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Multinational enterprises, value creation and taxation: Key issues and policy developments

03-07-2019

The substantial reduction in trade costs and the rapid technological advances characterising the global economy over the past three decades have allowed multinational enterprises (MNEs) to increasingly break up their supply chains and spread them across different countries. The principal implication of this change relates to the concept of value added and the way it is created and captured across MNE-controlled global value chains (GVCs). The dynamic nature of transfers within MNEs, the increasing ...

The substantial reduction in trade costs and the rapid technological advances characterising the global economy over the past three decades have allowed multinational enterprises (MNEs) to increasingly break up their supply chains and spread them across different countries. The principal implication of this change relates to the concept of value added and the way it is created and captured across MNE-controlled global value chains (GVCs). The dynamic nature of transfers within MNEs, the increasing role of services and intangible assets in manufacturing, and most critically the unfolding digital revolution have all intensified the mobility of value-generating factors within GVCs, and highlighted the difficulty of defining the exact location where value is generated. These developments have significant policy implications. One critical area is that of tax policy, where the challenges posed by the new economic landscape are numerous and multifaceted. On the one hand, governments seek to encourage trade and investment by MNEs by removing tax and regulatory barriers they face. Some governments go even further by resorting to harmful tax competition that drives corporate income taxes to the bottom. At the same time, many MNEs continue to employ enhanced tax arbitrage to minimise their tax obligations across jurisdictions; furthermore, business models are increasingly becoming borderless and highly mobile, and therefore difficult to tax. In view of these challenges, consensus is gradually emerging that tax systems need improved alignment to ensure that profits are taxed where the economic activities generating them are performed and where value is created. Yet, allocating jurisdiction to tax business profits in the context of MNE-controlled GVCs remains a highly complex process.

Global and regional value chains: Opportunities for European SMEs' internationalisation and growth

14-02-2019

International value chains have emerged as the new paradigm for the organisation of production globally. Today, most production processes across the world are vertically fragmented as a result of the increased unbundling of tasks and functions and their sourcing from different geographical locations. The extent to which this expansion in supply-chain trade is global in character (which some describe as the 'Factory World' phenomenon), or is rather based on more intra-regional ties clustered around ...

International value chains have emerged as the new paradigm for the organisation of production globally. Today, most production processes across the world are vertically fragmented as a result of the increased unbundling of tasks and functions and their sourcing from different geographical locations. The extent to which this expansion in supply-chain trade is global in character (which some describe as the 'Factory World' phenomenon), or is rather based on more intra-regional ties clustered around Europe, Asia and the Americas, is still being debated in the literature. Notwithstanding their geographical characteristics, international value chains offer increased opportunities for enterprises, by fostering their growth and internationalisation irrespective of their scale and size. To SMEs, they offer a broader range of channels through which they can participate more actively in global markets. By linking with international supply chains, SMEs can take a first step up the ladder, which – through spill-overs and knowledge transfers – can often give them access to assignments of higher added value. With greater interconnectedness, however, comes greater complexity. Not all SMEs are able to take advantage of the opportunities and link with international value chains in an effective way. More importantly, however, for those that do manage to integrate into international production chains, the magnitude and nature of the benefits will critically depend on the SMEs' entry point and position in global production networks and the links they can develop within those networks.

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