Private International Law, Global Value Chains and the Externalities of Transnational Production: Towards Alignment?

Jaakko Salminen*, Mikko Rajavuori

*Corresponding author for this work

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Global value chains (‘GVCs’) have become a basic operative unit of economic production. Their development over the twentieth and twenty-first centuries has resulted in immense creation of wealth while linking together individuals, companies and economies across the world. But GVCs are also a major cause for environmental degradation, carbon emissions and human rights abuses—the ‘externalities’ of global production that are not captured by existing regulatory frameworks. This paper examines the role of private international law (‘PIL’) in mapping GVCs into specific jurisdictions. The analysis suggests that PIL, focused on individual entities, does not allow a systematic legal approach to GVCs, which are collective entities. This lack of a systematic approach exacerbates the externalities of global production. However, the budding legal operationalisation of GVCs provides a functional-analytical lens to understand, systematise, critique and develop the role of PIL as a fundamental transnational constituent in ordering global production in relation to GVCs and beyond.
Original languageEnglish
JournalTransnational Legal Theory
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)230-248
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021


  • Global value chains
  • Sustainability
  • Transnational litigation
  • Private international law
  • Organisational economics

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