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.

  • 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

    Sep 8, 2020

    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.

Explore International Economic Relations

  • 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

    Previous Disasters Provide Important Lessons for Central America's Recovery from Hurricanes

    As the global community works together to assist Central America in recovering from the disastrous 2020 hurricane season, experiences from other recent disaster recovery efforts offer some 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

  • 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

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping and his entourage meet with Ayatollah Khamenei in Iran, January 23, 2016, photo by Khamenei.ir / CC BY 4.0

    Commentary

    What to Watch to Understand the Sino-Iranian Relationship

    Beijing and Tehran are in the process of finalizing an ambitious partnership covering a range of security and economic issues. The United States should not overreact to shifting geopolitical dynamics in the Middle East, and should instead keep an eye out to assess the evolution of the relationship and take stock of what is delivered instead of what is merely promised.

    Aug 13, 2020

  • Report

    Report

    Provision of an indicative, non-exhaustive list of conflict-affected and high-risk areas under Regulation 2017/821: Task A – Methodology development

    This report presents the methodology proposed by RAND Europe to produce an indicative, non-exhaustive, regularly updated list of CAHRAs under Regulation 2017/821.

    Jul 30, 2020

  • A man attends the “2020, The Year of 5G for Europe” conference at the the Huawei Cyber Security Transparency Centre in Brussels, Belgium, January 16, 2020, photo by Yves Herman/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Coronavirus Spotlights a National Security Supply Crisis

    During emergencies, it can be crucial for governments to maintain an uninterrupted supply of essential goods and services. As the world faces an unprecedented demand for supplies and services to tackle the pandemic, it may be important for governments to take stock of the national security risks that could accompany their choice of vendor.

    Jul 27, 2020

  • Internally displaced Syrians drive back to their homes, as some people are afraid of the COVID-19 outbreak in crowded camps, in Dayr Ballut, Syria, April 11, 2020, photo by Khalil Ashawi/Reuters

    Commentary

    U.S. Is Just Getting Started in New Bid to End the War in Syria

    In June, the U.S. government announced the implementation of the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act with a flurry of sanctions against 39 people and entities connected with the Assad regime. There is much more to come. Syria, and Russia and Iran, have not yet felt the Caesar Act in full force.

    Jul 22, 2020

  • U.S. dollars and other currencies lie in a charity receptacle at Toronto Pearson International Airport in Canada, June 13, 2018, photo by Chris Helgren/Reuters

    Report

    Economic Competition in the 21st Century

    One can think of economic competition in two broad ways. The first is competition as an outcome: the ability to boost standards of living through domestic policies. The second is competition as an action, where economic policies also pursue geopolitical goals.

    Jul 17, 2020

  • British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (center) speaks in a videoconference with the heads of the European Union in London, UK, June 15, 2020, photo by Andrew Parsons/No10 Downing Street/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Cost of Brexit Uncertainty

    Leaving the European Union has had an overall negative economic effect on the UK economy, and there are additional economic costs associated with the uncertainty surrounding the new relationship. Will there be a deal? And if so, what type of deal is likely?

    Jul 8, 2020

  • A replica of China Railway high-speed trains at a media center for the second Belt and Road Forum, in Beijing, China, April 26, 2019, photo by Jason Lee/Reuters

    Commentary

    Demystifying the Belt and Road Initiative

    Under the Belt and Road Initiative, China works with more than 70 countries to design and implement large infrastructure projects. Why are countries of all stripes turning to China for funding when the world is awash with cash?

    Jul 6, 2020

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping raises his glass and proposes a toast at the end of his speech during the welcome banquet, after the welcome ceremony of leaders attending the Belt and Road Forum at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, April 26, 2019, photo by Nicolas Asfour/Reuters

    Journal Article

    What China Wants in South Asia

    This brief outlines the issues facing different South Asian countries with respect to their relationships with China.

    Jun 12, 2020