Foreign Investment:

Difficulties in Addressing Public Policy Concerns

T-NSIAD-90-54: Published: Jul 19, 1990. Publicly Released: Jul 19, 1990.

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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.

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