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Export processing zones : A threatened instrument for global economy insertion ?


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  • Jean-Pierre Cling


  • Gaëlle Letilly



(English) The adoption of export-led growth strategies by developing countries is directly responsible for the considerable expansion of export processing zones (EPZs) in recent years. Such zones are frequently considered key instruments in the array of policies adopted by countries to attract foreign direct investment, boost employment, stimulate exports and economic growth, and finally to improve the transfer of technology and the acquisition of skills by the national work force. This paper examines, in the light of the experiences of several countries, the impact that an EPZ may have on the development of the host country. The facts show that the hopes pinned on such zones by developing countries are frequently excessive. Moreover, it demonstrates the challenges facing EPZs due to the new WTO regulations, as well as from new aspects of globalisation; both seem to be pushing towards reform on the geographical distribution of EPZs. _________________________________ (français) L’adoption de politiques de promotion des exportations par l’ensemble des pays en développement est directement à l’origine de la prolifération des zones franches au cours de ces dernières années. Pour les pays, la mise en place de ces zones est habituellement considérée comme un instrument clé dans le cadre d’une politique d’attraction des investissements étrangers, en vue de favoriser la création d’emplois, de stimuler les exportations et d’accélérer la croissance économique, et enfin d’améliorer les transferts de technologie et l’acquisition de qualifications par la main-d’oeuvre nationale. Cette étude considère, à la lumière de quelques expériences, le type d’impact que les zones franches peuvent avoir sur le développement des pays d’accueil. Les faits montrent que les espoirs mis en elles par les pays en développement sont souvent excessifs. De plus, elle met en évidence les défis posés aux zones franches par les accords de l’OMC, ainsi que par les nouveaux aspects de la mondialisation, qui semblent pousser tous deux vers une restructuration géographique de la répartition des zones franches au niveau mondial.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation) in its series Working Papers with number DT/2001/17.

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Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2001
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:dia:wpaper:dt200117

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Cited by:
  1. Peter Glick & François Roubaud, 2004. "Export Processing Zone Expansion in an African Country: What are the Labor Market and Gender Impacts?," Working Papers DT/2004/15, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation), revised Dec 2004.
  2. Aradhna Aggarwal, 2007. "Impact of Special Economic Zones on Employment, Poverty and Human Development," Development Economics Working Papers 22140, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
  3. Mats Furby, 2005. "Evaluating the Malaysian Export Processing Zones With special focus on the electronic industry," International Trade 0510004, EconWPA.


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  1. Mondialisation


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