BEA publishes three sets of statistics on foreign direct investment in the United States. Statistics on 1) new foreign direct investment, 2) foreign direct investment transactions and the foreign direct investment position, and 3) the activities of multinational enterprises (AMNE).

The statistics on new investment are related to the other two sets of statistics. Statistics on expenditures for new investment partly overlap financial transactions statistics (see the chart below). The new investment statistics include the total cost of the new investment whether the funds were obtained from domestic or foreign sources, whereas in the financial transactions statistics, only funds obtained from the foreign parent group are included.

Financial transactions statistics measure net direct investment transactions between foreign direct investors and U.S. entities and include new investment costs paid by foreign entities, but also include transactions not related to new investments, such as full or partial sell-offs of equity, purchases of additional equity in existing U.S. affiliates, reinvestment of earnings, and intercompany lending transactions related to ongoing operations.

Given these differences, the period to period change in new foreign direct investment can move in the opposite direction as the change in foreign direct investment transactions.

In addition to data on expenditures for new investment, BEA’s survey of new foreign direct investment in the United States also collects information on the finances and operations of the newly acquired, established, or expanded U.S. businesses. These “activities” statistics cover many of the same items covered in the AMNE statistics that are published annually for all U.S. affiliates.


Chart: Comparison of the Statistics on New Investment and the Financial Transactions Statistics