There has been a dramatic change in international trade and production patterns in the last thirty years. A large fraction of world trade and production is now structured around Global Value Chains (GVCs), where stages of a single production process are dispersed internationally. An increasing number of firms have organised production on a global scale and choose to offshore parts, components or services to producers in foreign and often distant countries. GVCs have thus revolutionised the way economists think about international trade and firms' dynamics. This thesis empirically investigates three distinct aspects of this phenomenon with the aim of better understanding their determinants and consequences. The first chapter provides a brief description of GVCs. The second chapter studies how firm-to-firm relationships form and how they develop over time. The third chapter sheds light on the role of multinational enterprises (MNEs) in GVCs, by evaluating the impact of preferential trade agreements, the most important trade policy change of the last three decades, on the production and trade activities of MNEs. Finally, the last chapter investigates the role played by GVCs in unlocking the international transfer of technology to developing economies. Such transfers have been assumed, but not yet established in the literature.