International Trade

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International trade—business conducted across national borders—drives GDP and directly and indirectly affects global alliances, globalization, and the economic health of nations. RAND research has examined international trade in contexts as diverse as arms trafficking, the drug trade, international nuclear commerce, trade unions, the U.S.-China trade deficit, and economic investment in Ukraine.

  • Shipping containers at the port in San Pedro, California, March 22, 2018, photo by Bob Riha Jr./Reuters

    Commentary

    Trump's Tariffs Against China Aren't Working. And There's No Quick Resolution in Sight

    Aug 20, 2019

    Washington's go-it-alone approach to its trade disputes with China is imposing a high and growing cost on the U.S. economy. It could even threaten global prosperity. What's more, there's no quick resolution in sight.

  • 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

    Dec 12, 2017

    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.

Explore International Trade

  • Map of Russia and Post-Soviet Europe, image by RAND Corporation

    Report

    Proposal for a Revised Regional Order in Post-Soviet Europe and Eurasia

    Disputes over the regional order in post-Soviet Europe and Eurasia are at the core of the breakdown in relations between Russia and the West and have created major challenges for the states caught in between. A new approach to the order could boost security and prosperity in the region.

    Oct 8, 2019

  • People's Liberation Army soldiers are seen in front of a sign marking China's 70th anniversary before a military parade in Beijing, October 1, 2019, photo by Thomas Peter/Reuters

    Commentary

    The China Dream: Never Closer, yet Never More Elusive

    To achieve its goals of national rejuvenation, China needs to become a true world power. But a softening economy and political gridlock make it seem less and less likely that Beijing will realize all of its objectives.

    Oct 1, 2019

  • U.S. President Donald Trump attends a bilateral meeting with China's President Xi Jinping during the G20 leaders summit in Osaka, Japan, June 29, 2019, photo by Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

    Commentary

    How Not to Confront China

    There are several key reasons why current U.S. policy toward China may not help advance America's competitiveness or enlist much support abroad. Most notably, the administration has yet to explain what it ultimately hopes to accomplish.

    Sep 23, 2019

  • China and USA relations concept, photo by Rawf8/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Beyond Hawks and Doves: A Better Way to Debate U.S.–China Policy

    The best long-term outcome for U.S.–China relations may be one in which inexorably intensifying competition coexists with occasionally fruitful cooperation. It is not the most inspiring result, to be sure, but it is preferable to unconstrained antagonism.

    Sep 20, 2019

  • Blog

    E-Cigarettes, 'Stand Your Ground,' Cyber Coercion: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on the planned federal ban on flavored e-cigarettes, “stand your ground” laws, understanding cyber coercion, and more.

    Sep 20, 2019

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

    Report

    Potential Benefits of Economic Integration in the Levant

    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.

    Sep 16, 2019

  • Tool

    The Levant Economic Integration Calculator

    This online tool allows policymakers and the public to examine how a comprehensive free trade agreement among the countries of the Levant could create significant new economic opportunities, substantially reducing regional unemployment.

    Sep 16, 2019

  • Blog

    Drug Spending, Back to School, Korean Unification: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap looks at illegal drug spending, the problem of waking up early for school, possible paths toward Korean unification, and more.

    Aug 23, 2019

  • Scales, money, magnifying glass, and books

    Report

    Tool Created to Help Multinational Companies Assess Risk of Bribery When Doing Business in Foreign Countries

    Corruption can hinder global business investment — particularly in emerging markets — but multinational companies often have difficulty assessing the business bribery risk in other countries. A new tool, called the TRACE Matrix, can help.

    May 13, 2019

  • Dice with UK and EU flags, and no deal and deal on sides, Photo by Rawf8/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Finding the Real Will of the People

    It's not surprising that the British Parliament is struggling to find a solution to the Brexit impasse. That's because the 2016 vote revealed nothing about the sort of Brexit people actually wanted. When researchers asked Brits to choose between four options in 2017, there was no obvious winner.

    Apr 30, 2019

  • People walk in front of a monitor showing news of North Korea's fresh threat in Tokyo, Japan, August 10, 2017, photo by Toru Hanai/Reuters

    Tool

    DPRK Sanctions: Countering DPRK Proliferation Activities

    This tool provides an understanding of sanctions regimes currently in force against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

    Apr 29, 2019

  • Military delegates leave the Great Hall of the People after a meeting ahead of National People's Congress in Beijing, China, March 4, 2019, photo by Aly Song/Reuters

    Commentary

    Book Review: 'Unrivaled' by Michael Beckley

    In Unrivaled: Why America Will Remain the World's Sole Superpower Michael Beckley argues not only that U.S. preeminence is safer than most contemporary commentary would have one believe, but also that it is more resilient.

    Apr 18, 2019

  • Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May speaks in Parliament ahead of a Brexit vote, in London, Britain, March 13, 2019, photo by UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/Handout via Reuters

    Commentary

    Life After Brexit Need Not Be a Disaster for the UK

    Leaving the European Union without a deal will be costly for Britain. But there are actions that could be taken now to help improve the economic prospects of a fully independent UK.

    Mar 18, 2019

  • A man visits the Huawei Cyber Security Transparency Centre in Brussels, Belgium, March 5, 2019, photo by Yves Herman/Reuters

    Commentary

    Public Evidence of Huawei as a Cyber Threat May Be Elusive, but Restrictions Could Still Be Warranted

    Although a “smoking gun” of Huawei involvement in government-directed espionage remains elusive, the United States has compelling security and economic reasons to consider limiting the involvement of Chinese telecommunications companies in its domestic networks.

    Mar 7, 2019

  • U.S. President Donald Trump arrives to deliver remarks on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) at a news conference in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., October 1, 2018

    Commentary

    The End of the End of History?

    The Trump administration has taken steps that represent a significant retreat from the norm-based, world order that the United States has championed since 1945. If this shift continues, what might be the impact?

    Jan 8, 2019

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping meets former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, November 8, 2018

    Commentary

    Engagement vs. Competition: The China Policy Debate

    There is a consensus that the U.S. is engaged in an intensifying strategic competition with China. It's less clear what relationship the U.S. should seek and can plausibly achieve with its competitor. An inability to classify China along the ally-to-adversary continuum limits, if not precludes, America's ability to formulate a coherent strategy.

    Dec 31, 2018

  • A 3D rendering of a chess board on a globe

    Report

    What Does the Emerging Era of International Competition Look Like?

    There is a general expectation of a new era of strategic competition, characterized by growing rivalry in the political, economic, and military spheres. But there is no consensus on what that means or what forms it could take. Theory and history can shed light on the coming era.

    Dec 19, 2018

  • U.S. President Donald Trump, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, U.S. President Donald Trump's national security adviser John Bolton and Chinese President Xi Jinping attend a working dinner after the G20 leaders summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, December 1, 2018

    Commentary

    The Trump-Xi Meeting at G-20: Kicking the Can Down the Road

    Much was expected of the discussion at the 2018 G-20 meeting in Buenos Aires between the United States and China on their ongoing trade war. However, nothing of significance emerged. With signs of a global economic slowdown surfacing earlier than expected, the failed outcomes of this meeting could come back to haunt world leaders.

    Dec 14, 2018

  • British Prime Minister Theresa May meets with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to discuss Brexit, at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, December 11, 2018

    Commentary

    The UK Can't Have Its Brexit Cake and Eat It Too

    If the UK wishes to negotiate free-trade deals around the world, it has to either rebuild a border in Ireland or put up a customs border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. If it crashes out of the EU with no agreement, the economic costs are the highest and border chaos is likely.

    Dec 11, 2018