International 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.

  • The Russian flag flies above the Embassy of the Russian Federation, Washington, D.C., February 22, 2022, photo by Tom Brenner/Reuters

    Commentary

    A Test of How Effective Sanctions Are

    Feb 24, 2022

    The threat of severe sanctions failed to stop a Russian invasion of Ukraine. But if and when harsher economic punishment is handed down to Moscow, what effect might it have?

  • Radio antennas on the mountains of Angeles National Forest overlooking Los Angeles County, California, photo by Sundry Photography/Getty Images

    Commentary

    How China Plays by Different Rules—at Everyone Else's Expense

    Feb 7, 2022

    A single Chinese state-run firm has secured a controlling interest in at least 33 radio stations in 14 countries. But there is virtually no opportunity for foreign ownership, input, or influence in the Chinese media marketplace. This inequity presents U.S. leaders with an opportunity: Unless China opens its media marketplace to foreign investment and ownership, its firms should be forced to divest their American holdings.

Explore International Economic Relations

  • An employee works as grains are loaded in a special transport cargo bound for Egypt, in the Black Sea port of Constanta, Romania, May 11, 2022, photo by Olimpiu Gheorghiu/Reuters

    Commentary

    Unblocking the Black Sea for Ukrainian Grain

    As Russia has been blockading ports around Odesa, Ukrainian grain exports in May were more than 60 percent lower than a year ago. Global hunger has hit a new high while 22 million tons of grain in Ukraine could rot if not exported soon.

    Jun 15, 2022

  • People stand in line in front of Huawei's new flagship store, as it officially opens in Shanghai, China, June 24, 2020, photo by Aly Song/Reuters

    Report

    Business Community Support for U.S. Policies Toward China

    Policies implemented by the Trump administration were designed to confront China over its problematic behaviors, such as theft of technology and intellectual property. U.S. businesses agreed with the policies, but questioned some of the tactics used. How can Washington address corporate concerns and still compete against China?

    May 16, 2022

  • Ukrainian national flags fly over graves of fallen soldiers at a cemetery in Kharkiv, Ukraine, March 24, 2022, photo by Thomas Peter/Reuters

    Commentary

    Geostrategic Consequences of Russia's War Against Ukraine

    After two months of fighting in Ukraine, some longer-term geostrategic consequences are coming into focus. Russia may emerge as a massive loser. Perhaps not since the collapse of the USSR has European security been so challenged. But Ukraine and its Western partners are showing that aggression in Europe may not pay.

    Apr 26, 2022

  • Building cranes and power lines connecting high-tension electricity pylons next to a construction site in Kyiv, Ukraine, July 10, 2020, photo by Valentyn Ogirenko/Reuters

    Commentary

    Rebuilding Ukraine

    By leveraging better investment conditions and reforms and broad international support, Ukraine could carry out a well-executed reconstruction program once the fighting ends. It might repair much of the war damage and help Ukraine move into the ranks of faster-growing European economies.

    Apr 18, 2022

  • Natural gas compressor station in Rippien, Sachsen, Germany, March 29, 2022, photo by Sylvio Dittrich/IMAGO/Reuters

    Commentary

    Russia Does Not Seem to Be After Ukraine's Gas Reserves

    There seems to be very little reason to believe that the true stakes of the war in Ukraine are the country's natural gas reserves, as some have speculated. Ukrainian gas fields appear too small to justify the costs of the invasion, too hard to keep, and almost impossible for Russia to exploit.

    Apr 11, 2022

  • People walk in Red Square on a sunny day in Moscow, Russia, March 30, 2022, photo by Maxim Shemetov/Reuters

    Commentary

    Russia and Ukraine: The Economic Consequences of Peace

    Amid some hopeful signs in Russian-Ukrainian ceasefire talks, it may be useful to keep in mind that the West could gain substantial economic leverage to influence outcomes during and after Russia's war against Ukraine. How it uses this leverage could have far-reaching consequences.

    Apr 8, 2022

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan during a meeting in Moscow, Russia, February 24, 2022, photo by Mikhail Klimentyev/Sputnik/Reuters

    Commentary

    Why Most of the Indo-Pacific Tiptoes Around Russia

    Since the start of Russia's increasingly brutal war in Ukraine, the West has ramped up pressure on the rest of the world to condemn Moscow's belligerence and join sanctions against Russia and its regime. In the vast Indo-Pacific region, however, the West's message has fallen flat.

    Apr 7, 2022

  • A street in Moscow, Russia, April 26, 2020, photo by Latin America News Agency/Reuters

    Commentary

    Russia's Tragic Failure to Reform Its Economy

    Russia's invasion of Ukraine and resulting sanctions will likely devastate Russia's economy. If the country had taken a more productive economic course over the past two decades, it might be looking toward a different future—one in which economic reforms had more tightly integrated Russia with the economically advanced countries, enhanced Russian influence and power, and built global trust.

    Apr 7, 2022

  • The U.N. Security Council meeting room at the United Nations in New York City, March 11, 2022, photo by Carlo Allegri/Reuters

    Commentary

    Is There a Future for Multilateralism?

    The rise in the use of informal arrangements and the proliferation in the use of regional arrangements have weakened multilateral institutions. Multilateralism's failure, if it happens, could raise significant challenges on how to address global public issues.

    Apr 4, 2022

  • Officers of the Vietnamese Marine Guard monitor a Chinese coast guard vessel in the South China Sea, about 130 miles offshore of Vietnam, May 15, 2014, photo by Nguyen Minh/Reuters

    Research Brief

    How and Why China Uses Gray Zone Tactics

    China uses a variety of gray zone tactics—coercive actions that are shy of armed conflict but beyond normal diplomatic and economic activities—to advance its objectives, particularly in the Indo-Pacific. Which tactics should the United States prioritize countering?

    Mar 30, 2022

  • Report

    Report

    Competition in the Gray Zone: Countering China's Coercion Against U.S. Allies and Partners in the Indo-Pacific

    This report examines how and why China uses gray zone tactics—coercive activities beyond normal diplomacy and trade but below the use of kinetic military force—against U.S. allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific.

    Mar 30, 2022

  • A world map superimposed over people's raised hands, photo by Rawpixel/Getty Images

    Report

    Advancing Global Citizenship in America

    Concerted international action is required to address climate change and sustainability, pandemics, global security, and economic growth. But such action requires a sense of common destiny and shared responsibility among people across nations. What are Americans' attitudes toward global issues, and what could encourage them to become citizens of the world?

    Mar 24, 2022

  • Report

    Report

    Disruption Without Change: The Consequences of COVID-19 on the Global Economic Balance

    The author reviews the economic track record of the United States, its competitors, and its allies to discern how economic changes induced by the COVID-19 pandemic could affect geopolitical competition and the security environment.

    Mar 21, 2022

  • An empty airport terminal at Sheremetyevo International Airport after Aeroflot suspended most international flights in order to keep leased aircraft from being detained due to sanctions, in Moscow, Russia, March 8, 2022, photo by Artyom Geodakyan/Reuters

    Commentary

    Where Is Business in Russia?

    Businesses in Russia have little hope of making a full recovery and operating normally in the global economy unless the West lifts its extraordinary sanctions. Political and civic engagement may be essential to protect their value and the interests of shareholders and employees.

    Mar 16, 2022

  • Thank you in many languages, photo by aaabbc/Adobe Stock

    Research Brief

    Talking business: How increasing languages education in the UK could benefit the economy

    Findings show that investing in languages education in UK secondary schools will return more than the investment cost. The benefit-to-cost ratio is about 2:1, meaning that every £1 spent on extra language provision could return £2 for the economy.

    Mar 2, 2022

  • Blog

    Responding to Russia, Sex Trafficking, Anti-Bias Education: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on the false choice between responding to Russia or deterring China, how substance use and sex trafficking are connected, providing anti-bias education in U.S. schools, and more.

    Feb 25, 2022

  • News Release

    News Release

    Investment in Languages Education Could Return Double for UK Economy

    Investing in languages education in the UK will return more than the investment cost, even under conservative assumptions, according to a new study from RAND Europe and the University of Cambridge, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

    Feb 22, 2022

  • Thank you in many languages, photo by aaabbc/Adobe Stock

    Report

    Investment in Languages Education Could Return Double for UK Economy

    Languages play a significant role in international trade, and not sharing a common language acts as a non-tariff trade barrier. Benefit-to-cost ratios for increasing Arabic, Mandarin, French, or Spanish education in the UK are estimated to be at least 2:1, meaning that spending £1 could return £2.

    Feb 21, 2022

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Blockship Tactics to Trap Enemy Fleets

    The U.S. Navy should initiate a blockship program to counter potential threats.

    Feb 8, 2022