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.

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping during their meeting on the sidelines of a BRICS summit, in Brasilia, Brazil, November 13, 2019, photo by Ramil Sitdikov/Sputnik via Reuters

    Report

    The Chinese-Russian Relationship and Its Risks to U.S. Interests

    Oct 12, 2021

    Over the past 70 years, China and Russia have experienced the full range of interstate relations, from conflict to alliance. Beijing and Moscow have become much closer since 2014, increasing political, military, and economic cooperation. What does this mean for the United States?

  • The Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, a mausoleum in Pyongyang, North Korea, photo by narvikk/iStock

    Report

    How Does North Korea Evade Sanctions?

    Sep 23, 2021

    The United Nations has imposed increasingly restrictive sanctions on North Korea after each of the six nuclear weapons tests that it conducted between 2009 and 2016. Enforcement has been mixed, and North Korea has become adept at several techniques to evade sanctions.

Explore International Economic Relations

  • Nuclear talks at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva November 20, 2013

    Commentary

    We're Close to a Good Deal with Iran. Why Sabotage It?

    It appears that Iran and the P5+1 are close to agreeing for Tehran to suspend major aspects of its program, including the enrichment of uranium to a medium level of 20 percent, and installation of more advanced centrifuges, in return for reversible and limited easing of sanctions.

    Nov 21, 2013

  • European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton speaks with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif before the start of two days of nuclear talks at the United Nations offices in Geneva October 15, 2013

    Commentary

    Pause on Additional Iran Sanctions Crucial to Negotiations

    The Nov. 7–8 negotiations between Iran and six world powers (the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, China and Germany) could prove to be a critical point in the Iranian nuclear crisis. New sanctions under consideration by Congress could lead to a weakening of the overall U.S. position.

    Nov 6, 2013

  • Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks to the media after a meeting of foreign ministers at the U.N. Headquarters in New York September 26, 2013

    Commentary

    Zero-Sum Enrichment

    Sanctions have taken a heavy toll on the Iranian economy, and the Islamic Republic may finally be motivated to take steps to rein in its nuclear program, including accepting limits on uranium enrichment, in exchange for lessening the pressure.

    Oct 14, 2013

  • A Chinese contractor at the site of the Nairobi-Thika highway project

    Commentary

    The Strategy Behind China's Aid Expansion

    Between 2001 and 2011, China's pledged foreign aid was $671 billion. In all regions and countries, China's assistance focuses on the development of natural resources, principally energy-related (coal, oil, and gas). Both parties presumably benefit from China's aid but both are also exposed to added risks and hidden costs.

    Oct 9, 2013

  • Men travel in a boat across the Yangon river

    Commentary

    U.S. Sanctions Against Myanmar Need to Go

    Washington now has to ask itself whether its goals can best be met with these restrictions in place or whether it is time to recognize the fundamental changes that are taking place in Myanmar and forge a new relationship with its leaders based on full government-to-government relations, writes Peter Chalk.

    Oct 2, 2013

  • Labourers work at a railway station construction site in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa

    Blog

    New RAND Study Examines Chinese Economic Assistance to Other Countries

    With the world's second largest economy, China has the capacity to engage in substantial programs of economic assistance and government-sponsored investments in 93 emerging-market countries.

    Sep 19, 2013

  • Report

    China's Foreign Aid and Government-Sponsored Investment Activities: Scale, Content, Destinations, and Implications

    With the world's second largest economy, China has the capacity to engage in substantial programs of economic assistance and government-sponsored investments. Researchers assessed the scale, trends, and composition of these programs in 93 emerging-market countries.

    Sep 18, 2013

  • News Release

    News Release

    U.S. Debt Could Reduce U.S. Global Influence in the Future

    The United States still has the economic muscle to shape important aspects of the international environment, but high government debt in the future may undermine its economic instruments of power and its ability to influence global conditions through nonmilitary means.

    Sep 16, 2013

  • United States flag with downward arrow graph

    Report

    U.S. Debt Could Reduce U.S. Global Influence in the Future

    The United States still has the economic muscle to shape important aspects of the international environment, but high government debt in the future may undermine its economic instruments of power and its ability to influence global conditions through nonmilitary means.

    Sep 16, 2013

  • News Release

    News Release

    Rivalry, Cooperation Between Turkey and Iran Changing Along with the Middle East

    Economic cooperation between Turkey and Iran has increased over the past decade — mainly due to Iran's vast oil and natural gas reserves — but the degree of cooperation between the two nations should not be exaggerated.

    Aug 29, 2013

  • Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (right) talks with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (left) during their meeting in Tehran in 2009

    Report

    Rivalry, Cooperation Between Turkey and Iran Changing Along with the Middle East

    Economic cooperation between Turkey and Iran has increased over the past decade — mainly due to Iran's vast oil and natural gas reserves — but the degree of cooperation between the two nations should not be exaggerated.

    Aug 26, 2013

  • In a photo from June 2013, Shinzo Abe speaks to an audience in London, England about Japan's economic revival.

    Commentary

    Japan’s Sun May Be Rising

    Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's plans for reviving Japan's economy after two decades of stagnation differ sharply from the policies pursued by the United States and the European Union to recover from the deep recession of 2008–2009.

    Aug 9, 2013

  • A 2009 rally in support of Mir Hussein Mousavi before he was put on house arrest.

    Commentary

    Will Iran's Opposition Leaders Be Released?

    The resolution of Iran's nuclear crisis does not only depend on U.S.-Iranian relations, but also on other factors including the fate of three Iranian prisoners.

    Aug 2, 2013

  • President Barack Obama and President Macky Sall of Senegal hold a bilateral meeting at the Presidential Palace in Dakar, Senegal, June 27, 2013

    Commentary

    To Help Africa, Do Business There

    Competition from American industry would help drive Chinese firms to be more socially responsible and generate greater benefits for African communities, write Larry Hanauer and Lyle Morris.

    Jun 27, 2013

  • Hassan Rouhani giving a speech

    Commentary

    Before Piling on New Sanctions, Give Rouhani a Chance

    The imposition of sanction after sanction without a clear diplomatic approach may convince Iran's leadership that the United States seeks regime implosion and overthrow rather than a solution to the nuclear crisis, write Alireza Nader and Colin H. Kahl.

    Jun 27, 2013

  • Hassan Rouhani's supporters, Valiasr street

    Commentary

    Rouhani: Rival Constituencies

    Rouhani may improve the economy in pursuing his underlying goal to preserve the Islamic system, writes Alireza Nader. But not all Iranians would be satisfied with just economic improvements. Many want greater freedom of expression and a bigger say in the political system.

    Jun 24, 2013

  • President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden talk with Vice President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China and members of the Chinese delegation following their bilateral meeting in the Oval Office, Feb. 14, 2012.

    Commentary

    Agreeing to Disagree About Africa

    The Obama-Xi dialogue offers an opportunity to clarify both countries' interests in Africa and remove a potential irritant to U.S.-Chinese bilateral relations, write Larry Hanauer and Lyle Morris.

    Jun 6, 2013

  • Mexico border

    Commentary

    If U.S.-Mexico Get Security Right, Other Good Policy Will Follow

    Obama and Peña Nieto emphasized economic cooperation at their summit not because security issues have gone away, but because the new rules of the game in this nascent relationship between the two leaders are evolving, writes Agnes Gereben Schaefer.

    May 29, 2013

  • map of Syria on open hands

    Commentary

    Saved by the Diaspora

    If Alawites and Sunnis living abroad can stand united against the Assad regime, so can their counterparts inside Syria. By setting an example of coexistence, they can mitigate the fears of Alawites in Syria that deserting Assad would facilitate the rise of an anti-Alawite Sunni regime.

    May 24, 2013

  • Garments factory in Bangladesh

    Commentary

    What Bangladesh — and US Retailers — Must Do to Prevent Man-Made Tragedies

    Perhaps most tragic of all are the disasters that are wholly preventable: the deaths, maimings, and crushed livelihoods that result from human callousness or indifference, writes Jonah Blank.

    May 17, 2013