The Normative Applicability of Global Value Chains to the International Investment Law Framework

UoM administered thesis: Phd

  • Authors:
  • Olga Chetverikova


Global Value Chains (GVCs) constitute a new form of economic structure and have brought significant changes to the world economy by streamlining production processes. Today GVCs account for more than 80% of world trade. They have become an indispensable part of industrialisation and gradually resulted in the regional fragmentation of production, offshoring and, more recently, regional integration. Their impact on the activities of Multinational Enterprises (MNEs) has been widely researched under economic geography and development studies whilst legal scholarship on the subject has been scarce. The thesis aims to address this research gap by providing a detailed legal evaluation of GVCs under International Investment Law (IIL) and WTO Law. The thesis has been designed to establish whether investment and trade instruments could be applied to facilitate Technology Transfer in high-tech GVCs and make it beneficial to both investors and Host States. It further focuses on providing legal assessment of its four main research elements – trade, investment, Technology Transfer and Intellectual Property (IP) – in their application to GVCs. In particular, the emphasis has been placed on evaluating investment activities of the top Japanese car manufacturers in the Indian automotive sector. As GVCs are multi-jurisdictional and industry specific, thus posing certain challenges for legal enquiry, the thesis proposes two-tier assessment of GVCs via the macro level of international law and the micro level of national legislation. In the context of GVCs, those two levels are found to be intrinsically interconnected through Technology Transfer. The thesis also benefits from a tailored research methodology that incorporates doctrinal legal method with a treaty typology and an industry specific case study. The former involves legal assessment of combined 130 Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) and Treaties with Investment Provisions (TIPs) for 2012–2017 period. The latter includes designing of the Suzuki & Toyota Case Study aimed at evaluating market entry requirements and equity ownership structures in the context of GVCs. The examination further proceeds with establishing the applicability of the following legal areas to GVCs: 1) on the macro level – general trade and investment principles under IIL and WTO Law, investment protection standards and treaty interpretation under IIL, and Technology Transfer under international IP; and 2) on the micro level – national IP and competition regulation under Indian and Japanese jurisdictions. The thesis provides an original contribution to the field of enquiry and considerably adds to existing legal scholarship. It builds on the pure economics of GVCs and the way it could be applied to law. The results will benefit the wider scholarly community and significantly contribute to the legal debate on GVCs.


Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Award date1 Aug 2020