Foreign Investment:

Aspects of the U.S.-Japan Relationship

NSIAD-90-203FS: Published: Jul 31, 1990. Publicly Released: Sep 4, 1990.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on: (1) the extent and sectoral composition of Japanese investment in the United States and U.S. investment in Japan; (2) the forms of Japanese direct investment in the United States, and (3) barriers to U.S. investment in Japan.

GAO found that: (1) Japanese investments in the United States during 1980 through 1988 increased faster than U.S. investments in Japan; (2) by 1988, Japanese investments in the United States exceeded total U.S. investments in Japan by $128.5 billion; (3) Japan made direct investments in the United States amounting to $21.7 billion in 1988, while U.S. direct investment in Japan was $2.2 billion; (4) more than half of each country's cumulative direct investment in the other was in wholesale trade and manufacturing; (5) most Japanese direct investments are in the form of majority ownership investments, rather than joint ventures or minority ownership; and (6) Japanese barriers to U.S. investment tend to be informal, systemic barriers, such as long-term supply relationships, a complex distribution system, and close ties between government and industry.

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