In recent years, global value chains have played an increasing role in business strategies, profoundly affecting international trade and development paradigms. Global value chains now represent a major source of socio-upgrading opportunities and a new path for development. Trade, competitiveness and development policies should be reshaped accordingly to seize these opportunities and avoid the risks associated with greater participation in global value chains. This paper provides a framework and analytical tools for measuring and improving a country’s performance with respect to participation in global value chains. With a clear operational focus, it provides guidance for countries willing to join, maintain participation, and/or move up global value chains. With the ultimate objective to increase the value (the development content) for trade, it also offers strategies to maximize the benefits and minimize the risks of developing countries’ participation in global value chains.