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Dear Members of the World Investment Network,

The Spring issue of our Transnational Corporations ( academic journal is hot off the press.

The first edition of 2019, volume 26 no. 1 ( , features papers on subjects ranging from trade politics stemming from global value chains dynamics to patent protection and a trailblazing UNCTAD paper on determining ultimate investors in FDI, that bring fresh perspectives to some contemporary developments in the global economy.
* Ari Van Assche and Byron Gangnes consider how the rise of GVCs affects trade politics in developed countries. Their analysis shows that GVCs drive a wedge between the interests of workers and managers in labour-intensive industries, upsetting a coalition that traditionally favoured protectionism against competing imports.

* Gary Gereffi et. al. tally how electronic and medical devices GVCs pursued divergent pathways that led to value chain upgrading in high-tech manufacturing in Costa Rica. By combining a GVC perspective with insights on knowledge flows and value creation at the local level, the authors promote the more explicit integration of international business and economic geography concepts and methods. Their analysis holds important lessons on policy considerations for other emerging economies.

* Florian Becker-Ritterspach et. al., building on key insights of the comparative capitalism literature, assess how States sway the outward foreign direct investment decisions by their firms through policy support and subsidies. The paper puts forward a series of propositions on how home-country measures in both emerging and developed economies may boost the volume of outward FDI and determine the location and mode of firms’ investment abroad.

* Bruno Casella in UNCTAD Insights puts forward a novel computational method to determine the distribution of ultimate investors in bilateral FDI stock. Reconstructing the global FDI network in this way gives a more accurate and complete snapshot of international production than do standalone bilateral FDI statistics, with considerable implications for policymaking. The paper also brings interesting context to developments such as Brexit and trade tensions between the United States, China and others.

* Lastly, an expansive research note by Nikolaos Papageorgiadis et. al. considers factors that contribute to the strength of national patent protection and enforcement in 43 member countries of the World Trade Organization between 1998 and 2011, the period after the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement entered into force. The paper establishes a link with UNCTAD’s Investment Policy Framework for Sustainable Development and highlights important implications from patent protection and enforcement for national and international investment policymaking.

The TNC welcomes contributions from scholars in the academic community and beyond for future issues of the journal. In 2018 the journal was repurposed to create greater synergy with UNCTAD’s programmes on investment for development. This means contributions feed directly into policy research at intergovernmental meetings and UNCTAD’s own research, notably the World Investment Report, and therefore have a real impact on investment policymaking. Guidance on the type of contributions we are looking for can be found in our editorial statement ( and guidelines for contributors ( .
Best regards,

James X. Zhan
Director, Investment and Enterprise (
Editor-in-chief, Transnational Corporations
United Nations Conference on Trade & Development
Palais des Nations, Geneva

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