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

  • U.S. and China flags inside gears with a third gear with a question mark inside, photo by

    Commentary

    The Real U.S.-China Competition: Theories of Influence

    Strategic competition between the United States and China has come to dominate U.S. foreign policy debates. That competition is multifaceted, but it may turn on a basic question: Which country has a more sustainable concept of national influence?

    Jan 29, 2020

  • British and European Union flags in a cloudy sky, photo by themotioncloud/Getty Images

    Report

    Further Trade Uncertainty Due to Brexit Could Cost UK Billions

    The UK's official departure from the EU only ends the first phase of trade uncertainty related to Brexit. Costs to the UK economy are likely to continue during the UK–EU renegotiation period and will increase over time. By the end of 2020, UK GDP could decrease by $5.5 billion (£4.4bn).

    Jan 28, 2020

  • An Anti-Brexit protester demonstrates outside the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain, June 26, 2019, photo by Hannah McKay/Reuters

    Multimedia

    What Are the Potential Economic Implications of Prolonged UK–EU Trade Policy Uncertainty?

    In this Call with the Experts podcast, RAND researchers discuss the potential economic implications of prolonged trade policy uncertainty associated with the renegotiation period between the UK and EU after Brexit.

    Jan 24, 2020

  • Security personnel stand guard near a "Golden Bridge on Silk Road" decoration for the Belt and Road Forum outside the China National Convention Center in Beijing, China, April 25, 2019, photo by Jason Lee/Reuters

    Commentary

    China's Footprint in Europe

    Tensions between Washington and Brussels may be helping China find a more receptive audience for its Belt and Road initiative. One of the central challenges for the United States and Europe will be to forge a more united approach to China's resurgence.

    Jan 13, 2020

  • Periodical

    Periodical

    RAND Review: January-February 2020

    Feature stories spotlight research on America's fentanyl crisis and new approaches to clinical guideline development. The Commentary column features terrorism expert Colin Clarke on the threat of white supremacists in the United States.

    Jan 6, 2020

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks during the 5th Plenary Meeting of the 7th Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) in this undated photo released on December 28, 2019, photo by KCNA/Reuters

    Commentary

    North Korea: Selling Political Deception

    Why did Kim Jong-un substitute releasing the North Korean Workers' Party Plenary report instead of his traditional New Year's address? As with many things in North Korea, we do not know, forcing us to speculate.

    Jan 3, 2020

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks at the opening ceremony of the second China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai, China, November 5, 2019, photo by Aly Song/Reuters

    Commentary

    What to Expect from China in 2020

    Last year was an eventful one in China, with U.S.–China trade tensions escalating, protests in Hong Kong reaching a crisis point, and President Xi Jinping further consolidating power. What might the rest of the world expect from China in 2020?

    Jan 3, 2020

  • The national flag of Taiwan on a large number of metal containers for storing goods stacked in rows on top of each other. Conception of storage of goods by importers, exporters, photo by Sova Vitalij/AdobeStock

    Journal Article

    Trade Relations Between Taiwan and South Asia Under the New Southbound Policy

    This paper provides an assessment of Taiwan's global status as an economy, to discover where its global comparative advantages lie, then assesses its economic relations with South Asia.

    Dec 13, 2019

  • Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif arrives for a meeting among remaining parties to the Iran nuclear deal at U.N. headquarters in New York City, September 25, 2019, photo by Yana Paskova/Reuters

    Commentary

    Understanding Iran's Nuclear Escalation Strategy

    Throughout 2019, Iran has gradually reduced its compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. What are its goals in doing this? Why has it adopted this strategy? And perhaps most importantly, how far does Iran intend to go?

    Dec 12, 2019

  • People walk near a burned bank, after protests against increased fuel prices, in Tehran, Iran, November 20, 2019, photo by Nazanin Tabatabaee/WANA (West Asia News Agency)/Reuters

    Commentary

    Don't Expect a Thaw in Iran

    Iran's recent protests could mark the beginning of a new chapter in Iran's domestic politics. Whatever happens inside the country, though, it will not likely change Iran's foreign policy.

    Dec 11, 2019

  • (L-R) Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare and Foreign Minister Jeremiah Manele, and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi attend a signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, October 9, 2019, photo by Thomas Peter/Reuters

    Commentary

    What Does Beijing Want from the Pacific Islands?

    China's recent activities in Oceania highlight a formidable two-pronged strategy of diplomatic and economic engagement that Washington and its allies and partners will have to vigorously compete against to maintain their preeminence in the Pacific.

    Dec 9, 2019

  • Iranians protest against increased gas prices, on a highway in Tehran, November 16, 2019, photo by Nazanin Tabatabaee/WANA (West Asia News Agency)/Reuters

    Commentary

    With Chaos in the Streets of Iran, Here's How the United States Could Help the Iranian People

    The Iranian people deserve American support. But current U.S. policies are hurting the cause that Iranians are fighting for while failing to achieve any strategic objectives.

    Dec 3, 2019

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan attend the official welcome ceremony in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, October 15, 2019, photo by Alexander Zemlianichenko/Pool/Reuters

    Report

    Russian Strategy in the Middle East Is Limited

    The unrest in Syria and the Arab Spring gave Russia the opportunity to increase its economic and political activities across the Middle East. But the strengths of Moscow's strategy in the short term—its transactionalism, its balancing of multiple partners—may turn out to be its undoing in the long term.

    Nov 26, 2019

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad visit the Hmeymim air base in Latakia Province, Syria, December 11, 2017, photo by Mikhail Klimentyev/Sputnik Photo Agency/Reuters

    Commentary

    Russia's Risky Game Plan for Syria

    It will take time to assess the extent to which Russia has “won“ in Syria. Absent a peaceful end to the conflict and an infusion of large-scale Western aid, downside risks for Russia could take some of the bloom off of its rose in Syria.

    Oct 29, 2019

  • Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa attends a rally against Western sanctions in Harare, Zimbabwe, October 25, 2019, photo by Philimon Bulawayo/Reuters

    Commentary

    Zimbabwe’s Neighbors Express Solidarity Against a False Enemy

    The notion that sanctions are primarily responsible for the economic collapse in Zimbabwe is a useful fiction promoted by that country's authoritarian elite. In reality, the ruling party, in power for 39 years, has no one to blame but itself.

    Oct 25, 2019

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un welcomes Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Pyongyang International Airport in Pyongyang, North Korea, in this undated photo released on June 21, 2019, photo by KCNA/Reuters

    Commentary

    U.S. Economic War on China Weakens Nuclear North Korea, Too

    An effective way to bend North Korea toward denuclearization may be exerting consistent and targeted pressure on China. Diminishing Beijing's relevance isn't a cure-all. But it could pierce Kim's illusion of invincibility and place him in a bind to make some concessions.

    Oct 18, 2019

  • Map of Russia and Post-Soviet Europe, image by RAND Corporation

    Report

    Proposal for a Revised Regional Order in Post-Soviet Europe and Eurasia

    Disputes over the regional order in post-Soviet Europe and Eurasia are at the core of the breakdown in relations between Russia and the West and have created major challenges for the states caught in between. A new approach to the order could boost security and prosperity in the region.

    Oct 8, 2019

  • U.S. President Donald Trump and China's President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, November 9, 2017, photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

    Commentary

    The Emerging U.S.–China Strategic Competition and the Role of Trans-Atlantic Cooperation

    When competing with China, what role should U.S. alliances, especially the transatlantic relationships the United States has with its European partners, play? This question is potentially decisive for whether or not any strategy adopted by the U.S. to compete with China will succeed or fail.

    Oct 8, 2019

  • People's Liberation Army soldiers are seen in front of a sign marking China's 70th anniversary before a military parade in Beijing, October 1, 2019, photo by Thomas Peter/Reuters

    Commentary

    The China Dream: Never Closer, yet Never More Elusive

    To achieve its goals of national rejuvenation, China needs to become a true world power. But a softening economy and political gridlock make it seem less and less likely that Beijing will realize all of its objectives.

    Oct 1, 2019

  • U.S. President Donald Trump attends a bilateral meeting with China's President Xi Jinping during the G20 leaders summit in Osaka, Japan, June 29, 2019, photo by Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

    Commentary

    How Not to Confront China

    There are several key reasons why current U.S. policy toward China may not help advance America's competitiveness or enlist much support abroad. Most notably, the administration has yet to explain what it ultimately hopes to accomplish.

    Sep 23, 2019