Foreign stake in US plants surges

The number of reported foreign investments in US manufacturing declined in 1980 for the first time in five years, the Conference Board reports. But their dollar value was sharply higher.

Foreign companies announced 387 manufacturing investments in the United States last year, compared with 434 in 1979. Dollar figures were reported for 219 of the investments in 1980, amounting to $6.4 billion. This is up from $4.9 billion for investments in 1979.

Spending totals are not generally available for smaller foreign firms, which account for only a minor share of spending in this country. The 1980 spending jump was fueled by massive investments in the US by some of the world's largest multinational companies, including Nissan, Renault, Dominion Bridge of Canada, and IBH Holding of West Germany.

"A large number of foreign-based enterprises appear determined to strengthen their competitive positions in the US market," the Conference Board's David Bauer, director of the survey, notes. "Because their US objectives are long-term, their investments here are relative ly immune to current adverse economic conditions."

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