This article uses a global value chain (GVC) approach to trace the effects of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) transmitted to low income producers in Africa and Asia through trade. It explores how the governance structures associated with different types of GVC determined producers' vulnerability to the exogenous trade shock of 2008. It contextualizes the GVC concept of governance with regards to specific country case studies. This is through elaboration of the links between internal GVC governance structures to firms, with external structures, negotiated by governments. These modalities are shown to have resulted in differentiated effects of the GFC being transmitted to producers.