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The paper explored the benefits that accrue to Ghanaian craft exporters from subcontracting ties and the regulatory mechanisms (or the lack of them) that bind (or undermine) their integration into the global market. The benefits that accrue to the exporters for participating in the informal subcontracting arrangement include access to finance, buyer contact services, product development and quality control services. Power to enforce trade terms, effective monitoring, sanctions and trust are critical in enabling informal subcontracting arrangements to work effectively. The strong positions of buyers and export agents in the craft value chain enable them to apply sanctions to extract compliance from the exporters whereas the weak position of the export vendors implies the lack of sanctioning authority over the rogue artisan subcontractors. The government’s promotion programmes could be tailored to help develop the capacities of the artisans to design new products, as well as re-orient them to imbibe the work ethics that would enable them to succeed in the export market. State power can be used to formulate craft industry specific patenting laws that address design copying.
Keywords: Ghana; Export; Network; Craft