Geopolitic and diplomatic events of 2016 – the export brief

As 2016 is now behind us, here is a quick brief on the main diplomatic and geopolitic events which might impact your daily export projects.

1st SEMESTER  (January – June 2016) : 

-PORTUGAL : Marcelo Rebelo  is elected on the first round of the Presidential elections.

BURMA / Republic of the Union of MAYANMAR : Ktin Kyaw  is elected President. Ktin Kyaw is closed to Aung Suu Kyi , famous for her pacifist opposition to the military dictatorship in place at the end of the 80’s, she spent almost 2 decades in prison and got the Peace Nobel prize for her non-violent actions pro-democracy. Ktin Kyaw is the first democratically elected President of the country.

EQUATOR : an earthquake ends up in 500 deaths and over 7000 hurt.

BRAZIL : After many protests, Deputies vote for Dilma Rousseff’s destitution for corruption and public-accounts falsifications.

UK : Against all predictions, British citizens decide to leave the European Union in the referendum resulting in favor of the BREXIT. The British Pound loses 8% against the USD the very next day. After this referendum, the Prime Minister Tony Blair resigns and is replaced by Theresa May whose responsibility will be to enforce and negotiate the Brexit terms with the rest of Europe.

3RD QUARTER (July – August – September 2016)

TURKEY : a Military push fails and results in 265 deaths in 24 hours. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan responds by organizing massive arrestations amongst the Militaries and Magistrates (over 6000)

SWITZERLAND : Solar Impulse finishes the first round-the-world trip realized only with solar energy after 17 months flying.

BRAZIL : the Olympic Games are held

ITALY : an earthquake ends up in over 250 deaths.

ISRAEL : Shimon Peres died at the age of 93. He won the Nobel peace prize in 1994 for his actions for peace in the Middle East. He was one of the Israel’s founding fathers.

GABON : Despite contested results by his opponent Jean Ping, Ali Bongo is re-elected President. He is President since 2009 and succeeded to his father Omar Bongo.

OUZBEKISTAN : Islam Karimov dies after 27 years as President. Chavkat Mirzioiev is now officially President after winning the elections of December.

TUNISIA : Youssef Chahed forms the 9th government since the Jasime revolution in 2011. His priority will be to promote and boost Tunisian economy.

WORLD : OPEC members agreed to lower production of about 700.000 barrels/day in order to face price crisis. This decision is heavy in significations as this is only the 3rd time the OPEC officially influence the market (after the oil shock of 1973 and 1986). It is also an agreement relying on two opposing countries : Saudi Arabia (sunnite side) Iran (shiite side).

4TH QUARTER (OctoberNovember – December 2016)

THAILAND : Death of the King Rama IX Bhumibol Adulyadej after 7 decades on the throne.

MOROCCO : 196 countries get together for the COP22 : a huge conference on climatic changes, and how to limit climatic warming.

WORLD : The Portuguese Antonio Guterres (former Prime Minister of Portugal) is elected Secretary-General of the United Nations (http://www.un.org/en/index.html). He succeeds to the South Korean Ban Ki-moon. During his first speech, he mentioned that he wishes to make the fight of populism and terrorism a priority.

USA : Donald Trump becomes President of the United States of America after winning 306 states against 232 for his opponent Hilary Clinton. There were fears of USD plunge after this election, but the US economy seems to stay stable one month after the event.

LEBANON : Michel Aoun is elected President.

CUBA : the revolutionary leader Fidel Castro dies at 90. He overthrew Batista dictator in 1959 and established a communist state which is still run today by his brother Raul Castro.

CANADA-EU : after having been seriously questioned by the Belgium Wallonie Premier Paul Magnettethe, the CETA (Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement) is now enforced. This agreement should initiate increased exchanges in between the 2 continents. For more insight, you can read my last post on the CETA.

PALESTINE : ONU adopts an Act condemning colonisation of Palestine territories

AUSTRIA : Following the cancelation of the Presidential elections due to irregularities in spring, The Ecologist-leader Alexander Van Der Bellen wins the elections against the extreme-right candidate Norbert Hofer.

ITALY : The Democrat Prime Minister Matteo Renzi organizes a referendum to amend the Constitution with a view of making it more effective by reinforcing the Executive power. As the « No » wins, Matteo Renzi resigns and his Foreign Affairs Minister, the Democrat Paolo Gentiloni, takes his seat until the next Legislative elections

ROMANIA : The Legistative elections are won by the Social-Democrats and the President Klaus Iohannis appoints Korin Grindeanu as Prime Minister.

-The GAMBIA : The outgoing President Yahya Jammeh looses the elections against Adams Barrow by only 19.000 votes which makes his supporters contest the elections.

SOUTH KOREA : Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-aln replaces the Conservative President Park Gun-hye who was accused of corruption and of sharing classified documents.

2016 has also been dramatically punctuated by terrorists attacks targeting many countries such as TURKEY, BUKINA FASO, COTE d’IVOIRE, BELGIUM, PAKISTAN, USA, EGYPT, FRANCE, IRAK, SAUDI ARABIA, GERMANY, JORDAN, YEMEN and AFGHANISTAN. They have been mostly claimed by the Islamic State, but also by other organizations like Al Quaida or PKK. These attacks resulted in over 800 deaths.

In SYRIA, the entire year has been punctuated by the civil war opposing the Syrian Army of Bachar El-Assad, the Rebels who want the end of the dictatorship of Bachar El-Assad, and the Islamic State, for over 5 years now.

On the cultural side, 2016 has been a dark year, with the loss of many great artists such as David Bowie, Prince, Leonard Cohen, George Michael and the actress Carrie Fisher.

So now 2016 is over, Cheers for 2017! It should be a very active year, especially for Europe, where elections will be held throughout the next few months, and will tell if Europeans are ready for a more united continent in order to face the great challenges ahead.

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Diplomatic Update : it happened in November 2016

UNITED STATES : Donald Trump becomes President of the United States of America after winning 306 states against 232 for his opponent Hilary Clinton. There were fears of USD plunge after this election, but the US economy seems to stay stable one month after the event.

FRANCE : 

-The former Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron officially announces his candidacy to be the next French President. The elections will take place in April and May 2017.  http://www.wsj.com/articles/former-french-economy-minister-announces-presidential-bid-1479293059

-The former Prime Minister Francois Fillon wins the race to be rightwing presidential candidate. https://www.theguardian.com/world/live/2016/nov/27/french-elections-voting-ends-in-poll-for-rights-presidential-candidate-live

SOUTH KOREA : over one million Koreans went down in the streets to demand the resignation of the Conservative President Park Geun-hye. She is accused of corruption and of sharing classified documents. She has asked the Parliament to arrange her exit.

CUBA : the revolutionary leader Fidel Castro dies at 90. He overthrew Batista dictator in 1959 and established a communist state which is still run today by his brother Raul Castro. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/nov/26/fidel-castro-cuba-revolutionary-icon-dies

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Diplomatic update : it happened in October 2016

WORLD : The Portuguese Antonio Guterres (former Prime Minister of Portugal) is elected Secretary-General of the United Nations. He succeeds to the South Korean Ban Ki-moon. During his first speech, he mentioned that he wishes to make the fight against populism and terrorism a priority.

COLUMBIA : In spite of the referendum failure in September (see September geopolitic update http://www.approachingexport.com/diplomatic-geopolitic-update-happened-september-2016 ), Colombia’s president Juan Manual Santos is awarded the Peace Nobel prize.

THAILAND : The King Bhumibol Adulyadej died after 7 decades of ruling the country. There are now concerns of political instability since the Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn has asked for time to mourn before he is appointed.

LEBANON : Michel Aoun is elected President.

CANADA-EU : after having been seriously questioned by the Belgium Wallonie Premier Paul Magnettethe, the Ceta (Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement) is now enforced. This agreement should initiate increased exchanges in between the 2 continents. Click here to read my post on the CETA

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Diplomatic update : it happened in September 2016

EUROPEAN UNION : The BRATISLAVA SUMMIT aimed to remind European foundation principles : peace, prosperity and solidarity. It concluded with the signature of a 6-month action plan to boost homeland security, granting a « flexible solidarity » option to Zchek Republic, Poland, Slovenia and Hungary (areas where tensions on migrants policies are the highest)

COLOMBIA : a peace agreement in between the government and the FARC army was signed. Update : the referendum results of the 2nd of October showed that the Colombian population rejected this peace agreement at 50,24%. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos stated that he would not give up to seek peace despite these results. For more info : The Guardian – colombia-referendum-rejects-peace-deal-with-farc

ISRAEL : Shimon Peres died at the age of 93. He won the Nobel peace prize in 1994 for his actions for peace in the Middle East. He was one of the Israel’s founding fathers. For more info : Biography – Nobel Prizes – Shimon Peres

UK : Theresa May, conservative Prime Minister, states that the article 50 to officially start the Brexit process will be implemented by March 2017, so the UK is out of the EU by 2019. Jeremy Corbyn won the Britain’s Labour Party elections for the second time.

USA : First presidential debate in between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

GABON : Despite contested results by his opponent Jean Ping, Ali Bongo is re-elected President. He is President since 2009 and succeeded to his father Omar Bongo.

TUNISIA : Youssef Chahed forms the 9th government since the Jasime revolution in 2011. His priority will be to promote and boost Tunisian economy.

German company Bayer (chemistry and phytosanitary sector) buys the multinational Monsanto (agrochemicals and seed development) for $66 billion. This fusion is source of controversy as it might tend to create a worldwide monopoly for agricultural seed supplies.

OPEC members agreed to lower production of about 700.000 barrels/day in order to face price crisis. This decision is heavy in significations as this is only the 3rd time the OPEC officially influence the market (after the oil shock of 1973 and 1986). It is also an agreement relying on two opposing countries : Saudi Arabia (sunnite side) Iran (shiite side). For more info : NewYork Times – OPEC agrees to cut production

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