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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

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping during their meeting on the sidelines of a BRICS summit, in Brasilia, Brazil, November 13, 2019, photo by Ramil Sitdikov/Sputnik via Reuters

    Report

    The Chinese-Russian Relationship and Its Risks to U.S. Interests

    Over the past 70 years, China and Russia have experienced the full range of interstate relations, from conflict to alliance. Beijing and Moscow have become much closer since 2014, increasing political, military, and economic cooperation. What does this mean for the United States?

    Oct 12, 2021

  • Brochure

    Brochure

    Select RAND Research on China: 1999-2019

    This volume is an important resource for anyone who is interested in gaining an informed understanding of China, a major strategic competitor of the United States in the economic, technological, diplomatic, and security realms.

    Oct 7, 2021

  • The Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, a mausoleum in Pyongyang, North Korea, photo by narvikk/iStock

    Report

    How Does North Korea Evade Sanctions?

    The United Nations has imposed increasingly restrictive sanctions on North Korea after each of the six nuclear weapons tests that it conducted between 2009 and 2016. Enforcement has been mixed and North Korea has become adept at several techniques to evade sanctions.

    Sep 23, 2021

  • Taliban flags are seen on a street in Kabul, Afghanistan, September 16, 2021, photo by West Asia News Agency via Reuters

    Commentary

    China and Pakistan See Eye to Eye on the Taliban—Almost

    Beijing and Islamabad share a long history of cooperation and have much in common on Afghanistan. Both are poised to benefit strategically from the Taliban's success. But the Taliban's resurrection almost certainly will add some stress to an otherwise positive and productive bilateral partnership.

    Sep 21, 2021

  • Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi meets with Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, political chief of the Taliban, in Tianjin, China, July 28, 2021, photo by Li Ran/Xinhua via Reuters

    Commentary

    Chinese Recognition of the Taliban Is All but Inevitable

    China is likely to recognize and legitimize the new leadership in Afghanistan within the coming weeks or months. Even if China has real concerns about the Taliban's willingness to keep its promises, the potential benefits are simply too great for Beijing to ignore.

    Aug 27, 2021

  • The verdict is announced in the embezzlement trial of U.S. investor Michael Calvey (L) at Meshchansky District Court, Moscow, Russia, August 5, 2021, video still by Moscow City Court/TASSTHIS via Reuters

    Commentary

    Which Kremlin Can Investors Expect?

    A Kremlin that backs sound macroeconomic policy and a strong private sector could hearten investors. A Kremlin that pursues statist economics and security at all costs could discourage them. Which Kremlin should investors expect?

    Aug 12, 2021

  • An I-Kiribati girl watches as the Military Sealift Command joint high-speed vessel USNS Millinocket arrives in Tarawa, Republic of Kiribati, June 2, 2015, photo by Chief Petty Officer Jonathan Kulp/U.S. Navy

    Commentary

    America's Strategy in Oceania: Time for a Better Approach

    China has moved in earnest to engage with Oceania, while the United States is vying to get a toehold in the region. To develop an effective strategy for engaging there, Washington could seek guidance from key allies to better understand their experience, lessons, and efforts already underway.

    Jul 19, 2021

  • A soldier loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad's forces is seen in Quneitra, Syria, July 22, 2018

    Commentary

    The Power and Limits of Threat: The Caesar Syrian Civilian Protection Act at One Year

    A powerful new U.S. sanctions law on Syria came into effect one year ago, with great notice and speculation regarding its potential effects. Now, one year later, it is apparent that the act's power lies not in who the United States has sanctioned but in who the United States could sanction.

    Jul 8, 2021

  • Earth partially covered by Chinese Yuan, image by Stephen Finn/Adobe Stock

    Report

    China's Drive for Power and Influence Around the World

    An analysis of China's ability to use various mechanisms of influence to shape the policies and behavior of 20 countries finds that China's economic power is the foundation for its influence. This analysis offers lessons for the United States that can inform its response.

    Jun 30, 2021

  • Russian President Putin addresses the audience during Moscow City Day celebrations in Moscow, Russia, September 5, 2020, photo by Sputnik/Alexei Druzhinin/Kremlin via Reuters

    Report

    Confronting a More Globally Active Russia

    For the last 25 years, Russia has been focused on regaining the ability to influence actions beyond its own region. Recognizing Russia's global interests could help the United States implement its own global strategy.

    Jun 15, 2021

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin holds a meeting via video link from the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, December 21, 2020, photo by Alexei Nikolsky/Russian Presidential Press and Information Office/Reuters

    Commentary

    Russia Engine Troubles: Is Putin's Behavior Catching Up with Him?

    Actions taken to curb Russian malign activities around the globe appear to be affecting Russia's marine and aerospace engine sector. Efforts to arrest Russia's bad behavior might gain momentum if more countries followed the lead of Norway, which chose supporting sanctions over short-term economic gain.

    Jun 15, 2021

  • Blog

    China's Ambitions, Origins of the Coronavirus, Income Inequality: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on China’s quest for global primacy, understanding the coronavirus origin story, how parents feel about sending their children back to school, and more.

    Jun 11, 2021

  • Workers at the construction site of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, near the town of Kingisepp, Leningrad region, Russia, June 5, 2019, photo by Anton Vaganov/Reuters

    Commentary

    Depoliticizing Russian Gas in Europe

    At their June 16 Summit in Geneva, Presidents Biden and Putin might consider how to reduce the sharp tensions over the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project. Cooperation among governments and companies may offer potential.

    Jun 11, 2021

  • China outlined in red on a NASA image of Earth, photo by NASA and RomoloTavani/Getty Images

    Report

    China's Quest for Global Primacy

    U.S.-China relations have entered a new phase characterized by sharpening competition. Beijing's international and defense strategies aim to outcompete the United States and establish primacy in the Asia-Pacific region and leadership of the world order. What does this mean for U.S. policy?

    Jun 7, 2021

  • People take part in the celebrations for the National Liberation Day near the Arch of Reunification in the city of Pyongyang, North Korea, August 14, 2005, photo by Yuri Maltsev/Reuters

    Commentary

    An Economic Blueprint for North Korea

    It would be simplistic to think that developing detailed blueprints for economic development in North Korea could on its own cut through decades of conflict and mistrust, triggering political and economic reform. But by expanding the terms of the debate it might move the needle on peace.

    Jun 4, 2021

  • People take part in the celebrations for the National Liberation Day near the Arch of Reunification in the city of Pyongyang, North Korea, August 14, 2005, photo by Yuri Maltsev/Reuters

    Report

    From Hermit Kingdom to Open for Business

    When the situation in North Korea becomes conducive to foreign investment and development, what might it take to kick-start the country's economy?

    May 25, 2021

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    The Flag Lags but Follows: The PLA and China's Great Leap Outward

    This chapter explores how China may protect its overseas interests, analyzes PLA thinking about the security dimensions of the Belt and Road Initiative, and considers three case studies on what securing China's overseas interests involves in concrete terms.

    May 18, 2021

  • China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif exchange documents during the signing ceremony of a 25-year cooperation agreement, in Tehran, Iran March 27, 2021, photo by Majid Asgaripour/WANA via Reuters

    Commentary

    China Does Not Have to Be America's Enemy in the Middle East

    China and Iran made a deal in which China promised to boost its investment in Iranian infrastructure in exchange for a steady supply of oil. This uptick in Chinese influence does not necessarily erode U.S. power in the region. The United States may even find overlapping interests with China since both have a stake in containing conflicts and instability.

    Apr 19, 2021