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. 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

  • Shipping containers at Pier J at the Port of Long Beach wait for processing in Long Beach, California, U.S., April 4, 2018

    Commentary

    Do States Need Their Own Trade Policies?

    Now would not be the first time California's business and trade interests haven't aligned with those of Washington. While it's the federal government, not California, that sets American trade policy, there are steps those in California could consider in order to optimize for trade opportunities abroad.

    May 13, 2018

  • U.S. President Trump just before signing a proclamation declaring his intention to withdraw from the Iran nuclear agreement, May 8, 2018

    Commentary

    The Strategic Fallout of U.S. Withdrawal from the Iran Deal

    President Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear agreement. What will happen next? Friction between the United States and its European allies will likely increase, while Iran moves closer to China and Russia. Also, the resentment of a new generation of Iranians toward America is likely to grow.

    May 10, 2018

  • Report

    Report

    Managing International Borders: Balancing Security with the Licit Flow of People and Goods

    This Perspective builds on global best practices and lessons learned from other established border management solutions and proposes opportunities to strengthen security while improving the flow of travelers and goods.

    May 9, 2018

  • Containers at the Yangshan Deep Water Port in Shanghai, China, April 24, 2018

    Commentary

    The Greater Danger of U.S.-China Trade Tensions

    Trade tensions between the United States and China could escalate into a full-blown trade war, with ramifications for economic ties and the global economy. The long-term danger, however, is that tensions could begin to undercut the interdependence that has been so essential to keeping strategic competition between the two giants in check.

    May 9, 2018

  • U.S. President Trump holds up a proclamation declaring his intention to withdraw from the JCPOA Iran nuclear agreement after signing it at the White House, May 8, 2018

    Commentary

    The U.S. Is Out of the Iran Deal. What Now?

    Abandoning the nuclear agreement with Iran isolates the United States, reneges on an American commitment, adds to the risk of a trade war with U.S. allies and a hot war with Iran, and diminishes the prospects of an agreement to eliminate the North Korean threat.

    May 9, 2018

  • Report

    Report

    The Future of Arctic Cooperation in a Changing Strategic Environment: Insights from a Scenario-Based Exercise Organised by RAND and Hosted by NUPI

    This Perspective summarises the results of a table-top exercise on factors that could upset Arctic cooperation in the 2020 decade. While this exercise confirmed the solidity of cooperation, it also identified "wild cards" that could create tensions.

    May 8, 2018

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers his speech at the closing session of the National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, March 20, 2018

    Commentary

    Recalibrate, Rather Than Abandon, U.S. China Policy

    China does not necessarily seek to succeed the U.S. as the world’s superpower, especially if such a mantle would impose on it real and/or perceived obligations for steering global affairs. What is the verdict, then, on America’s China policy, and where should the two countries go from here?

    May 8, 2018

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin walks down the stairs after an inauguration ceremony in Cathedral Square at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, May 7, 2018

    Commentary

    Russia Chooses Autarchy—and Isolation—Over Cooperation

    Russia says it is ending a centuries-long quest to join the West and preparing for “100 years of geopolitical solitude.” If Russia goes this way it will be because of its own unwise policies, not a Western cold shoulder.

    May 7, 2018

  • Illustration of a globe deconstructed

    Report

    Building a Sustainable World Order

    The growing threat to the rules-based postwar order is a defining feature of current discussions about world politics. A two-year project explored the existing international order, assessed the challenges facing it, and recommended policies to advance U.S. interests.

    May 3, 2018

  • An American flag after a sunset

    Commentary

    What Role Will the United States Play in the World?

    Under the leadership of President Trump, the United States is questioning the net strategic benefits of its participation in the postwar order as never before. Foreign policy priorities are increasingly disconnected from the day-to-day concerns of most Americans.

    Apr 30, 2018

  • Report

    Report

    Strengthening U.S.-ROK Relations in the New Administrations of the United States and South Korea: Findings from an October 2016 RAND Corporation Conference

    This summary outlines presentations and discussions from an October 2016 conference on relations between the United States and the Republic of Korea, with a focus on strengthening regional security and economic relations.

    Apr 27, 2018

  • The Eiffel tower is illuminated in green with the words "Paris Agreement Is Done" to celebrate the Paris U.N. COP21 Climate Change agreement in Paris, France, November 4, 2016

    Report

    U.S. Policy in Asia Under the Trump Administration

    A conference on U.S. policy in Asia explored the arenas of U.S.-Asia engagement, developed an understanding of the outcomes of past interaction, and made the case for the terms of future engagement. Topics included climate change, trade and investment, national security, human rights, and macroeconomic issues.

    Apr 18, 2018

  • U.S. President Donald Trump greets Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe prior to their bilateral meeting at Trump s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida U.S., April 17, 2018

    Commentary

    Why the U.S.-Japan Summit Matters

    After a year and half of relative stability, the The United States and Japan now must talk about difficult issues in which they have vested interests. As allies, and close friends, they could both benefit from reconfirming common goals and establishing a set of strategies to deal with challenges.

    Apr 17, 2018

  • Honour guards at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, July 4, 2016

    Commentary

    To Protect Interests Abroad, China Will Feature a Diverse Array of Military, Non-Military Forces

    As Beijing grapples with the realities of an economy increasingly susceptible to disruption from distant influences, experts debate how the Chinese military might protect overseas interests. Some have speculated that China may seek a military like that of the United States. Others have dismissed such a possibility.

    Apr 9, 2018

  • Iran flag and ICBM

    Commentary

    The Iran Deal Will Survive, at Least for Now

    A U.S. unilateral withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal does not necessarily mean the deal will collapse. But a broader collapse of the agreement along with the imposition of harsh sanctions in the coming months could sharply escalate tensions with Iran.

    Apr 4, 2018

  • The U.S. embassy in Moscow, Russia, March 27, 2018

    Commentary

    Moscow Is Going Too Far

    Russia has become more daring with the West with its retaliatory expulsions and may face a high price. An angered West could turn from expulsions to economic countermeasures.

    Apr 3, 2018