Home > News Release: New Foreign Direct Investment in the United States
EMBARGOED UNTIL RELEASE AT 8:30 A.M. EDT, Wednesday, July 11, 2018
BEA 18—34

New Foreign Direct Investment in the United States: 2017

Expenditures by foreign direct investors to acquire, establish, or expand U.S. businesses totaled $259.6 billion (preliminary) in 2017. Expenditures were down 32 percent from $379.7 billion (revised) in 2016 and were below the annual average of $359.9 billion for 2014-2016. As in previous years, acquisitions of existing businesses accounted for a large majority of total expenditures.

New Investment by Foreign Direct Investors by Type, 1994-2016

In 2017, expenditures for acquisitions were $253.2 billion, expenditures to establish new U.S. businesses were $4.1 billion, and expenditures to expand existing foreign-owned businesses were $2.4 billion. Planned total expenditures, which include both first-year and planned future expenditures until completion for projects initiated in 2017, were $278.0 billion.

Expenditures by industry, country, and state in 2017

By industry, expenditures for new direct investment were distributed widely. Expenditures in manufacturing, at $103.7 billion, accounted for 40 percent of total expenditures, the largest share among major industries. Within manufacturing, expenditures were largest in food manufacturing ($34.0 billion). There were also large expenditures in information ($25.7 billion) and in real estate, rental, and leasing ($17.0 billion).

By country of ultimate beneficial owner (UBO), a small number of countries accounted for most of the investment. The largest investing country was Canada, with expenditures of $66.2 billion, followed by the United Kingdom ($40.9 billion), Japan ($34.0 billion), and France ($23.1 billion). By region, Europe contributed 40 percent of the new investment in 2017.

By U.S. state, the largest expenditures were in California ($41.6 billion), Texas ($39.7 billion), and Illinois ($26.0 billion).

Greenfield expenditures

Greenfield investment expenditures–expenditures to establish new U.S. businesses and to expand existing foreign-owned U.S. businesses–were $6.4 billion in 2017. Total planned expenditures until completion for greenfield investment initiated in 2017, which include both first-year and future expenditures, were $24.8 billion.

By U.S. industry, greenfield expenditures in 2017 were largest in manufacturing at $1.6 billion, accounting for 24 percent of total greenfield expenditures. By U.S. state, greenfield expenditures in 2017 were largest in Delaware ($1.2 billion) and New York ($0.6 billion).

Employment by newly acquired, established, or expanded foreign-owned businesses

In 2017, employment at newly acquired, established, or expanded foreign-owned businesses in the United States was 554,300 employees. Current employment of acquired enterprises was 549,700. Total planned employment, which includes the current employment of acquired enterprises, the planned employment of newly established business enterprises when fully operational, and the planned employment associated with expansions, was 577,200.

By industry, accommodation and food services accounted for the largest number of employees (255,100), followed by manufacturing (109,000) and administration, support, and waste management services (55,500). By country of UBO, France accounted for the largest number of employees (47,700), followed by the United Kingdom (42,100) and Canada (39,400).

By U.S. state, Virginia was in the largest employment category, but the employment value is suppressed due to confidentiality. The next largest states in employment were Missouri (63,000), California (55,700), and Florida (55,500). Employment for acquired entities that operate in multiple states is attributed to the state where the greatest number of employees are based.

Updates to 2016 Expenditures for New Foreign Direct Investment in the United StatesMillions of dollars
  Previously Published Estimate Revised Estimate
First-year expenditures 373,440 379,728
U.S. businesses acquired 365,700 370,317
U.S. businesses established 5,565 6,504
U.S. businesses expanded 2,175 2,907
Planned total expenditures 387,739 394,964
U.S. businesses acquired 365,700 370,317
U.S. businesses established 13,569 15,468
U.S. businesses expanded 8,471 9,178

Next release: July 2019
New Foreign Direct Investment in the United States, 2018

Additional Information

Resources

Definitions

Direct investment is a category of cross-border investment associated with a resident in one economy having control or a significant degree of influence on the management of an enterprise resident in another economy. Ownership or control of 10 percent or more of the voting securities of an entity in another economy is the threshold for separating direct investment from other types of investment.

A U.S. affiliate is a U.S. business enterprise that is at least 10 percent owned by a single foreign person or entity.

A foreign parent is the first person or entity outside the United States in a U.S. affiliate's ownership chain that has a direct investment interest in the affiliate.

The ultimate beneficial owner (UBO) is that person or entity, proceeding up a U.S. affiliate's ownership chain that is not owned more than 50 percent by another person or entity.

An acquisition occurs when a foreign entity acquires a voting interest (directly, or indirectly through an existing U.S. affiliate) of at least 10 percent in a U.S. enterprise. Acquisitions of additional voting interest in existing U.S. affiliates in which a foreign entity already has a 10 percent voting interest are excluded.

An establishment occurs when a foreign entity, or an existing U.S. affiliate of a foreign entity, establishes a new legal entity in the United States in which the foreign entity owns 10 percent or more of the new business enterprise's voting interest.

An expansion occurs when an existing U.S. affiliate of a foreign parent expands its operations to include a new facility where business is conducted.

Greenfield investment includes establishments and expansions.

Statistical Conventions

The statistics of new investments by foreign direct investors are based on data reported in the Survey of New Foreign Direct Investment in the United States (BE-13) conducted by BEA.

The statistics include transactions resulting from corporate inversions. A corporate inversion occurs when a U.S. corporation that is currently the ultimate owner of its worldwide operations takes steps to become a subsidiary of a foreign corporation. BEA's direct investment surveys do not collect information on whether a U.S. corporation became foreign owned as a result of a corporate inversion. Using publicly available information, such as commercial databases and press reports, BEA estimates that newly inverted U.S. corporations accounted for a significant share of first-year expenditures in 2015, but not in 2016 or 2017. For more information on how corporate inversions affect the new investment statistics see "New Foreign Direct investment in the United States in 2016" in the Survey.