By 1990 the total number of transnational corporations exceeded 35,000, with more than 150,000 foreign affiliates. This growth in numbers has accompanied a massive outpouring of foreign direct investment during the second half of the 1980s. The total stock of foreign direct investment world-wide now stands at some $1.7 trillion, with annual flows in 1990 amounting to $225 billion. The global sales of foreign affiliates of transnational corporations are estimated to be some $4.4 trillion, far greater than world exports estimated at $2.5 trillion, excluding intra-firm trade within transnational corporations. Sales by the affiliates of transnational corporations have thus emerged as a far more important mode of serving world markets than trade.Read More
World Investment Report 1992
Transnational Corporations as Engines of Growth
The World Investment Report 1992: Transnational Corporations as Engines of Growth (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.92.H.A.19), published by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Development, is the second in an annual series. This year’s Report of over 350 pages, containing over 70 statistical tables and charts on a wide variety of issues related to the operations of transnational corporations, is designed to analyse the latest trends in foreign direct investment; assess the impact of the activities of transnational corporations, particularly of foreign direct investment on the growth and development of developing countries; and outlines a number of policy proposals that deserve considerations for implementation at national and international levels, with a view to enhancing the growth promoting impact of the activities of transnational corporations.
In recent years, there has been a remarkable acceleration in the flows of foreign direct investment, far outpacing the growth of world output, exports and technology flows. This upsurge in die growth of foreign direct investment, together with a number of fundamental structural changes in the international economy – the increasing importance of market forces in development strategies; dramatic technological break throughs; globalization of key industries; the rise of services; and trends towards regional groupings – places transnational corporations in a position to play a key role in growth and development. An understanding of die processes at work in light of an assessment of the activities of transnational corporations is an essential prerequisite for appropriate policy responses to revive growth.
This Executive Summary contains the principal highlights of the findings in the main Report which analyses in detail the complex interactions between transnational corporations, national and international policies and growth. It is intended to reach a wider readership and should be particularly useful to policy makers hard pressed to afford the tune to read a voluminous study. The Summary bas been prepared by Azizul Islam, with contributions from David Gold and Padma Mallampally.
Director, Transnational Corporations and Management Division
Department of Economic and Social Development