International Business-Government Communications: U.S. Structures, Actors, and Issues

By Jack N. Behrman; J. J. Boddewyn et al. | Go to book overview

1
Introduction and Conclusions

U.S. international companies are affected by governmental policies at home and abroad, and are often the target of special policies because of their being foreign or transnational in perspective. The overall policy of reception (the "climate for investment") and the specific policies concerning entry, expansion, operations, and exit produce the setting for communication between governments and the international companies ( ICs).a

More important, there is an increasing need for governments and companies to communicate on problems of international business. Governments are tightening controls, and are asking for more and more information. And national governmental agencies are not the only ones doing so; various provincial governments are adopting policies on inward direct investment, and the United Nations has examined the need for controls over multinational enterprises. It would seem that better policies can only be formed out of an adequate dialogue among the actors on the issues.


The Issues

It is frequently said by both home and host governments that ICs are little concerned about the goals of the countries where they operate, and that they generate unique conflicts of national vs. corporate interests and loyalties. These conflicts are made more complex by the fact that many governments are both home and host governments; that is, the United States has long been a strong exporter of direct investment capital but is increasingly an importer, while Japan has been an importer but is increasingly an exporter also. The same duality is arising in countries such as India, Canada, Brazil, and Mexico; and it has long been the case for Europe. It is not yet clear whether this duality will create new and greater tensions, increase understanding of the "other fellow's" viewpoint, or create a kind of policy schizophrenia within governments. The likelihood is for greater tension until conflicts can be resolved, however. The existence of these conflicts also means that there are opportunities to build new relationships

____________________
a
The abbreviation ICs, used throughout, refers only to U.S. companies operating abroad. It should be stressed, however, that the spread of ICs based in other countries is likely to alter the dialogue in both substance, intensity, and structure. The existence of ICs from several foreign countries in a host country is likely to reduce concern over foreign government interferences and increase attention to company operations. Any move to joint ventures will accelerate this shift.

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