An Assessment of the Impact of Export Processing Zones and an Identification of Appropriate Measures to Support their Development

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An Assessment of the Impact of Export Processing Zones and an Identification of Appropriate Measures to Support their Development

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Title: An Assessment of the Impact of Export Processing Zones and an Identification of Appropriate Measures to Support their Development
For Royal Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, April 2008
Author: Gibbon, Peter; Jones, Sam; Thomsen, Lotte
Abstract: 1. Export Processing Zones (EPZs) in their traditional form (fenced-in industrial parks where export-oriented investors enjoy free port status) emerged in the period 1950-75 and first became widely adopted between 1975-85. Currently there are more than 3,500 EPZs in 130 countries. EPZs have been mainly but not exclusively targeted at attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) in labour-intensive manufact-uring; however, an increasing number of EPZs are targeted at capital-intensive manufacturing or services, and/or are also open to domestic investor participation. Some newer EPZs also depart from the traditional model by embracing wider regions. 2. Most of the first EPZs were established in Asia, and Asian EPZs have also witnessed the highest level of innovation in respect of sectoral focus, geographical flexibility and openness to domestic enterprise. A number of the Asian countries adopting EPZs in the early stages later became the so-called Newly Industrialised Countries (NICs). 3. The World Bank and some bilateral donors provided extensive support to EPZs in the 1980s and early 1990s, with the aim not only of promoting developing country export growth but also of creating what was seen as a bridgehead to more liberal trade regimes. Since around 2000, as trade liberalisation has become widely accepted as a norm, multilateral donors have become more cautious in their approach to EPZs, recognising that these may be promoted by some developing countries as an alternative to wider trade and business environment reforms. Furthermore, it appears that a majority of World Bank-supported EPZs have been unsuccessful in their own terms.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10398/9485
Date: 2017-05-08

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