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.

  • Representations of cryptocurrencies Bitcoin, Ethereum, DogeCoin, Ripple, and Litecoin placed on a PC motherboard, June 29, 2021, photo by Dado Ruvic/Reuters

    Commentary

    Cryptocurrency Should Be Added to the U.S.-Japan Trade Deal

    Jul 28, 2021

    As the Biden administration begins to define its approach to international trade, and the Suga administration looks to further tighten cooperation with the United States, it may be worth reconsidering the exclusion of cryptocurrency from the U.S.-Japan trade deal. Substantial economic equities are at stake for both sides.

  • Russia's President Vladimir Putin during a videoconference meeting with members of the Lomonosov Moscow State University Board of Trustees at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence, December 24, 2020, photo by Mikhail Klimentyev/Reuters

    Commentary

    Sanctions Targeting Russia's Defense Sector: Will They Influence Its Behavior?

    May 20, 2021

    In response to recent Russian cyber espionage, interference in U.S. elections, and the poisoning of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, President Biden announced a new round of sanctions and expulsions of Russian officials. But will these sanctions hurt Russia's defense industry enough to curb the Kremlin's behavior?

Explore International Economic Relations

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin arrives for a personal send-off for members of the Russian Olympic team at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, July 27, 2016

    Commentary

    How to Counter Putin's Subversive War on the West

    Russian cybercrime, Olympics doping, and other active measures have one thing in common: Moscow admits no wrongdoing. These scandals exacerbate the frigid relations between Moscow and the West. Diplomacy sometimes works slowly, but it helps.

    Aug 1, 2016

  • News Release

    News Release

    Cooperation Among the Arab Gulf States Is Key to U.S. Interests and Regional Stability, Despite Friction

    The increased influence of Arab Gulf states in regional affairs such as the fighting in Syria and the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen has raised the stakes for relations between the six nations and poses significant consequences for stability.

    Jul 28, 2016

  • Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and interior ministers from Oman, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain before their meeting in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, April 27, 2016

    Report

    The Outlook for Arab Gulf Cooperation

    Understanding what binds and divides the six Gulf Cooperation Council states can help policymakers prepare for future trends in a region with high stakes for U.S. strategic interests.

    Jul 26, 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 British flag flutters in front of a window in London, Britain, June 24, 2016 after Britain voted to leave the European Union in the EU BREXIT referendum.

    Commentary

    Grasping the Brexit Moment for Free Trade

    The United Kingdom's surprising vote to exit the EU turned another tricky day into a possible social crisis. But where there is crisis, there is also opportunity, and the vote presents an opening for another step forward of global trade and investment liberalization.

    Jul 1, 2016

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    How China Sees America: The Sum of Beijing's Fears

    China has become one of a small number of countries that have significant national interests in every part of the world and that command the attention of every other country and every international organization, and is the only country widely seen as a possible threat to U.S. predominance.

    Jun 28, 2016

  • The aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis approaches the fast combat support ship USNS Rainier during a replenishment at sea in the South China Sea, March 4, 2016

    Commentary

    South China Sea Spat a Symptom of U.S.-China Jockeying for Advantage

    A spate of high-profile diplomatic feuds and military actions related to the South China Sea has raised concern about the direction of U.S.-China relations. Neither country is well positioned politically or economically to engage in a long-term, antagonistic relationship, let alone a major conflict.

    Jun 27, 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

  • 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

  • News Release

    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

  • 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

  • Currency exchange rates are displayed on a digital LED screen

    Report

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

    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 man is seen next to signs of Chinese yuan and U.S. dollar at a foreign exchange store in Shanghai, January 8, 2016

    Commentary

    China's Yuan as a Reserve Currency: Boon or Bane for the Dollar?

    Establishing a system in which two reserve currencies compete with each other to affect global decisions about reserve holdings may lead to greater financial stability than the present dollar-dominated system.

    Jun 3, 2016

  • Events @ RAND Audio Podcast

    Multimedia

    A Conversation with His Excellency Yousef Al Otaiba, Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the United States

    In this Events @ RAND podcast, Ambassador Al Otaiba describes his vision for a stable, tolerant, and prosperous Middle East.

    Jun 1, 2016

  • The Ukrainian national guard Azov regiment and activists of the Azov civil corp protest local elections in pro-Russian rebel-held areas of eastern Ukraine under the Minsk peace agreement, May 20, 2016

    Commentary

    Russia's Great Power Choice

    The Donbas occupation is straining Russia's economy, world power status, and relationship with the West. Only by pulling out of eastern Ukraine and reforming its economy can Russia gain broader acceptance and reach its potential as a great power.

    Jun 1, 2016

  • International flags

    Commentary

    Will the New President Risk the Stability of the World?

    America's next leader will confront one of the most profound tasks of any post-war U.S. president: reimagining a threatened international order. Mishandled, the challenge could throw world politics into a tailspin. Done right, it could help keep the peace for another half-century.

    Jun 1, 2016

  • Icebreaker Yamal during removal of manned drifting station North Pole-36, August 2009

    Commentary

    Friends If We Must: Russia and China in the Arctic

    Russia's rebalancing toward China is particularly important in the Arctic, a region in which Russia has great ambitions, but also struggles with major vulnerabilities. Russia needs China as an investor, as a technological partner, and as a key consumer of energy to support its flagging, energy-dependent economy.

    May 6, 2016

  • U.S. Treasury Building in Washington, D.C.

    Commentary

    Time for Washington to Amp Up the Power to Coerce

    The U.S. government should start preparing systematically for the use of coercion as it does for military warfare, including analyzing options, assessing requirements and capabilities, conducting war games to refine these capabilities, and planning with allies.

    Mar 22, 2016

  • U.S. President Barack Obama delivers a statement on Iran at the White House, January 17, 2016

    Commentary

    The Iran Deal Is Working: What Now?

    U.S. policy will likely continue to balance the tensions between containing and deterring Iran with regional allies, while testing areas where engagement with Iran might either be unavoidable (as in Syria) or desirable (such as in counternarcotics cooperation or efforts to stabilize Afghanistan).

    Mar 9, 2016

  • Chess pieces on a board

    Report

    Countering Adversaries Without Going to War

    How can the United States coerce unfriendly states without going to war? The three potentially most cost-effective options are financial sanctions, support for nonviolent political opposition, and offensive cyber operations.

    Mar 3, 2016