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.

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin exchanges documents with his Kazakh counterpart Nursultan Nazarbayev during a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, December 22, 2014, photo by Alexei Druzhinin/Reuters/RIA Novosti/Kremlin

    Commentary

    Can Eurasian Energy Compete?

    Jan 16, 2015

    Cheaper oil, government interference, and market dynamics jeopardize the future of Russian and Caspian energy. To be globally competitive, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Turkmenistan should let the private sector play a greater role and make more decisions on commercial, rather than political grounds.

  • Forex - British and Euro currency pair with calculator, photo by Jonathan Lim Yong Hian/Fotolia

    Report

    Lack of Complete European Integration Costs Countries, EU

    Oct 21, 2014

    The removal of existing barriers to foreign direct direct investment and non-tariff trade barriers within the European Union could boost total intra-EU merchandise exports up to 7 per cent in the long-term. These effects would vary by Member State, and by sector of the internal market.

Explore International Trade

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

    Commentary

    Why a Border Wall Would Do Little Besides Waste Money

    A wall along the U.S. border with Mexico would not eliminate illegal migration, its maintenance and monitoring would be costly, and it would likely be undermined by tunnelers. Also, severing legitimate cross-border movements for trade and tourism would be tremendously damaging to the U.S. economy.

    Sep 26, 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

  • 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

  • A formation of C-130 Hercules cargo aircraft fly in formation as they return from the Samurai Surge training mission near Mount Fuji, Japan, June 5, 2012

    Report

    The Value of Overseas Security Commitments

    U.S. overseas security commitments have positive and significant effects on both U.S. bilateral trade and non-U.S. global bilateral trade. If commitments were reduced, the economic costs from lost trade would be more than triple any associated savings in 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

  • A ship is unloaded using Super Post Panamax cranes in Miami, Florida, May 19, 2016

    Commentary

    Eliminating Jobs or Strengthening the Economy? The Impact of Trade Policies on the American Worker

    The enormous benefits of trade include economic growth, more variety for industry and consumers, and lower prices. But trade can displace some American workers. Training programs, relocation assistance, and wage insurance can help.

    Aug 30, 2016

  • Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi meet at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse, in Beijing, China, April 30, 2016

    Commentary

    Do Economic Ties Limit the Prospect of Conflict?

    China has grown stronger economically and militarily over the past 35 years and has become more assertive. Its trade and investment links with Japan are substantial but they have been declining, and are less of a constraint on conflict than before.

    Aug 9, 2016

  • U.S. Capitol Building, Washington, D.C.

    Blog

    A Summer Reading List for Congress

    To help Hill staffers make the most of the Congressional recess, RAND has developed a list of must-read research and commentaries that will help ensure policymakers will return ready to hit the ground running.

    Aug 2, 2016

  • RAND senior economist Howard Shatz discussing his report, U.S. International Economic Strategy in a Turbulent World, at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., June 21, 2016

    Blog

    Froman and Shatz Discuss U.S. Trade Policies, Brexit Implications

    Days before British citizens voted to exit the EU, RAND experts and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman gathered to discuss U.S. international economic policies that can expand strategic options, as well as the potential implications of Brexit.

    Jul 13, 2016

  • A drilling rig at the Imilorskoye oil field, outside the West Siberian city of Kogalym, Russia, January 25, 2016

    Report

    Prospects for Russia's Economic Growth

    Without major policy changes, the Russian economy will grow slowly in the medium term, even if world market prices for oil rebound sharply. However, returning to policies that Russia has pursued in the recent past could lead to substantially higher rates of growth.

    Jun 22, 2016

  • News Release

    Strong Global Economic Engagement Is Essential to Maintaining U.S. Prosperity and Leadership Abroad

    The United States stands to gain more from both strengthening global institutions and rules, such as those governing trade, direct investment, and development assistance, as well as engaging with the world's rising powers than from pulling back.

    Jun 21, 2016

  • 20160621-RAND-USTR

    Multimedia

    U.S. International Economic Policies That Can Expand Strategic Options

    In a fast-changing world, should the United States strengthen its links with the international economy or pull back? RAND Senior Economist Howard Shatz and Ambassador Michael Froman explore this question at the book launch for the latest volume in RAND's Strategic Rethink series. Ambassador Charles Ries moderates the discussion.

    Jun 21, 2016

  • Currency exchange rates are displayed on a digital LED screen

    Report

    U.S. International Economic Strategy in a Turbulent World

    The United States stands to gain more from strengthening global institutions and engaging with the world's growing economic powers than from pulling back.

    Jun 21, 2016

  • A blue map of the United States overlaying skyscrapers

    Research Brief

    Charting the U.S. Role in the World Economy

    The strength of America's economy supports the country's international power. That makes the next administration's economic choices among its most crucial.

    Jun 21, 2016

  • Pump jacks are seen at the Lukoil company owned Imilorskoye oil field, as the sun sets, outside the West Siberian city of Kogalym, Russia, January 25, 2016

    Commentary

    Low Oil Prices: Good for U.S. Security, Troublesome for the Economy

    Will oil prices remain low? And how can the balance between cheap oil's positive effects on U.S. security and its negative effects on the economy be assessed?

    Feb 26, 2016

  • Pumpjack and oil refinery plant in West Texas

    Commentary

    What Will Happen After the Oil Export Ban Is Repealed?

    Without the crude oil export ban, producers could sell their product abroad without discounting it, and the Gulf Coast refineries could specialize in the heavier oil for which they are optimized. On the whole, the global refining industry would likely enjoy efficiency gains.

    Dec 22, 2015

  • Woman using a digital tablet with an elderly man

    Commentary

    Bridging the Global Age Gap

    The Trans-Pacific Partnership offers hope for balancing the world's rapidly aging with its jobless youth. As long-term care for the elderly becomes a pressing need in many developed countries, services such as monitoring and reminding people to take their medications could be provided remotely from countries with an abundance of younger workers.

    Oct 8, 2015

  • Protesters wave Armenian national flags during a rally against a hike in electricity prices in Yerevan, Armenia July 1, 2015

    Commentary

    It's Time to Reboot Our Relationship with Russia and Iran's Neighbors

    In implementing the prospective Iran nuclear agreement, the West cannot forget its engagement in the vulnerable South Caucasus. The Iran deal changes the equation for all three countries and perhaps opens new opportunities.

    Jul 28, 2015