Global production systems and European integration

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Series Details No.43, July 2002
Publication Date July 2002
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In this paper I explore some of the inter-relations between the globalisation of production systems, the political-economic re-definition of Europe and the changing character of places within it, and the changing character of corporate (dis)investment strategies. International investment form constitutive moments in the creation of global production systems and of changing geographies of production within Europe. Whilst EU-based multinational and transnationals seek investment opportunities both in other parts of Europe beyond their national territory and further afield outside Europe, major companies based in the USA and Japan in particular have invested to varying degrees within Europe. Furthermore, there has been a shift in the balance between 'green field' investment in manufacturing and investment via acquisition and merger, often linked to growth in the number and form of strategic alliances and other forms of co-operative linkages between major firms. These flows, mediated through corporate organisational structures, raise important theoretical and practical questions about the links between the re-definition of the boundaries of the firm, increasing globalisation of production systems, changing forms of corporate strategies towards production and competition, the increasing political-economic integration of the emerging macro-regions of a global economy, a process that is most developed (although still evolving and far from complete) in the EU, and the changing intra-regional economic geographies of Europe.

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