International Commerce

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International trade—business conducted across national borders—drives GDP and directly and indirectly affects global alliances, globalization, and the economic health of nations. RAND research has examined international trade in contexts as diverse as arms trafficking, the drug trade, international nuclear commerce, trade unions, the U.S.-China trade deficit, and economic investment in Ukraine.

Explore International Trade

  • British Prime Minister Theresa May speaks as U.S. President Donald Trump listens during their joint news conference at the White House in Washington, U.S., January 27, 2017.

    Commentary

    Politics Across the Pond

    Donald Trump and Theresa May can't actually get much done on U.S.-U.K. trade in the short term. Whatever Trump and May say or agree to during this visit will be for political effect. Any real bargaining on the economics will take place years in the future.

    Jan 31, 2017

  • Report

    Against the rising tide: an overview of the growing criminalization of the Mediterranean basin

    This publication is part of a series of four RAND Perspectives (PE) each focusing on different challenges in the Mediterranean region. The focus of this PE is on defence and security issues and their implications for regional stability.

    Jan 26, 2017

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping attends the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, January 17, 2017

    Commentary

    China Stressed a Growing Interest in Global Trade and Governance at Davos

    President Xi Jinping became the first Chinese leader to appear at the annual gathering of the World Economic Forum last week. He gave a keynote speech that defended global trade and criticized protectionism. His speech reflected, in part, the reality that China has profited enormously from decades of globalization.

    Jan 24, 2017

  • ExxonMobil Chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson speaks during the 26th World Gas Conference in Paris, France, June 2, 2015.

    Commentary

    Rex Tillerson's Many Challenges

    If confirmed as secretary of state, Rex Tillerson will face a broad array of challenges. One may be to lend the administration consistency, while closing at least some of the deals that President-elect Trump has promised.

    Dec 24, 2016

  • Man looking at chart of China's stock market

    Commentary

    Cracks in the Chinese Powerhouse

    Like most countries that have experienced rapid development, China is struggling to transition from a highly successful but unsustainable economic model. Beijing faces the additional challenge of executing difficult reforms in the face of an inhospitable global economy.

    Dec 19, 2016

  • U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken at RAND's Politics Aside event in Santa Monica, November 12, 2016

    Blog

    Pulling Up the Drawbridge 'Is Fundamentally Flawed'

    Turning inward in response to rapid global change overstates the costs of doing so and downplays the benefits of facing outward.

    Nov 13, 2016

  • U.S. President Barack Obama (center) poses for a photo with numerous Asian leaders before the East Asia Summit in Vientiane, Laos, September 8, 2016

    Commentary

    The Legacy Obama Leaves His Successor in Asia

    The U.S. pivot to the Indo-Pacific has improved U.S. popularity and influence, and positioned it for gains in regional economic, diplomatic, and military cooperation. The incoming administration would be wise to embrace these gains and build on them to preserve and further develop U.S. interests and influence in the region.

    Oct 26, 2016

  • World map with global communication lines.

    Commentary

    The Made-in-America Global Security and Economic System Still Serves U.S. Interests

    The next U.S. president will have many willing partners and an opportunity to expand the global system of security and economic institutions in a way that will help the United States and the world for decades.

    Oct 26, 2016

  • News Release

    Re-establishing Border Controls in Europe Could Cost Up to €3 Billion a Year

    Re-establishing border controls across Europe would cost €2 to 3 billion in annual operating costs, plus fixed one-off costs of anywhere between €0.1 and €19 billion. There would also be significant social and political costs.

    Oct 13, 2016

  • A memorial stone for the Schengen Agreement is seen in the small village of Schengen, Luxembourg January 27, 2016

    Commentary

    Why Re-Establishing Border Controls in Europe Could Come at a High Cost

    Reversing the Schengen agreement would come at a high economic cost, while undoing many of the positive social and political developments of the past decade.

    Oct 13, 2016

  • Protesters hold a banner reading 'We are all citizens of the world, no frontier, no borders' in Ventimiglia, Italy, August 7, 2016

    Journal Article

    The Costs of Reintroducing Border Controls in Europe

    The Schengen Agreement in 1985 led to the end of border controls across 26 European nations. Reintroducing these controls would cost billions of euros in economic costs. Social and political costs would also be substantial.

    Oct 12, 2016

  • World map concept with puzzle pieces

    Essay

    Election 2016: The International Issues

    America's next president will face challenges that test the fundamentals of world order. RAND experts have outlined key decisions, the dangers involved, and the least-bad options that now often pass for good ones.

    Oct 7, 2016

  • World map graph with arrows pointing downward

    Blog

    Conversations at RAND: Howard J. Shatz on the International Economy

    One of the contentious issues in this year's presidential election campaign is the U.S. role in the global economy. A RAND panel offers strategies for the next president, who will face a troubled landscape.

    Oct 5, 2016

  • Journal Article

    Brexit: What Have We Learned So Far?

    On 23 June 2016, the British electorate defied the expectations of political leaders, financial markets and foreign allies by voting to withdraw from the European Union.

    Sep 26, 2016

  • Border fence between San Diego, California, U.S. and Tijuana, Mexico

    Commentary

    Would a Border Wall Be Effective?

    A wall along the U.S. border with Mexico would be a wasteful endeavor. Like many walls throughout history, it would probably be undermined by tunnels. And in general, fences and walls don't prevent people from crossing boundaries. They merely slow people down.

    Sep 26, 2016

  • F-15E Strike Eagles, assigned to the 494th Fighter Squadron from Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, rest on the flightline at Los Llanos Air Base, Spain, September 16, 2016

    Commentary

    Economic Benefits of U.S. Overseas Security Commitments Appear to Outweigh Costs

    U.S. policymakers should carefully weigh the potential losses against the potential gains when considering the desirability of large-scale retrenchments of U.S. overseas security commitments.

    Sep 23, 2016

  • News Release

    Cutting U.S. Overseas Security Commitments Could Cost U.S. World Trade Billions

    Reducing U.S. overseas security commitments, including troops and security treaties, could lead to greatly reduced trade, with the economic costs estimated to be more than triple any associated savings in U.S. defense spending.

    Sep 22, 2016

  • Research Brief

    Economic Benefits of U.S. Overseas Security Commitments Could Far Outweigh Costs

    Amid intensifying debate over U.S. funding and resources, RAND researchers find that the economic benefits of U.S. overseas security commitments could far exceed the costs.

    Sep 22, 2016

  • Tool

    Estimating the Value of Overseas Security Commitments: An Interactive Visualization

    Researchers estimated that U.S. economic losses from major retrenchments of overseas security commitments would be more than triple any gains. This visualization compares different estimated gains and losses from selected retrenchment levels and selected tax, spending, and trade multipliers.

    Sep 22, 2016