Foreign Investment in the U.S.

March 31, 1989

Report Outline
Special Focus


Foreign investors are buying up U.S. businesses, farm land, real estate, stocks and bonds at a record pace. The Bush administration maintains that the booming foreign investment provides jobs and needed capital for the growth of the American economy. But there are a growing number of critics who worry that the United States may lose control over its own destiny.

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Gloomy economic news is so common these days that few people seem to notice when the government releases new data showing the trade deficit is worsening or the federal budget deficit is not shrinking as fast as predicted. But one economic fact makes Americans stand up and listen: Foreigners now own $1.5 trillion worth of assets in the United States.

Foreign investors, who have been purchasing government securities since the early 1980s, are now rapidly buying other kinds of American assets as well, including real estate, banks and other businesses. Known as foreign direct investment, this kind of activity has more than tripled in the 1980s, rising from $83 billion in 1980 to $262 billion in 1987.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Foreign Investment in the United States
Mar. 31, 1989  Foreign Investment in the U.S.
Oct. 12, 1979  Foreign Investments in the United States
Jul. 26, 1974  Foreign Investments in America
May 19, 1939  Foreign Capital in the United States
Economic Development
Import Quotas and Customs
Investment and the Stock Market