The Baltic Region

2020 Vol. 12 №4

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Transformation of global value chains in Russia and the Baltics amid Covid-19: prospects for regionalization and implications for economic policy

DOI
10.5922/2079-8555-2020-4-7
Pages
128-146

Abstract

Although Russia and the Baltics have historically been economic partners, the economic relations between them are tense today. Nearly stagnating bilateral trade contributes little to the development of either side. The Baltics-Russian bilateral trade conducted within global value chains (GVC) and operations of multinational companies is much more resistant to geopolitical and economic shocks than traditional international trade. In particular, the accession of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania to the EU and NATO in 2004 and the introduction of reciprocal EU-Russia sanctions in 2014 did not curb GVC activities between Russia and the Baltics. The article discusses factors in the transformation of the Baltics-Russian GVCs amid COVID-19. The research aims to prove regionalisation as a viable prospect for the transformation of global value chains in Russia and the Baltics. In the medium term, regionalisation is possible as (1) part of global trends towards GVC transformation in the industries in which Russia and the Baltics traditionally specialise; (2) as a response to the long-term structural challenges faced by Russia and the Baltics in creating a new generation of internationally competitive firms; (3) as a result of companies tackling the effects of the pandemic against the background of historically stable relationships; (4) as a product of strong social contacts and soft power. GVC regionalisation will be driven by individual companies, regional (local) governments, and Russian-Baltic cross-border cooperation initiatives. Finally, repercussions for Russian and Baltic politics are discussed alongside GVC regionalisation benefits for all the parties involved.

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