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.

  • China with sunset on Earth

    Report

    China's Engagement with the Developing World

    Oct 16, 2018

    Engaging with developing countries offers China economic growth and global influence. What are the consequences of Beijing's strategy toward the developing world for the United States?

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a business forum, Delovaya Rossiya, in Moscow, February 6, 2019, photo by Maxim Shemetov/Reuters

    Commentary

    Russia Chooses Paupers as Partners, with Questionable Benefit

    Feb 14, 2019

    By leveraging the efficiencies of globalization and cultivating ties with prosperous partners, Russia could increase its economic potential and improve living standards for its people. And by engaging more positively with the world, it could gain influence in the forums that matter, such as the G20 and multilateral institutions.

Explore International Economic Relations

  • A view of the cargo terminal of the Standard Gauge Railway line constructed by the China Road and Bridge Corporation and financed by the Chinese government, Nairobi, Kenya, May 31, 2017, photo by Thomas Mukoya/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Little-Known Security Gaps in China's Belt and Road Initiative

    China's Belt and Road Initiative focuses on developing infrastructure to connect Beijing to key hubs of economic activity throughout the world. But the more interests one has abroad, the more one has to protect.

    Feb 18, 2019

  • UN Special Envoy for Syria Geir O. Pedersen shakes hands with China's President Xi Jinping as King Harald of Norway looks on during a visit to China, October 16, 2018, photo by NTB Scanpix/Heiko Junge via Reuters

    Commentary

    The U.S. Withdrawal from Syria Is an Opportunity for China

    The U.S. withdrawal from Syria could allow Beijing to further assert its role as a key international partner in Syria and, by extension, further its interests in the Middle East. The extent of Sino-Syrian cooperation remains ambiguous but it has reportedly deepened, with China supplying intelligence personnel, strategic advisors, and special forces.

    Feb 15, 2019

  • U.S. President Donald Trump arrives to deliver remarks on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) at a news conference in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., October 1, 2018

    Commentary

    The End of the End of History?

    The Trump administration has taken steps that represent a significant retreat from the norm-based, world order that the United States has championed since 1945. If this shift continues, what might be the impact?

    Jan 8, 2019

  • Two people shaking hands over a table with flags

    Commentary

    Economic Officers for the Future

    Economic officers must be, first of all, accomplished political officers. They should also have all the reporting, public speaking, and representational skills of any political or public diplomacy officer, coupled with a strong understanding of economic issues.

    Jan 7, 2019

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping meets former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, November 8, 2018

    Commentary

    Engagement vs. Competition: The China Policy Debate

    There is a consensus that the U.S. is engaged in an intensifying strategic competition with China. It's less clear what relationship the U.S. should seek and can plausibly achieve with its competitor. An inability to classify China along the ally-to-adversary continuum limits, if not precludes, America's ability to formulate a coherent strategy.

    Dec 31, 2018

  • A 3D rendering of a chess board on a globe

    Report

    What Does the Emerging Era of International Competition Look Like?

    There is a general expectation of a new era of strategic competition, characterized by growing rivalry in the political, economic, and military spheres. But there is no consensus on what that means or what forms it could take. Theory and history can shed light on the coming era.

    Dec 19, 2018

  • U.S. President Donald Trump, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, U.S. President Donald Trump's national security adviser John Bolton and Chinese President Xi Jinping attend a working dinner after the G20 leaders summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, December 1, 2018

    Commentary

    The Trump-Xi Meeting at G-20: Kicking the Can Down the Road

    Much was expected of the discussion at the 2018 G-20 meeting in Buenos Aires between the United States and China on their ongoing trade war. However, nothing of significance emerged. With signs of a global economic slowdown surfacing earlier than expected, the failed outcomes of this meeting could come back to haunt world leaders.

    Dec 14, 2018

  • Chess pieces with U.S. and China flags superimposted on world map background

    Commentary

    Is This the Beginning of a New Cold War?

    It has become increasingly common for observers of world affairs to contend that the United States and China have either entered into or are poised to embark on a new Cold War. While the contours of a long-term contest between Washington and Beijing are undoubtedly forming, especially in the economic realm, the analogy is problematic.

    Dec 12, 2018

  • British Prime Minister Theresa May meets with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to discuss Brexit, at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, December 11, 2018

    Commentary

    The UK Can't Have Its Brexit Cake and Eat It Too

    If the UK wishes to negotiate free-trade deals around the world, it has to either rebuild a border in Ireland or put up a customs border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. If it crashes out of the EU with no agreement, the economic costs are the highest and border chaos is likely.

    Dec 11, 2018

  • The Ilyushin Il-96 aircraft transporting expelled Russian diplomats and their family members from the U.S., shortly after landing at Vnukovo airport outside Moscow, Russia, April 1, 2018

    Commentary

    Effective Responses to Russian Misbehavior

    Sanctions on Russians can be a powerful and effective tool, but in some cases there is a risk of spillover damage to other United States interests. It is worth considering whether America's interests may be best served by ensuring that penalties applied to Russia for misbehavior hit home against those responsible for it.

    Nov 20, 2018

  • Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe addresses the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. headquarters in New York, September 25, 2018

    Commentary

    Japan's Chance to Shine?

    Japan may never be a global leader in a way comparable to the United States. But Tokyo does have the power to provide leadership that will sustain key elements of the crumbling international order.

    Oct 30, 2018

  • Imran Khan, chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, speaks to members of media after voting in the general election in Islamabad, Pakistan, July 25, 2018

    Commentary

    New Pakistan, Old Challenges

    While the United States has been voicing concerns about the destabilizing potential of China's Belt and Road Initiative, Pakistan needs the economic stability that initiative could bring. As long as Pakistan remains a poor country, its democracy will be at risk.

    Oct 17, 2018

  • Britain's Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, Dominic Raab, holds documents ahead of a meeting in Brussels, Belgium, July 19, 2018

    Commentary

    We Asked the British Public What Kind of Brexit They Want—and a Norway-Like Deal Is the Clear Winner

    The Brexit referendum outcome reveals very little about what people actually wanted. But a RAND Europe study of what people value about the EU finds that their priorities map most squarely onto a Norway-style model for future relations between the UK and the EU.

    Oct 11, 2018

  • Report

    What sort of Brexit do the British people want? A longitudinal study examining the "trade-offs" people would be willing to make in reaching a Brexit deal — technical addendum

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

    Oct 10, 2018

  • United Kingdom and European union flags combined, Big Ben and Parliament house

    Journal Article

    Support for EEA-Style Brexit Has Increased

    Support for a Brexit deal based on membership of the European Economic Area (EEA) has increased. EEA membership is now supported by 43 per cent of Britons, up from 38 per cent in 2017, making it the most popular Brexit option.

    Oct 10, 2018

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks during the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, on September 4, 2018

    Commentary

    What Does China's Pursuit of a Global Coalition Mean for World Politics?

    As disputes between Beijing and Washington over trade and other issues intensify, analysts have highlighted domestic factors as reasons why President Xi Jinping may resist compromise. However, China's pursuit of a greater international leadership role likely plays an overlooked, but increasingly important role.

    Oct 8, 2018

  • Journal Article

    The Impact of Trade Liberalization on Productivity: Evidence from India's Formal and Informal Manufacturing Sectors

    This paper was first to consider the effects of India's tariff liberalization on the entire manufacturing industry, both small, informal firms and large, formal firms. The overall effect of the trade reforms is increased productivity in both sectors.

    Sep 19, 2018

  • Paper boats with flags of China, Japan, and the United States on a map of East Asia

    Commentary

    The Implications of U.S.-China Trade Tensions for Japan

    Washington and Beijing seem prepared to begin decoupling from one another economically, which puts Tokyo in a difficult position. Japan may have to devise new strategies not only for sustaining its growth, but also for insulating itself from the impact of deteriorating relations between the United States and China.

    Sep 18, 2018

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