendations