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.

Explore International Trade

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • British Prime Minister Theresa May delivers a speech to Conservative Party members in Walmsley Parish Hall in Bolton, April 19, 2017

    Commentary

    The Snap Election, What's in It for Theresa May?

    Why would Theresa May take the risk of a national election, which otherwise wouldn't be needed until 2020, and what does she expect to gain from it? Calling an election now enables May to take decisive control of her party and should strengthen her hand in the Brexit negotiations.

    Apr 23, 2017

  • The first C919 passenger jet made by the Commercial Aircraft Corp of China (Comac) during a news conference at the company's factory in Shanghai, November 2, 2015

    Report

    Chinese Investment in U.S. Aviation Is Not a Threat to Competitiveness

    Since 2005, Chinese companies have acquired, merged, or established joint ventures with more than a dozen U.S. aviation companies. The investment has been limited to smaller manufacturers of technologies not relevant to commercial or military aircraft, likely due to effective U.S. export and foreign investment regulations.

    Apr 10, 2017

  • British Prime Minister Theresa May signs the official letter invoking Article 50 and the UK's intention to leave the EU, March 28, 2017, London

    Commentary

    Brexit and the Politics of Raising Barriers

    A lot is known about bringing new members into alliances and trade relationships. Not much is known about dismantling these bonds peaceably. Since Brexit will be more about adding barriers than taking them down, it will be a leap into the dark.

    Mar 29, 2017

  • U.S. President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence attend a meeting with congressional leaders to discuss trade deals at the White House in Washington, February 2, 2017

    Commentary

    Strategic Consequences of U.S. Withdrawal from TPP

    America's withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership has exacerbated doubts about U.S. international leadership and America's role in Asia. Future trade agreements could face similar fates until they do a better job outlining how domestic workers can prosper.

    Mar 27, 2017

  • British Prime Minister Theresa May speaks as U.S. President Donald Trump listens during their joint news conference at the White House in Washington, U.S., January 27, 2017.

    Commentary

    Politics Across the Pond

    Donald Trump and Theresa May can't actually get much done on U.S.-U.K. trade in the short term. Whatever Trump and May say or agree to during this visit will be for political effect. Any real bargaining on the economics will take place years in the future.

    Jan 31, 2017