Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2011, Vol. 66 ›› Issue (4): 477-486.doi: 10.11821/xb201104005

Previous Articles     Next Articles

Trade Barriers and the Global Production Network: A Case Study of Bicycle Trade between China and Canada

GAO Boyang1,2, LIUWeidong1, GLEN Norcliffe3, DU Chao4   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Regional Sustainable Development Modeling, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China;
    2. Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China;
    3. York University, Toronto M3J 1L2, Canada;
    4. School of Geography and Planning, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China
  • Received:2010-07-18 Revised:2011-03-20 Online:2011-04-20 Published:2011-04-20
  • Supported by:

    Knowledge Innovation Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, No.KZCX2-YW-345

Abstract: In previous researches, the framework of global production network was established based on free trade and neo-liberalism. However, the globe is not flat. Trade barriers broadly exist and deeply influence the economic globalization. In this article, we explore the issue of trade barriers and its impacts on global production networks. We try to sketch a theoretical interpretation of the trading arrangements under trade barriers, and illustrate the argument with material gathered during our recent investigations into the production networks that connect the bicycle industry in China with Canada. Our research shows that: (1) with trade barriers, the traditional network pattern organized by producers and distributors has changed. Third parties, including trade agency, trade show, bank, and so on, took active part in the trading process and became one of the important poles of the global production networks. (2) Originally, the very metaphor of a network seems to allow more flexibility than a chain, although even so, the breaking of connections in a network often viewed as unfortunate in previous research. However, in our research, we found that the production networks linkage are very flexible. The linkages amongst the very actors in the trading systems are frequently negotiated and switched. At the same time, quality control and labor welfare have become more important than cost control. (3) The spatial organization of the global production network shows differently in two aspects. On one hand, the producers are more labor-oriented and market-oriented than before. On the other hand, the third parties intend to gather along financial clusters and services clusters.

Key words: trade barriers, global production network, organization, spatial distribution