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

  • International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde speaks at a Belt and Road conference in Beijing, China, April 12, 2018

    Commentary

    The Global Order Will Outlast U.S. Leadership

    Even if America bails on the international order there is plenty of evidence that Europe, China, Japan, and the rest of the developed world will maintain existing multilateral structures and build new ones. The order will survive but may become less liberal, less democratic, and perhaps less peaceful.

    Aug 23, 2018

  • Russia's President Vladimir Putin speaks during an interview with Fox News after a meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump in Helsinki, Finland, July 16, 2018

    Commentary

    Walking a Fine Line on Russian Sanctions

    The United States and its allies are increasingly frustrated over malign activities by Russia. This week the U.S. unveiled new sanctions, and is expected to impose even more in the future. But choosing sanctions requires care. Their purpose should be to penalize Russia for misbehavior, but not to isolate Russians.

    Aug 22, 2018

  • Research Brief

    China Belt and Road Initiative: How revival of the silk road could impact world trade

    By using both qualitative and quantitative analysis, this study found improving transportation multimodal connectivity has a positive impact on multilateral trade across countries and regions along China Belt and Road Initiative.

    Aug 21, 2018

  • Report

    China Belt and Road Initiative: Measuring the impact of improving transportation connectivity on trade in the region

    Using both qualitative and quantitative analysis, this study found improving transportation multimodal connectivity has a positive impact on multilateral trade across countries and regions along China Belt and Road Initiative.

    Aug 21, 2018

  • U.S. President Trump arrives to announce his decision to withdraw from the JCPOA Iran nuclear agreement in the Diplomatic Room of the White House, May 8, 2018

    Commentary

    Bringing Back Sanctions Will Hurt U.S. Allies and Iran, but Will It Help America?

    What happens if leaving the Iran nuclear deal and applying “maximum pressure” doesn't lead Iran to change its behavior or the regime to collapse? The Trump administration may find that it's much easier to break a deal than to replace it with something better.

    Aug 7, 2018

  • Members of the United Nations Security Council during a meeting at the U.N. headquarters in New York, April 14, 2018

    Commentary

    The Roots—and Purpose—of the Post-War Order

    As the world enters an era of greater international competition, U.S. policymakers should take care not to underestimate the importance of the postwar system. The order is far from a myth; it is the United States' most important competitive advantage.

    Aug 7, 2018

  • The U.S. Navy destroyer USS John S. McCain conducts a patrol in the South China Sea, January 22, 2017

    Commentary

    The Security Risks of a Trade War with China

    As U.S.-China trade tensions continue to rise, many observers are focused on the potential for a full-fledged trade war that could destabilize the world economy. But there are security concerns as well. A China less constrained by and invested in economic ties with the United States could pose a greater challenge to U.S. foreign policy.

    Aug 6, 2018

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi talk as they visit the Hubei Provincial Museum in Wuhan, China, April 27, 2018

    Commentary

    Is India the Weakest Link in the Quad?

    India's sustained membership in the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue would fit with the goal of balancing against China to deter it from further militarizing the Indo-Pacific. But New Dehli may be getting cold feet.

    Jul 23, 2018

  • Shipping containers at a port in Shanghai, China, July 10, 2018

    Commentary

    The U.S.-China Trade War: Different Messages

    The trade war between the United States and China began with the notification of tariffs on $34 billion of traded goods on each side. Officials on both sides of the Pacific are using different messages to convey the dispute. What are the real impacts likely to be?

    Jul 20, 2018

  • The Christophe de Margerie (R), an ice-class tanker fitted out to transport liquefied natural gas, is docked in Arctic port of Sabetta, Yamalo-Nenets district, Russia March 30, 2017

    Commentary

    Cooperation in the Arctic Likely to Continue—For Now

    Risks for serious tensions in the Arctic during the 2020s are likely to be overstated. Key players in the Arctic appear likely to continue working together to enhance the economic potential of the region and resolve conflicts before they emerge, as opportunities in the Arctic continue to grow.

    Jul 12, 2018

  • U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with Russia's President Vladimir Putin during their bilateral meeting at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, July 7, 2017

    Commentary

    Trump and Putin Should Start Small at Helsinki Summit

    Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin will hold their first formal summit on July 16. Their agenda will likely include the main sources of strain in relations, but they might find it easier to make concrete progress if they start with lower-profile issues as Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan did at their first summit.

    Jul 2, 2018

  • Turkish and Israeli flags fly atop the Turkish embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel, June 26, 2016

    Report

    Israeli-Turkish Ties Face Formidable Challenges

    Israel and Turkey have mutual economic interests, such as trade, tourism, and energy. The two countries have usually been able to separate these interests from their political differences, but current relations remain contentious. Israel and Turkey differ on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the future of Syria.

    Jun 27, 2018

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks as China's new Politburo Standing Committee members meet with the press at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, October 25, 2017

    Commentary

    Book Review: Elizabeth Economy's The Third Revolution

    The United States' attitude towards China is undergoing a significant recalibration, perhaps the most fundamental since Beijing's crackdown at Tiananmen Square almost three decades ago. Harnessing its resurgence while tempering its revisionism will likely be Washington's most vexing long-term policy challenge.

    Jun 26, 2018

  • World flags

    Commentary

    The Need for Superpowers to Embrace a Vision of World Affairs

    A superpower promotes a conception of world affairs that attracts others, enabling it to advance its objectives and amplify its values far more than it could on its own. Washington has a significant edge over Beijing in this regard.

    Jun 21, 2018

  • Japan's Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera, U.S. Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis, and Australia's Defence Minister Marisa Payne meet on the sidelines at the IISS Shangri-la Dialogue in Singapore, June 2, 2018

    Commentary

    The Quad: Second Verse, Same as the First?

    Members of “the Quad”—an informal collaborative arrangement among the United States, Japan, India, and Australia—have proven incapable of adopting either a shared understanding of or unified policies toward China.

    Jun 15, 2018

  • G7 leaders take part in a working session on the first day of the G7 meeting in La Malbaie, Quebec, Canada, June 8, 2018

    Commentary

    Why Russia Should Not Rejoin the G7

    Even were it to disgorge the parts of Ukraine that it seized in 2014, Russia still would not qualify for reentry into the G8. An aspirational case for Russian membership might be made, but only if Russia's leadership aspires to democratic government and an open free market economy. At the moment there is no sign of such an aspiration.

    Jun 13, 2018

  • U.S. President Donald Trump signs a proclamation declaring his intention to withdraw from the JCPOA Iran nuclear agreement in the Diplomatic Room at the White House in Washington, D.C. May 8, 2018

    Commentary

    Assessing Transatlantic Fallout After the U.S. Withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear Deal

    The U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal has set off another round of reflection on the state and future of the transatlantic alliance. Though this dispute may not in itself lead to a full breach in the transatlantic relationship, it joins a growing list of sharp disagreements impacting U.S. alliances.

    May 31, 2018

  • China's flag made over digital tiles

    Report

    China's Role in the International Order

    China's engagement with the postwar order remains a complex, often contradictory work in progress. China will likely demand more influence in the international system as a condition for its support. What will this mean for U.S. policy?

    May 21, 2018

  • Iranian flag

    Commentary

    Regime Appears Fragile as Iranians Turn Much of Their Ire Inward

    Economic hardship is fueling unrest in Iran. New sanctions stemming from the U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear deal may exacerbate already difficult conditions. Now might be the time to exert maximum pressure on the regime in an effort to bring Tehran back to the negotiating table.

    May 21, 2018

  • World flags

    Commentary

    Book Review: The Sovereignty Wars by Stewart Patrick

    “Sovereignty” is a complicated, multifaceted construct. The Sovereignty Wars is a timely and meticulous effort by author Stewart Patrick to clarify that concept, whose usage is a matter of both analytical interest and policymaking import.

    May 17, 2018

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