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

  • An American flag on a fence in the prairie

    Commentary

    American Isolationism Isn't New

    Isolationism is a recurring temptation of American foreign policy. Responding to new and unforeseen challenges, however, the United States has repeatedly resisted that temptation and risen to the demands of global leadership. Is it different today?

    Aug 1, 2017

  • News Release

    British Public Reject “No Deal” on Brexit

    The British people disagree with the claim that “no deal for Britain is better than a bad deal for Britain” when it comes to negotiations for leaving the EU. They want a deal on Brexit and are willing to compromise to get one.

    Jul 14, 2017

  • Brexit negotiations written on mountain road sign

    Journal Article

    British Public Rejects “No Deal” on Brexit

    The British people disagree with the claim that “no deal for Britain is better than a bad deal for Britain” when it comes to negotiations for leaving the European Union. They want a deal on Brexit and are willing to compromise to get one.

    Jul 13, 2017

  • Report

    What sort of Brexit do the British people want? A proof-of-concept study using stated preference discrete choice experiments: Technical addendum

    A proof-of-concept study using stated preference discrete choice experiments to quantify the British people's preferences for their relationship with the European Union after Brexit.

    Jul 13, 2017

  • The USS Lassen arrives at a South Korean naval port in Donghae as sailors wave South Korean and U.S. flags, March 9, 2013

    Essay

    Are America's Overseas Security Commitments Worth It?

    A growing debate has called into question U.S. international security commitments and whether their economic value outweighs their costs. Research suggests that the magnitude of the benefits could be substantial.

    Jul 7, 2017

  • Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May meeting with Democratic Unionist Party leader Arlene Foster and others inside 10 Downing Street, London, June 26, 2017

    Commentary

    Northern Ireland Is Now at the Forefront of Brexit

    After Prime Minister Theresa May's unexpected failure to win a majority in June's snap election, she is now reliant on Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party to shore up a minority Conservative government. As Brexit negotiations begin, European politicians should refresh their knowledge of Northern Irish politics.

    Jun 29, 2017

  • British Prime Minister Theresa May delivers a speech to Conservative Party members in Walmsley Parish Hall in Bolton, April 19, 2017

    Commentary

    The Snap Election, What's in It for Theresa May?

    Why would Theresa May take the risk of a national election, which otherwise wouldn't be needed until 2020, and what does she expect to gain from it? Calling an election now enables May to take decisive control of her party and should strengthen her hand in the Brexit negotiations.

    Apr 23, 2017

  • The first C919 passenger jet made by the Commercial Aircraft Corp of China (Comac) during a news conference at the company's factory in Shanghai, November 2, 2015

    Report

    Chinese Investment in U.S. Aviation Is Not a Threat to Competitiveness

    Since 2005, Chinese companies have acquired, merged, or established joint ventures with more than a dozen U.S. aviation companies. The investment has been limited to smaller manufacturers of technologies not relevant to commercial or military aircraft, likely due to effective U.S. export and foreign investment regulations.

    Apr 10, 2017

  • British Prime Minister Theresa May signs the official letter invoking Article 50 and the UK's intention to leave the EU, March 28, 2017, London

    Commentary

    Brexit and the Politics of Raising Barriers

    A lot is known about bringing new members into alliances and trade relationships. Not much is known about dismantling these bonds peaceably. Since Brexit will be more about adding barriers than taking them down, it will be a leap into the dark.

    Mar 29, 2017

  • U.S. President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence attend a meeting with congressional leaders to discuss trade deals at the White House in Washington, February 2, 2017

    Commentary

    Strategic Consequences of U.S. Withdrawal from TPP

    America's withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership has exacerbated doubts about U.S. international leadership and America's role in Asia. Future trade agreements could face similar fates until they do a better job outlining how domestic workers can prosper.

    Mar 27, 2017

  • 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