12 Major Events in 2021 That Could Change the World Economy

12 Major events in 2021

1) January 20: President-elect Biden takes office

Trump’s erratic presidency is almost over. On January 20, President-elect Biden will take office. While this doesn’t mean things will be like Trump never was President, it will very likely mean a new style of politics. The US will work more with allies and like-minded countries to pursue its interests, emphasize the win-win nature of international cooperation, and reinforce multilateral institutions rather than undermining them.

2) February: the WTO will have a new Director-General — or not

The WTO was supposed to have a new Director-General by November. Although the Nigerian finance minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, obtained widespread support within the WTO membership, she was effectively vetoed by the US administration. Currently, the selection process is on hold. Possibly once Biden assumes the presidency, the deadlock will be overcome.

3) March: The Last Stage of Brexit: European Parliament votes on Trade and Cooperation Agreement

Brexit already happened (on January 31, 2020). So far, it hasn’t been very noticeable as 2020 was still the transition period, so the UK continued to enjoy the benefits of membership although it was not a member of the EU anymore. This ended on December 31, 2020. Now, Brexit will really mean Brexit.

4) March: Launch of China’s 14th Five-Year-Plan (2021–2025) and Long-range Objectives through 2035 at the National People’s Congress

China’s five-year plans contain important strategic elements for the orientation of its economy. The current five-year plan, for example, featured the “Made in China 2025” strategy aimed at acquiring know-how in strategically important industries so that China would become a — if not the — leading industrial power by 2049.

5) July 23: 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) will celebrate the 100th anniversary of its founding in 1921 and use this as an opportunity to publicize its successes. Economically, the CCP has undoubtedly been remarkably successful, transforming China from a small, poor economy to the world’s largest economy.

6) July/August: Olympic Games in Tokyo — or not

The jury is still out if we are going to see the Olympic Games in Tokyo this summer. While rising infections during the winter months might make it seem inconceivable to hold such a large event, widespread vaccinations might have changed the picture by the summer.

7) August 17: Microsoft pulls the plug on the Internet Explorer

It is a digital dinosaur and has been outdated for longer than I remember. It has always been terribly slow, and it is slow to disappear. It is still dear to some and at the core of the digital infrastructure of some organizations. Well, it will finally disappear and give way to Microsoft Edge — or whichever browser you prefer (or your organization lets you use). I won’t miss it.

8) September: Covid is still not over, and the economic fallout is starting to become visible

Just a reminder that the vaccine’s arrival in developed economies doesn’t mean the health crisis is over. While by September, it is likely that vaccinations in most developed economies will be well underway, most developing economies might still have to wait until some point in 2023 until vaccinations take place on a wide scale.

9) September 26: Germany votes for a new Chancellor

Angela Merkel is one of the longest-serving senior politicians in Germany. In 2021, she will end her career after 16 years. It is still unclear who will be the next party leader of the CDU (expect news on that around January 15–16). It’s also far from clear what results of these elections might bring: currently, the Greens are unusually strong in Germany and might even have a shot at the Chancellor’s job.

10) October 22: Japan general election

If the Olympic Games go as planned, they are unlikely to significantly impact the Japanese election. But if they go horribly wrong, they might very well taint the record of the current government. In 2020, Shizo Abe resigned as prime minister. He was succeeded by Yoshihide Suga, who pledged to continue most of his politics, including the “Abenomics” strategy of fiscal and monetary expansion, structural reform, and trade policy liberalization, designed to revive Japan’s stagnant economy.

11) October 30/31st: G20 Summit in Italy

During the Trump years, it was a success if G20 summits were at least able to agree on the wording of the final communiqué. But the G20 could be a forum that is more meaningful for global economic governance. In the 2008/2009 financial crisis, the G20 was instrumental in putting in place a recovery package. It is possible that under a new US administration, it may be able to play a stronger role again. So this G20 Summit could be more interesting than previous installments. And while we are at it: Is the G7 still a thing?

12) November 12: COP26 in Glasgow

What is true for the WTO and the G20 also applies to the climate change conference in Glasgow. While Trump withdrew from the Paris Agreement, Biden is keen on joining it again and driving the US’s green agenda forward. The EU, China, Japan, and other major economies have pledged carbon neutrality by 2050/2060.

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Global & European Dynamics

Our mission on this blog is to shed light on Europe’s role in the world economy. https://globaleurope.eu/