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

  • U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (R) meets with Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi at the State Department in Washington, U.S., February 8, 2018

    Commentary

    Book Review: Safe Passage: The Transition from British to American Hegemony

    In Safe Passage: The Transition from British to American Hegemony Kori Schake discusses the world's peaceful transition from British Empire to United States preeminence. She also considers the implications of her analysis for the present dynamics between a preeminent United States and a resurgent China.

    Mar 7, 2018

  • Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May makes a speech about her vision for Brexit at Mansion House in London, Britain, March 2, 2018

    Commentary

    A Brexit Do-Over?

    European Union member states have a method for dealing with unsatisfactory referendums, called a do-over. A Brexit do-over would be complicated—all 27 other EU members would have to agree—but since Britain leaving is also disadvantageous for the rest of the EU, they have incentives to welcome back the prodigal.

    Mar 6, 2018

  • U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announces North Korea-related sanctions, Washington, D.C., February 23, 2018

    Commentary

    North Korean Sanctions to Make for Interesting U.S.-China Trade Talks

    With one of China's top officials arriving in Washington for trade talks, this might not be the best time to impose additional tariffs on Chinese exports, as the Trump administration has been threatening.

    Feb 28, 2018

  • Trade ministers and delegates from the remaining members of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) attend the TPP Ministerial Meeting during the APEC 2017 in Da Nang, Vietnam November 9, 2017

    Commentary

    The Danger of Might Without Power

    A more forceful U.S. posture in the Asia-Pacific would likely strengthen America's long-term position in the region. The effort should rehabilitate key bilateral alliances, especially with Tokyo and Seoul, and compete with or at least supplement the roster of economic initiatives that China is advancing across the region.

    Feb 28, 2018

  • Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (R) shakes hands with Pakistan Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif (L) at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse on September 8, 2017 in Beijing, China

    Commentary

    What Next for China-Pakistan Relations?

    The recent downgrade in U.S.-Pakistan relations will present both opportunities and challenges for China. Beijing can use the recent strain to promote a new model of international development, but must be wary of becoming the sole external power responsible for maintaining stability in the region.

    Feb 26, 2018

  • A health ministry worker fumigates a public park during a campaign against dengue, chikungunya and Zika in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico April 4, 2017

    Commentary

    Can America Afford to Reduce Global Public Health Funding?

    The United States may be preparing to downsize funding for global epidemic prevention. Without renewed funding, the long-term outlook could include an increased likelihood of global disease outbreaks.

    Feb 8, 2018

  • U.S. and Chinese officials meet prior to the U.S.-China Diplomatic and Security Dialogue in Washington, D.C., June 21, 2017

    Commentary

    The Competition for Status Could Increase the Risk of a Military Clash in Asia

    The prospect of conflict involving China remains remote, and Beijing remains committed to peaceful development. But if Beijing ever concludes that the United States and its allies have successfully stymied its aspirations, China may be tempted by riskier methods to assert its status.

    Feb 2, 2018

  • Britain's Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union David Davis (L), Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Union's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier (R) meet at the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium December 8, 2017

    Commentary

    For the UK's Post-Brexit Economy, No Deal Is the Worst Deal

    Brexit negotiations around trade are likely to be complicated for the UK and EU, particularly as a common position between all the parties could be difficult to achieve. Trying to avoid the worst-case economic option of 'no deal' is likely to be at the top of the agendas for both the UK and EU as trade talks begin.

    Jan 9, 2018

  • Blue globe puzzle

    Report

    Testing the Value of the Postwar International Order

    The postwar order offers significant value to U.S. interests and objectives and is worth the investment. It represents a leading U.S. competitive advantage. At a time of growing rivalry, nationalism, and uncertainty, a functioning multilateral order will be essential.

    Jan 8, 2018

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin and Gennady Timchenko, founder and owner of a privately held investment vehicle Volga Group, visit a new concert hall of the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg, Russia, June 3, 2017

    Commentary

    Not All Russian Oligarchs Are Alike

    The U.S. Secretary of the Treasury must report to Congress the main “oligarchs” in Russia, judged by their closeness to the “regime” and net worth. This broad approach, not aimed at specific wrongdoers, poses several risks.

    Jan 8, 2018

  • Rates of currencies are displayed at a currency exchange in Warsaw, Poland, on June 24, 2016, the day after the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union

    Commentary

    Why Political Risks May Dampen World Economies in 2018

    The world economy has reached its strongest point since the global financial crisis a decade ago. But rising political risks may cloud prospects in 2018 and perhaps beyond.

    Jan 7, 2018

  • Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (center) is welcomed by European Council President Donald Tusk (left) and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker at a European Union-Japan summit, Brussels, Belgium, July 6, 2017

    Commentary

    Economic Multilateralism and Regionalism

    The trend toward economic multilateralism and regionalism is accelerating. Japan finalized a free-trade agreement with the EU that will encompass some 600 million people and 30 percent of GWP. The U.S. has benefited from bilateral agreements, but would do well to revisit its posture toward multilateral and regional currents.

    Jan 5, 2018

  • China's President Xi Jinping speaks at the opening ceremony of the "CPC in dialogue with world political parties" high-level meeting, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, December 1, 2017

    Commentary

    China's Endgame: The Path Towards Global Leadership

    The coming years are likely to see a deepening contest between the U.S. and China in the diplomatic, economic, cyber, and information domains, even as the risks of major war remain low. In its 19th CCP Congress report, Beijing articulated for the first time an ambition to contend for global leadership.

    Jan 5, 2018

  • U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley speaks with Chinese Deputy Ambassador Wu Haitao ahead of the United Nations Security Council session on imposing new sanctions on North Korea, in New York, December 22, 2017

    Commentary

    China's Reluctance on Sanctions Enforcement in North Korea

    It's fair to question whether Beijing intends to fully enforce sanctions against the Kim Jong Un regime because such actions tend to undermine China's approach in North Korea. Beijing likely seeks to prevent the collapse of the North Korean regime to ensure that neither a spillover of refugees nor a reunified pro-U.S. Korea emerges on its doorstep.

    Jan 4, 2018

  • U.S. President Donald Trump and China's President Xi Jinping meet business leaders at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, November 9, 2017

    Commentary

    America's New Security Strategy Reflects the Intensifying Strategic Competition with China

    The United States unveiled its National Security Strategy last week, describing China as a revisionist power that actively competes against the United States and its allies and partners. China had strong words of its own in response. Both will need to navigate the relationship in a way that supports stability and prosperity for both countries.

    Dec 27, 2017

  • Morning commuters are seen outside the New York Stock Exchange, July 30, 2012

    Commentary

    Economic Instability Endangers Democracy

    The Western political community is retreating from its own institutions. The problem stems from the fact that the health of democracies is crucially dependent on their economic growth rate.

    Dec 16, 2017

  • News Release

    UK Likely to Be Economically Worse-Off Outside the EU Under Most Plausible Trade Scenarios

    The UK economy is likely to suffer under the most probable post-Brexit trade scenarios. Leaving the EU with no deal and operating under World Trade Organization (WTO) rules would lead to the greatest economic loss for the UK, reducing GDP by nearly 5 per cent, or $140 billion, 10 years after Brexit, compared with EU membership.

    Dec 12, 2017

  • Women work at a tungsten mining factory in Zhongshan, China, June 2, 2017

    Testimony

    Taking Action Against U.S. Import Dependence

    When a country that controls its materials production dominates the supply chain for a critical material—as China does with tungsten—it's harder for American manufacturers to compete. But the United States can take steps to help mitigate this issue.

    Dec 12, 2017

  • Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May is welcomed by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker at the EC headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, December 8, 2017

    Commentary

    The Burdens of Brexit

    The economic consequences of Brexit are likely to be negative across a wide range of scenarios, including the most likely outcomes that the UK now faces. If the UK leaves the EU with no trade deal it could lose 4.9 percent of GDP, or $140 billion, after 10 years.

    Dec 12, 2017

  • Project

    The Economic Impact of Brexit

    The UK is likely to be economically worse off outside of the European Union under most plausible scenarios. Leaving the EU with no deal and applying World Trade Organization rules would lead to the greatest economic losses for the UK.

    Dec 11, 2017

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