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Local delocalization across borders: the case of the garment quasi-cluster in the Balkans

Lois Labrianidis, Nikos Vogiatzis


This paper analyzes local delocalization of Greek manufacturing firms, which have created a garment quasi-cluster, participating in Global Production Networks (GPNs) since the 1960s. The process of delocalization has led the shift of the cluster from Northern Greece to the north, since the mid-1990s, crossing the borders of the countries to currently include Southern Bulgaria, and parts of Southern Albania and Southern FYROM as well. This spatial transformation could be partially attributed to the pressures for more "competitive" prices for Greek firms to continue to be part of the GPNs. Thus, they were led to accept a reduction in their profit margin as well as to reduce their costs, which was mainly achieved through second- and third- tier subcontracting, first within the cities, second in rural areas, and third on the other side of the borders. Evidence from fieldwork conducted in the region produced interesting insights regarding the spatial form of delocalization these tiers have followed, while it highlights the role of "intra-firm" relations and "non-firm actors" of the GPN (e.g. the state) from the suppliers' point of view.

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Print ISSN: 0886-5655
Online ISSN: 2159-1229