It is important to note that the importance of trade developments can vary depending on the region and industry. However, here are ten significant international trade developments that have been widely discussed and deemed important in 2021:
1. COVID-19 Pandemic and Global Trade: The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continued to impact international trade, with disruptions in supply chains, trade restrictions, and an increased focus on healthcare and essential goods.
2. Trade Agreements: Several trade agreements were signed or progressed, including the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) between 15 countries in the Asia-Pacific region, and the United Kingdom securing post-Brexit trade deals.
3. U.S.-China Trade Relations: Changes in the trade relationship between the United States and China remained significant, with ongoing negotiations and tariff adjustments impacting various industries.
4. Digital Trade and E-commerce: The acceleration of digitalization and e-commerce due to the pandemic prompted discussions on digital trade rules and the need for creating frameworks to facilitate cross-border digital transactions.
5. Climate Change and Sustainable Trade: The focus on environmental sustainability and climate change increased, with discussions on initiatives like the European Union’s Green Deal and the inclusion of sustainability provisions in trade agreements.
6. Vaccine Access and Intellectual Property Rights: Discussions surrounding COVID-19 vaccine access, production, and intellectual property rights dominated trade talks, highlighting the need for global cooperation and expanded access to vaccines.
7. Brexit Implications: The United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union continued to impact trade and supply chains, with ongoing negotiations and adjustments.
8. Supply Chain Resilience: The pandemic highlighted vulnerabilities in global supply chains, leading to discussions around enhancing supply chain resilience, diversification, and reshoring of manufacturing.
9. Digital Services Taxes: Several countries imposed or planned to impose digital services taxes, leading to disputes and negotiations at the international level over taxation of multinational digital corporations.
10. Regional Trade Blocs: The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) officially started trading, aiming to create the world’s largest free trade area, impacting trade dynamics within the African continent.
Please note that this list is not exhaustive, and other developments, such as trade disputes, trade sanctions, and geopolitical factors, may also be considered significant by different stakeholders.