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. President Donald Trump and U.S. first lady Melania visit the Forbidden City with China's President Xi Jinping in Beijing, China, November 8, 2017

    Commentary

    Sustaining America's Economic Strength in the Asia-Pacific: A Narrowing Window of Opportunity

    Ali Wyne urges President Trump to reassure U.S. allies that the United States has both the capacity and the willingness to maintain an enduring presence in the Asia-Pacific. That reassurance must be grounded in credible geo-economic pledges.

    Nov 8, 2017

  • European Commission Vice-President Andrus Ansip addresses a news conference on Digital Single Market at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium May 10, 2017

    Commentary

    Why the EU Single Market Has Still Not Reached Its Full Potential

    The EU Single Market aimed to promote intra-European trade, increase competition, create more jobs and make Europe more attractive to foreign direct investment. The economic benefits of the Single Market are clear, but closer integration requires political buy-in from individual member states and the EU.

    Nov 8, 2017

  • People walk at the Grand Bazaar, a day after the presidential election, in central Tehran, Iran, May 20, 2017

    Commentary

    Killing Iran's Economy Won't Help the U.S.

    Iran's economy is likely to be damaged by any new U.S. sanctions, with foreign investment having already slowed in response to President Trump's rhetoric. The biggest losers will not be the Iranian regime but the Iranian people, whose striving the U.S. has long hoped would bring about a less antagonistic Iran.

    Oct 31, 2017

  • U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi before their meeting in New Delhi, India, October 25, 2017

    Commentary

    Despite Tillerson, U.S. Won't Abandon Pakistan for India

    There is no new U.S. policy towards Pakistan and there won't be one soon. As long as the U.S. has troops in neighboring Afghanistan, it will be reliant on Pakistan for logistical support, transit, and Islamabad's influence with both the Taliban and its affiliated Haqqani Network.

    Oct 27, 2017

  • A container is loaded on to the first Chinese container ship to depart after the inauguration of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor port in Gwadar, Pakistan November 13, 2016

    Commentary

    China's Field of Dreams in Pakistan

    China is four years into joint planning and construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a vast economic development package. Beneath the surface, Beijing is testing a new “build it and they will come” model for delivering economic development and foreign aid.

    Oct 16, 2017

  • Arctic waters

    Q&A

    Policy Challenges in the Arctic: Q&A with Abbie Tingstad

    Abbie Tingstad discusses how the opening of the Arctic by climate change could strain relationships among Arctic nations, how these changes will affect indigenous communities, and what to make of Russia's military buildup in the region.

    Oct 6, 2017

  • Saudi Arabia's King Salman (L) speaks with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin (R) during a welcoming ceremony upon his arrival in Moscow, Russia, October 4, 2017

    Commentary

    King Salman and Putin Deals Leave the U.S. Out in the Cold

    Riyadh plans to invest in Russian energy assets and possibly arms. The deals will lead to the manufacture of arms in Saudi Arabia and likely the transfer of military technology. These agreements thwart the U.S.- and EU-led sanctions regime and send an important signal to Washington.

    Oct 4, 2017

  • An F/A-18 Super Hornet lands on the deck of the USS Ronald Reagan in the South China Sea, September 30, 2017

    Report

    Risk of U.S.-China Conflict Should Not Be Ignored or Exaggerated

    Armed conflict between the United States and China isn't likely. But the possibility is real enough to warrant prudent policies and effective deterrence. America should continue to support China's neighbors while drawing Beijing into cooperative security endeavors.

    Oct 2, 2017

  • U.S. President Donald Trump is shown on a large screen as he addresses the 72nd United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., September 19, 2017

    Commentary

    The Multilateral Order Makes America Stronger

    Skeptics have suggested that U.S. interests and support for the international community are somehow mutually exclusive. In fact, international institutions, rules, and norms have mostly worked in the U.S. interest, not against it. The Trump administration has an opportunity to build on that record with a strong agenda of reform and support.

    Sep 26, 2017

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko walk to watch the closing stage of the joint war games Zapad-2013 (West-2013) at the Gozhsky firing range in Grodno, September 26, 2013

    Commentary

    Joint Military Exercises Distract from Complex Russia-Belarus Relationship

    Analysts and military leaders have concerns that Russia will use the Zapad 2017 exercise in Belarus as a smokescreen to put personnel and equipment in place, and keep it there. But the deep ties and history of cooperation between the two states make the chances of that happening unlikely.

    Sep 13, 2017

  • Headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland

    Report

    Measuring the Health of the International Order

    The liberal international order that has been in place since 1945 is relatively stable. But the order is threatened by geopolitical and domestic socioeconomic trends that call into question its assumptions. U.S. support and engagement over the coming decade will be essential.

    Sep 5, 2017

  • An American flag on a fence in the prairie

    Commentary

    American Isolationism Isn't New

    Isolationism is a recurring temptation of American foreign policy. Responding to new and unforeseen challenges, however, the United States has repeatedly resisted that temptation and risen to the demands of global leadership. Is it different today?

    Aug 1, 2017

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi attend a meeting at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Astana, Kazakhstan, June 9, 2017

    Commentary

    China Will Regret India's Entry Into the SCO

    Russia first proposed India as a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization likely in part to complement bilateral economic and security engagement, but mainly to constrain China's growing influence in the organization.

    Jul 24, 2017

  • News Release

    British Public Reject “No Deal” on Brexit

    The British people disagree with the claim that “no deal for Britain is better than a bad deal for Britain” when it comes to negotiations for leaving the EU. They want a deal on Brexit and are willing to compromise to get one.

    Jul 14, 2017

  • A commuter looks at his mobile phone as he crosses London Bridge during rush hour in London, Britain September 27, 2016

    Commentary

    Brexit: So Tell Me What You Want, What You Really Really Want

    The 'In/Out' referendum question encouraged the view that Brexit was a binary choice. But how did people understand these two options and their implications? The results of stated preference discrete choice experiments hold the answer.

    Jul 14, 2017

  • A businessman looking out at the modern London skyline

    Commentary

    Finding the Common Ground: Building a Brexit Around Trade and Single Market Access

    The priority for the UK government during Brexit negotiations should be access to the single market and free trade deals with countries outside the EU. This would build on the common ground felt by the majority of Britons about what they feel are the most valuable aspects of the UK's future relationship with Europe.

    Jul 14, 2017

  • Brexit negotiations written on mountain road sign

    Journal Article

    British Public Rejects “No Deal” on Brexit

    The British people disagree with the claim that “no deal for Britain is better than a bad deal for Britain” when it comes to negotiations for leaving the European Union. They want a deal on Brexit and are willing to compromise to get one.

    Jul 13, 2017

  • Report

    What sort of Brexit do the British people want? A proof-of-concept study using stated preference discrete choice experiments: Technical addendum

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

    Jul 13, 2017

  • The USS Lassen arrives at a South Korean naval port in Donghae as sailors wave South Korean and U.S. flags, March 9, 2013

    Essay

    Are America's Overseas Security Commitments Worth It?

    A growing debate has called into question U.S. international security commitments and whether their economic value outweighs their costs. Research suggests that the magnitude of the benefits could be substantial.

    Jul 7, 2017

  • Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May meeting with Democratic Unionist Party leader Arlene Foster and others inside 10 Downing Street, London, June 26, 2017

    Commentary

    Northern Ireland Is Now at the Forefront of Brexit

    After Prime Minister Theresa May's unexpected failure to win a majority in June's snap election, she is now reliant on Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party to shore up a minority Conservative government. As Brexit negotiations begin, European politicians should refresh their knowledge of Northern Irish politics.

    Jun 29, 2017

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