By David Bailey
With transnationals now of monstrous importance to many economies and hence seeming to have sizeable leverage over host governments, this e-book appears to be like at what may be performed to steer the behaviour of those organisations. With a case learn of Glaxo.
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Extra resources for Making Transnationals Accountable: A Significant Step for Britain
THE UNITED STATES17 In contrast to Japan and France, the United States has traditionally pursued an ‘open door’ policy towards foreign direct investment. It has also been at the forefront in pressing other countries to reduce their use of restrictions and incentives. Indeed, we have already seen this in our discussion of Japan. However, there have been concerns expressed by the government, Congress, organised labour and the public over various aspects of transnational’ activities. The nature of these concerns has changed over time as the US position in global investment flows has changed.
Before 1967, Japan tightly controlled firms’ activities using the 1949 Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Control Law and the 1950 Foreign Investment Law. Inward investment required government approval and was virtually impossible, except for joint ventures. This is reflected in the US $900 m of foreign direct investment in Japan between 1945 and 1971; in 1965 alone it was US $640 m in Germany, US $450 m in the UK and US $430 m in France, compared to a mere US $40 m in Japan (US Senate, 1975). Likewise it has been argued that in this period MITI ‘had virtually complete control over Japan’s external investment’ (Robock, Simmonds and Zwick, 1977).
According to this view, an overseas transnational that is enticed into Britain brings no long-run commitment; given a free rein it will be willing in the future to run down British production in favour of development elsewhere. Even such an apparently wellestablished company as Ford may be accused of this lack of commitment (see evidence in Cowling and Sugden, 1987a, of Ford’s threats to cut back English car manufacture in favour of other European countries if workers fail to do as they are told, and in SMMT, 1984, and Jones, 1985, of it actually cutting back in the early 1980s).