1. Covid-19 related trade restrictions: The ongoing pandemic led to a range of trade restrictions imposed by various countries to limit the spread of the virus. These included travel bans, import/export restrictions, and supply chain disruptions, impacting global businesses.
2. US-China trade tensions: The trade tensions between the United States and China continued to impact businesses in 2021. New tariffs, export controls, and restrictions on certain technology transfers created challenges for businesses operating in both countries.
3. Brexit: Following the UK’s full exit from the European Union at the beginning of the year, new trade regulations and customs procedures were established, affecting businesses involved in UK-EU trade. This included changes in tariffs, customs checks, and regulatory compliance.
4. Regional trade agreements: Several regional trade agreements were signed or implemented in 2021, impacting businesses. Notable examples include the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) in Asia-Pacific and the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) replacing NAFTA.
5. Digital trade regulations: With the increasing importance of digital trade, several countries introduced new regulations addressing data privacy, cybersecurity, and taxation of digital services. These changes affected businesses operating in the global digital economy.
6. Sustainability and environmental regulations: In response to growing concerns over climate change and sustainability, many countries introduced stricter regulations related to emissions, carbon pricing, and sustainable sourcing. Businesses had to adapt their operations to comply with new sustainability requirements.
7. Export controls on emerging technologies: Various countries implemented tighter export controls on critical technologies, such as artificial intelligence, semiconductor technology, and advanced manufacturing. These restrictions impacted businesses involved in the supply chain or development of advanced technologies.
8. Sanctions and restrictions on specific countries: Governments imposed new sanctions and trade restrictions on certain countries, such as Russia, Iran, and North Korea. These measures affected businesses involved in trade or investment with these countries.
9. Changes in intellectual property rights regulations: Intellectual property rights regulations underwent changes in several countries, affecting businesses involved in research, development, and protection of intellectual property assets. These changes impacted sectors like technology, pharmaceuticals, and consumer goods.
10. Anti-money laundering and anti-corruption measures: Governments around the world introduced or strengthened regulations aimed at combating money laundering, bribery, and corruption. These measures placed additional compliance burdens on businesses, particularly those involved in international transactions or in high-risk sectors.