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.

  • 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

    Jan 28, 2020

    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).

  • Loading cargo onto a container ship in Istanbul, Turkey, photo by Czgur/Getty Images

    Report

    Potential Benefits of Economic Integration in the Levant

    Sep 16, 2019

    A comprehensive free trade agreement among six of the core Levant nations—Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and Turkey—could increase their average gross domestic product by 3 to 7 percent. It could also reduce regional unemployment rates by 8 to 18 percent.

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  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • Tool

    Calculator Explores Five “Hard Brexit” Scenarios

    An interactive calculator based on RAND's After Brexit report allows users to examine how negotiations are likely to affect the economies of the UK, EU, and U.S. in the 10 years after Brexit negotiations conclude.

    Dec 11, 2017

  • David Davis, Britain's Secretary of State for Exiting the EU (left), and Michel Barnier, the EU's chief Brexit negotiator, talk to the media ahead of negotiations in Brussels, Belgium, September 25, 2017

    Report

    Potential Impacts of Brexit on UK, EU, U.S. Economies

    The UK economy is likely to suffer under the most probable post-Brexit trade scenarios. Leaving the EU with no deal would make the UK nearly 5 percent poorer in 2029 than if it had remained. The most beneficial scenario would be a trilateral UK-EU-U.S. agreement, but that is unlikely in the current political environment.

    Dec 11, 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

  • 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

  • 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

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