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South-south regional value chains (RVCs) are increasingly led by Southern lead firms governing through private standards. This panel examines the role of firms, states, and civil society in the governance RVCs in the global South generally and in relation to the recent Covid-19 pandemic.
The recent rise of South-South trade has spurred an expansion of domestic and regional value chains (RVCs) in Africa, Asia and Latin America (Horner&Nadvi,2018). Southern firms now play a leadership role in the governance of RVCs, setting private standards for supplier compliance (covering decent work and fair trade) (Pickles et al,2016). However, we know little about whether Southern lead firms, who face limited civil society pressure and increasing South-South competition, pursue private governance of social standards? Alternatively, could the expansion of RVCs open up new channels for more effective state regulation of trade and social standards? Furthermore, while increasing attention is being paid to the implications of the Covid-19 pandemic for firms in the global South supplying retailers in Europe, we know less about its impact on RVCs in the global South.
Submissions are invited on questions that include but are not limited to:
• How does participation in RVCs led by Southern firms affect suppliers and workers in Africa, Asia and Latin America?
• Has the expansion of South-South RVCs enhanced or undermined social standards?
• What has been the impact of Covid-19 on suppliers and workers in RVCs? And how does this compare to what we know about global value chains?
• What is the role of states and multi-stakeholder initiatives (MSIs) in regulating RVCs both generally and in relation to the recent Covid-19 pandemic?
• Can civil society actors and MSIs in the global South shape public-private governance of social standards in RVCs that overlap with GVCs?