Relook at the Future of Trade in 2021 as the world emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic

Over the last 12 months, the dynamics of global trade have changed dramatically. The Future of Trade 2020 report, released in October, painted a bleak outlook for the state of international trade.

As we approach the halfway mark of 2021, the outlook - while still uncertain - is much more positive. The discovery and rollout of vaccines, accelerated technology adoption, and geopolitics all play a crucial part in determining the future of trade.

New Data for Global Trade in 2021

Global trade is in the midst of a profound change. Technology, changing consumer behaviours, the drive to combat climate change, and geopolitics will reshape trade in the years ahead.

Chapter Overview

A guide to the most important global trade news and insights

Chapter 1

Trade and the Global Post-Pandemic Recovery

Despite pessimistic trade projections for 2020, the global economy finds itself at the start of uneven recovery. Trade growth shows resilience, and the global economy is set to grow by 5.6% this year, despite continuing uncertainties.

Uncover the progress of global recovery and examine the opportunities inherent in any sector-specific upturns. This chapter outlines the current state of global trade, risks, and the likely outlook for a rebound.

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Chapter 2

The Politics of Trade

As a new US administration has taken office, the relationship between the US and China – on trade and, particularly, technology – will be central to the reshaping of the global trading system.

Coupled with the multitude of risks in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the increasing discussions around US-China decoupling, there could be a ‘new age of protectionism.’ New leadership at the World Trade Organization (WTO) will also bring a new direction to tackle the trade landscape.

Discover the critical aspects of trade politics as they pertain to US-China relations, the new Biden administration and the policy agenda under new WTO leadership.

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Chapter 3

Key Trends in Digital Trade, Data, and Technologies

The 2020 report identified three key trends between technology and trade, and key innovations that are driving change, such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, and the internet of things.

As digital infrastructures grow, they will continue to accelerate a ground-breaking shift in trade from the national to the global.

Learn more about how technology will impact trade and realise efficiencies across the supply chain.

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Chapter 4

The Pivot Towards Sustainability

Despite concerns that climate change commitments would backtrack due to the COVID-19 pandemic, efforts have remained on track.

Explore the pivot towards sustainable practices in international trade and look at recent developments in country commitments to achieve net-zero carbon emissions.

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Chapter 5

Trade Finance and Infrastructure

Before COVID-19, the estimated global infrastructure gap was US$ 6.3 trillion per year up to 2030. But now, a $15 trillion gap is forecast for 2040. Numerous governments are stretched by the health crisis, lack the capacity and resources to make the changes required to underpin economic recovery.

Learn about the current challenges in accessing finance, the degree to which innovative pathways have been addressed to close the trade finance gap, and improve infrastructural access.

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View a snapshot of this year's research and results in a quick presentation.


An extensive look into the Future of Trade, complete with facts, figures, research and results.


The key insights of our Future of Trade report.

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