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.

  • Russian missile air defence systems at the international military-technical forum Army-2021 in Moscow Region, Russia, August 23, 2021, photo by Maxim Shemetov/Reuters

    Report

    How Diplomacy Could Be Used to Discourage Russian Arms Sales

    Nov 18, 2021

    Countering Russian arms sales could reduce Russia's influence on other nations as well as revenue that indirectly enables its irresponsible international behavior. The United States and its allies need to provide credible diplomatic and military alternatives, and work with countries to address their security needs.

  • Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. President Donald Trump, and UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed sign the Abraham Accords in Washington, September 15, 2020, photo by Tom Brenner/Reuters

    Report

    The Abraham Accords Could Have Wide-Reaching Economic Benefits

    Mar 18, 2021

    The Abraham Accords between Israel and Muslim nations represent a possible new chapter in the region's development—away from conflict and toward a shared vision of economic prosperity. Israel's partners could gain 150,000 new jobs. And that could grow to 4 million new jobs over a decade if other nations join.

Explore International Trade

  • 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

  • Britain's Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, Dominic Raab, holds documents ahead of a meeting in Brussels, Belgium, July 19, 2018

    Commentary

    We Asked the British Public What Kind of Brexit They Want—and a Norway-Like Deal Is the Clear Winner

    The Brexit referendum outcome reveals very little about what people actually wanted. But a RAND Europe study of what people value about the EU finds that their priorities map most squarely onto a Norway-style model for future relations between the UK and the EU.

    Oct 11, 2018

  • United Kingdom and European union flags combined, Big Ben and Parliament house

    Journal Article

    Support for EEA-Style Brexit Has Increased

    Support for a Brexit deal based on membership of the European Economic Area (EEA) has increased. EEA membership is now supported by 43 per cent of Britons, up from 38 per cent in 2017, making it the most popular Brexit option.

    Oct 10, 2018

  • Report

    Report

    What sort of Brexit do the British people want? A longitudinal study examining the "trade-offs" people would be willing to make in reaching a Brexit deal — technical addendum

    A study using stated preference discrete choice experiments to quantify the British people's preferences for their relationship with the European Union after Brexit.

    Oct 10, 2018

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    The Impact of Trade Liberalization on Productivity: Evidence from India's Formal and Informal Manufacturing Sectors

    This paper was first to consider the effects of India's tariff liberalization on the entire manufacturing industry, both small, informal firms and large, formal firms. The overall effect of the trade reforms is increased productivity in both sectors.

    Sep 19, 2018

  • Paper boats with flags of China, Japan, and the United States on a map of East Asia

    Commentary

    The Implications of U.S.-China Trade Tensions for Japan

    Washington and Beijing seem prepared to begin decoupling from one another economically, which puts Tokyo in a difficult position. Japan may have to devise new strategies not only for sustaining its growth, but also for insulating itself from the impact of deteriorating relations between the United States and China.

    Sep 18, 2018

  • International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde speaks at a Belt and Road conference in Beijing, China, April 12, 2018

    Commentary

    The Global Order Will Outlast U.S. Leadership

    Even if America bails on the international order there is plenty of evidence that Europe, China, Japan, and the rest of the developed world will maintain existing multilateral structures and build new ones. The order will survive but may become less liberal, less democratic, and perhaps less peaceful.

    Aug 23, 2018

  • Research Brief

    Research Brief

    China Belt and Road Initiative: How revival of the silk road could impact world trade

    By using both qualitative and quantitative analysis, this study found improving transportation multimodal connectivity has a positive impact on multilateral trade across countries and regions along China Belt and Road Initiative.

    Aug 21, 2018

  • Report

    Report

    China Belt and Road Initiative: Measuring the impact of improving transportation connectivity on trade in the region

    Using both qualitative and quantitative analysis, this study found improving transportation multimodal connectivity has a positive impact on multilateral trade across countries and regions along China Belt and Road Initiative.

    Aug 21, 2018

  • The U.S. Navy destroyer USS John S. McCain conducts a patrol in the South China Sea, January 22, 2017

    Commentary

    The Security Risks of a Trade War with China

    As U.S.-China trade tensions continue to rise, many observers are focused on the potential for a full-fledged trade war that could destabilize the world economy. But there are security concerns as well. A China less constrained by and invested in economic ties with the United States could pose a greater challenge to U.S. foreign policy.

    Aug 6, 2018

  • Shipping containers at a port in Shanghai, China, July 10, 2018

    Commentary

    The U.S.-China Trade War: Different Messages

    The trade war between the United States and China began with the notification of tariffs on $34 billion of traded goods on each side. Officials on both sides of the Pacific are using different messages to convey the dispute. What are the real impacts likely to be?

    Jul 20, 2018