Foreign Economic Relations

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Increased international trade, and the lowering of barriers to such trade, frequently results in improved international relations, but it can also lead to trade wars and tariff disputes. RAND research explores bilateral and multilateral economic relations; describes how they affect global alliances, globalization, and the economic health of nations; and recommends methods to develop, encourage, and maintain these relations among diverse nations and cultures.

  • A consignment of USAID medical equipment is offloaded at the Roberts International Airport in Monrovia, August 24, 2014, photo by James Giahyue/Reuters

    Commentary

    Why We 'Send Them Money'

    Dec 30, 2020

    Why does the United States send foreign countries American taxpayer money? The answer, in short, is because it serves U.S. self-interest to do so. Aid is not some act of charity at the American taxpayers' expense; it can help keep Americans safer, more prosperous, and secure.

  • L-R: Bahrain Foreign Minister Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. President Donald Trump, and UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan at the Abraham Accords signing ceremony at the White House in Washington, D.C., September 15, 2020, photo by Gripas Yuri/ABACA/Reuters

    Commentary

    Abraham Accords Offer Historic Opportunity to Spur Mideast Growth

    Mar 25, 2021

    The Abraham Accords have heralded a dramatic shift in the relationship between Israel and the Muslim nations of the world. While these accords represent a major political breakthrough, they also represent a possible new chapter in the region's development: away from conflict and toward a shared economic vision of prosperity.

Explore International Economic Relations

  • China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif exchange documents during the signing ceremony of a 25-year cooperation agreement, in Tehran, Iran March 27, 2021, photo by Majid Asgaripour/WANA via Reuters

    Commentary

    China Does Not Have to Be America's Enemy in the Middle East

    China and Iran made a deal in which China promised to boost its investment in Iranian infrastructure in exchange for a steady supply of oil. This uptick in Chinese influence does not necessarily erode U.S. power in the region. The United States may even find overlapping interests with China since both have a stake in containing conflicts and instability.

    Apr 19, 2021

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Improving Preferential Market Access Through Rules of Origin: Firm-Level Evidence from Bangladesh

    This paper studies how rules of origin in potential export markets influence the export behavior of firms in least-developed countries.

    Mar 23, 2021

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Rules of Origin and Trade Preference Utilization Among Least Developed Countries

    This article assesses how the utilization of trade agreements responds to rules of origin revisions that allow for more foreign content in exported products.

    Mar 23, 2021

  • Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. President Donald Trump, and UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed sign the Abraham Accords in Washington, September 15, 2020, photo by Tom Brenner/Reuters

    Report

    The Abraham Accords Could Have Wide-Reaching Economic Benefits

    The Abraham Accords between Israel and Muslim nations represent a possible new chapter in the region's development—away from conflict and toward a shared vision of economic prosperity. Israel's partners could gain 150,000 new jobs. And that could grow to 4 million new jobs over a decade if other nations join.

    Mar 18, 2021

  • Illustration of hand holding U.S. flag superimposed on a head, photo by Scar1984/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Book Review: 'Liberalism, the Blob, and American Foreign Policy: Evidence and Methodology' by Robert Jervis

    Robert Jervis' “Liberalism, the Blob, and American Foreign Policy: Evidence and Methodology” is a thoughtful review of two books written by prominent international relations theorists John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt. Jervis focuses his critique primarily on methodology and argues that the actual historical record is more complicated than either Mearsheimer or Walt suggests.

    Mar 12, 2021

  • Chinese and Taiwanese flags are displayed around souvenir shops, ahead of the 60th anniversary of Second Taiwan Straits Crisis against China, in Kinmen, Taiwan, August 19, 2018, photo by Tyrone Siu/Reuters

    Testimony

    Factors Shaping China's Use of Force Calculations Against Taiwan

    Taiwan remains the People's Liberation Army's main strategic direction despite a growing recognition that the PLA must also support China's international interests and presence. Does China see itself as capable of confronting the United States and its allies in a conflict over Taiwan? And what are some U.S. policy considerations?

    Feb 18, 2021

  • A Taiwanese coast guard points at a map showing the waters surrounding Matsu islands and mainland Chinese coast, at a coast guard office on Nangan island, the main island of the Taiwan-controlled Matsu islands, January 28, 2021, photo by Ann Wang/Reuters

    Testimony

    U.S. Allied and Partner Support for Taiwan

    As the Biden administration assesses its Taiwan policy, it is important to examine how U.S. allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific might respond to a potential conflict over Taiwan. What factors might influence their willingness to help the United States defend Taiwan? And how might they respond if the United States did not come to Taiwan's defense?

    Feb 18, 2021

  • Blog

    Political Violence, COVID-19 Vaccine Questions, Mental Health Care: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on why we need to brace for more political violence after the Capitol attack, COVID-19 vaccine questions and answers, how to reform the U.S. mental health system, and more.

    Jan 15, 2021

  • A woman stands on a ruined building after Hurricane Eta, in Wawa Bar, a Miskito indigenous community in Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua, November 23, 2020, photo by Katlyn Holland/CRS /Latin America News Agency/Reuters

    Commentary

    Lessons for Central America's Recovery from Hurricanes

    As the global community works to assist Central America in recovering from the disastrous 2020 hurricane season, other recent recovery efforts offer helpful lessons, both for the governments of the region as well as outsiders providing resources and support.

    Jan 11, 2021

  • Bangladesh's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and China's Premier Li Keqiang shake hands during a signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China July 4, 2019, photo by Mark Schiefelbein/Pool via Reuters

    Commentary

    China Isn't Backing Down in South Asia

    Much to India's frustration, China's influence is on the rise across South Asia. India will probably have to work overtime, and in concert with like-minded partners such as Australia, Japan, and the United States to complicate and rein in China's successes in the region.

    Dec 30, 2020

  • Overhead view of a container ship in port, photo by CHUNYIP WONG/Getty Images

    Commentary

    RCEP Forms the World's Largest Trading Bloc. What Does This Mean for Global Trade?

    In November, 15 nations signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a free-trade agreement of economic and political significance eight years in the making. Why have some heralded RCEP as a landmark agreement?

    Dec 9, 2020

  • South Korea's Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi during a meeting in Seoul, December 04, 2019, photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Pool via Reuters

    Report

    The Geopolitics of South Korea–China Relations

    As Chinese influence in the Indo-Pacific increases, U.S. allies and partners are adapting their strategic posture. But even as a key U.S. ally, South Korea seems different. How is Beijing’s growing influence in regional affairs affecting relations between South Korea and China? And what effect do they have on U.S. policy in the Indo-Pacific?

    Nov 18, 2020

  • Arrows with UK and EU flag images pointing in opposite directions on the ground, with legs and shoes viewed from above, photo by Delpixart/Getty Images

    Commentary

    A Free Trade Agreement Still Comes with Costs

    Major issues must be resolved before any UK-EU agreement on post-Brexit trade and economic relations is completed. There will be substantial costs associated with even a zero-tariff trade deal.

    Oct 23, 2020

  • An American flag waving at sunset, photo by Emily Sisson/Getty Images

    Report

    How American Influence Has Declined, and What Can Be Done About It

    The United States has been declining in foreign policy achievements for two decades. Skeptics need to be persuaded that working for a more peaceful and prosperous world is in America's national and their personal interest. And sustained public support for international engagement requires cooperation across party lines.

    Sep 8, 2020

  • Two USAF A-10 Thunderbolt IIs release countermeasure flares over the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility, July 23, 2020, photo by Staff Sgt. Justin Parsons/U.S. Air Force

    Q&A

    The Future of Warfare: Q&A with Raphael Cohen

    What will the next decade of warfare look like? Raphael Cohen led a project to answer that question for the U.S. Air Force. The team considered not just technological or force changes, but also how global politics, economics, and the environment will shift and evolve between now and 2030.

    Sep 8, 2020

  • Blog

    The Evidence on Kids and COVID-19, China's Use of Big Data, Telemedicine: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on what we know (and what we don't) about kids and COVID-19, how China is using big data, the future of telemedicine, and more.

    Sep 4, 2020

  • The port of Beirut and its construction cranes, destroyed by an explosion of ammonium nitrate on August 4, 2020, photo by Karine Pierre/Hans Lucas Pictures/Reuters

    Commentary

    Addressing Lebanon's Ailments, Acute and Chronic

    The recent explosion in Beirut has again led to calls for political and economic reforms in Lebanon. The country has an economy in crisis, corruption, few job opportunities, and an influx of 1.5 million Syrian refugees. Sustained global investment is needed if Lebanon is to recover over the long run.

    Sep 1, 2020

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits a drill of long-range artillery sub-units of the Korean People's Army, March 2, 2020, photo by KCNA/Reuters

    Report

    How Does North Korean Leadership Make Decisions?

    With talks between the United States and North Korea at a standstill, U.S. policymakers must consider what the regime might do next and know what signs or decisions to look for. Will Kim open the DPRK economy? What if conventional deterrence fails on the Korean Peninsula? And what could lead to the use of nuclear weapons?

    Aug 20, 2020