Difficulties in Addressing Public Policy Concerns
T-NSIAD-90-54, Jul 19, 1990
GAO discussed the types of data available or needed to analyze foreign direct investments in the United States. GAO found that there were general limitations to foreign investment data because: (1) of inadequate timeliness, consolidated reporting, classification methodology, and information access; (2) various statistical methods captured different aspects of total foreign investments; and (3) there were important gaps and disparities in available data. GAO also found that the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA): (1) did not require detail in identifying industrial classification in company reporting; (2) reported data by enterprise rather than by establishment; (3) collected only limited data on sales and employment below the enterprise level; and (4) and the Census Bureau were working on establishing a link between BEA enterprise data and Census establishment data. GAO concluded that access to foreign investment data should be determined on a need-to-know basis.