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Proposed Rule

Direct Investment Surveys: BE-11, Annual Survey of U.S. Direct Investment Abroad

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AGENCY:

Bureau of Economic Analysis, Commerce.

ACTION:

Notice of proposed rulemaking.

SUMMARY:

This proposed rule would amend regulations concerning the reporting requirements for the BE-11, Annual Survey of U.S. Direct Investment Abroad. The BE-11 survey is conducted annually and is a sample survey that obtains financial and operating data covering the overall operations of U.S. parent companies and their foreign affiliates. Currently, banks are excluded from coverage. BEA proposes to expand the reporting requirements on the BE-11 annual survey so that U.S. parent companies that are banks, foreign affiliates of bank parents, and bank foreign affiliates of nonbank parents will be reportable. A few minor changes will be required to the instructions on Form BE-11A, Report for U.S. Reporter, so it can be used to collect bank as well as nonbank data. BEA is now implementing a new, specialized Form BE-11B for foreign affiliates of bank parents and bank foreign affiliates of nonbank parents.

DATES:

Comments on this proposed rule will receive consideration if submitted in writing on or before 5 p.m. November 13, 2007.

ADDRESSES:

You may submit comments, identified by RIN 0691-AA63, and referencing the agency name (Bureau of Economic Analysis), by any of the following methods:

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. For agency, select “Commerce Department—all.”
  • E-mail: David.Galler@bea.gov.
  • Fax: Office of the Chief, Direct Investment Division, (202) 606-5318.
  • Mail: Office of the Chief, Direct Investment Division, U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis, BE-50, Washington, DC 20230.
  • Hand Delivery/Courier: Office of the Chief, Direct Investment Division, U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis, BE-50, Shipping and Receiving, Section M100, 1441 L Street, NW., Washington, DC 20005.

Public Inspection: Comments may be inspected at BEA's offices, 1441 L Street, NW., Room 7005, between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m., Eastern Time Monday through Friday.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

David H. Galler, Chief, Direct Investment Division (BE-50), Bureau of Economic Analysis, U.S. Department of Commerce, Washington, DC 20230; phone (202) 606-9835.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

This proposed rule would amend 15 CFR Part 806.14 to set forth the reporting requirements for the BE-11, Annual Start Printed Page 52317Survey of U.S. Direct Investment Abroad. The Department of Commerce, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, invites the general public and other Federal agencies to comment on proposed and/or continuing information collections, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.

Description of Changes

The BE-11 survey is a mandatory survey and is conducted annually by BEA under the International Investment and Trade in Services Survey Act (22 U.S.C. 3101-3108), hereinafter, “the Act.” BEA will send the survey to potential respondents in March of each year; responses will be due by May 31.

BEA proposes to collect data on bank and nonbank U.S. parent companies and their bank and nonbank foreign affiliates on the BE-11 annual survey. Currently, collection of data on the BE-11 annual survey is limited to that of nonbank U.S. parent companies and their nonbank foreign affiliates. Data for bank U.S. parent companies and their bank and nonbank foreign affiliates and data for bank affiliates of nonbank U.S. parent companies have been collected only once every five years on BEA's BE-10, Benchmark Survey of U.S. Direct Investment Abroad.

To collect data for a U.S. Reporter that is a bank, BEA is proposing to use the BE-11A, Report for U.S. Reporter, that is used for nonbank U.S. parents. BEA is proposing that a new, specialized form, Form BE-11B(FN), be provided for foreign affiliates of bank U.S. parents and bank affiliates of nonbank U.S. parents. The items proposed to be collected on this form would include most of those collected on the form used for bank affiliates on the BE-10 benchmark survey and a few additional items, including sales of services by destination and employment by broad occupational structure, that would make the data more useful for studies of offshoring and more comparable with the data collected for nonbank affiliates of nonbank parents. Because affiliates of bank parents and bank affiliates of nonbank parents tend to be quite large, BEA is proposing to set the exemption level for reporting on the proposed Form BE-11B(FN) at $250 million. (In comparison, the exemption level for other foreign affiliates would be $40 million.) Foreign affiliates of bank U.S. parents and bank affiliates of nonbank U.S. parents with total assets, sales or gross operating revenues, and net income of $250 million or less (positive or negative) would not be required to be reported on the annual survey. Instructions on the forms and in the instruction booklet will be modified to include banks.

Survey Background

The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), U.S. Department of Commerce, conducts the BE-11 survey under the authority of the International Investment and Trade in Services Survey Act (22 U.S.C. 3101-3108), hereinafter, “the Act.” Section 4(a) of the Act requires that with respect to United States direct investment abroad, the President shall, to the extent he deems necessary and feasible, conduct a regular data collection program to secure current information on international financial flows and other information related to international investment and trade in services, including (but not limited to) such information as may be necessary for computing and analyzing the United States balance of payments, the employment and taxes of United States parents and affiliates, and the international investment and trade in services position of the United States.

In Section 3 of Executive Order 11961, as amended by Executive Orders 12318 and 12518, the President delegated the responsibility for performing functions under the Act concerning direct investment to the Secretary of Commerce, who has redelegated it to BEA. The annual survey of U.S. direct investment abroad is a sample survey that collects information on a variety of measures of the overall operations of U.S. parent companies and their foreign affiliates, including total assets, sales, net income, employment and employee compensation, research and development expenditures, and exports and imports of goods. The sample data are used to derive universe estimates in nonbenchmark years from similar data reported in the BE-10, Benchmark Survey of U.S. Direct Investment Abroad, which is taken every five years. The data are needed to measure the size and economic significance of direct investment abroad, measure changes in such investment, and assess its impact on the U.S. and foreign economies. The data are disaggregated by country and industry of the foreign affiliate and by industry of the U.S. parent.

Executive Order 12866

This proposed rule has been determined to be not significant for purposes of E.O. 12866.

Executive Order 13132

This proposed rule does not contain policies with Federalism implications sufficient to warrant preparation of a Federalism assessment under E.O. 13132.

Paperwork Reduction Act

This proposed rule contains a collection-of-information requirement subject to review and approval by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA). The requirement has been submitted to the OMB for approval as a revision to a collection currently approved under OMB control number 0608-0053. BEA proposes to expand the reporting requirements on the BE-11 annual survey so that U.S. parent companies that are banks and their foreign affiliates and bank foreign affiliates of nonbank U.S. parent companies will now be reportable. Minor changes will be required to the instructions on Form BE-11A, Report for U.S. Reporter, so it can be used to collect bank as well as nonbank data. A new, sepialized form, Form BE-11B(FN), will be provided for foreign affiliates of bank parents and bank affiliates of nonbank parents.

Notwithstanding any other provisions of the law, no person is required to respond to, nor shall any person be subject to a penalty for failure to comply with, a collection-of-information subject to the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act unless that collection displays a currently valid OMB control number.

The BE-11 survey, as proposed, is expected to result in the filing of reports from approximately 1,550 respondents. The respondent burden for this collection of information will vary from one company to another, but is estimated to average 79.3 hours per response, including time for reviewing instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering and maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing the collection of information. Thus the total respondent burden of the survey is estimated at 122,900 hours (1,550 respondents times 79.3 hours average burden). This estimate is slightly above the burden of 117,600 hours currently requested for this survey in the OMB inventory. The increase in the burden is due to proposed changes in reporting requirements.

Comments are requested concerning: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the burden estimate; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of Start Printed Page 52318the collection of information on the respondents, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology. Comments should be addressed to: Director, Bureau of Economic Analysis (BE-1), U.S. Department of Commerce, Washington, DC 20230; FAX: 202-606-5311; and to the Office of Management and Budget, O.I.R.A., Paperwork Reduction Project 0608-0053, Attention PRA Desk Officer for BEA, via e-mail at pbugg@omb.eop.gov, or by Fax at 202-395-7245.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

The Chief Counsel for Regulation, Department of Commerce, has certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy, Small Business Administration, under the provisions of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 605(b)), that this proposed rulemaking, if adopted, will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. Few small U.S. businesses are subject to the reporting requirements of this survey. U.S. companies that have direct investments abroad tend to be quite large, thereby excluding them from the definition of small entity. The proposed changes to the BE-11 annual survey would not increase the burden on small businesses. The exemption level for the BE-11 survey is set in terms of the size of a U.S. company's foreign affiliates (foreign companies owned 10 percent or more by the U.S. company); if a foreign affiliate has total assets, sales, or net income (loss) greater than the exemption level, it must be reported on Form BE-11B(LF), BE-11B(SF), BE-11B(FN), BE-11B(EZ), or BE-11C. The exemption level for the BE-11 survey for nonbank affiliates of nonbank U.S. Reporters is unchanged at $40 million. Because affiliates of bank parents and bank affiliates of nonbank parents tend to be quite large and to keep respondent burden as low as possible, the proposed exemption level for reporting on the proposed Form BE-11B(FN) is $250 million. Affiliates of bank parents and bank affiliates of nonbank parents with total assets, sales or gross operating revenues, and net income (loss) of $250 million or less would not be required to be reported on the annual survey. To further ease the reporting burden on smaller businesses, U.S. Reporters with total assets, sales or gross operating revenues, and net income (loss) less than or equal to $150 million are required to report only selected items on the BE-11A form for U.S. Reporters in addition to forms they may be required to file for their foreign affiliates.

Because few small businesses are impacted by this rule, and because those small businesses that are impacted are subject to only minimal recordkeeping burdens, the Chief Counsel for Regulation certifies that this proposed rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

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List of Subjects in 15 CFR Part 806

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Dated: August 2, 2007.

Rosemary D. Marcuss,

Acting Director, Bureau of Economic Analysis.

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For the reasons set forth in the preamble, BEA proposes to amend 15 CFR part 806 as follows:

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PART 806—DIRECT INVESTMENT SURVEYS

1. The authority citation for 15 CFR part 806 continues to read as follows:

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Authority: 5 U.S.C. 301; 22 U.S.C. 3101-3108; E.O. 11961 (3 CFR, 1977 Comp., p. 86), as amended by E.O. 12318 (3 CFR, 1981 Comp., p. 173) and E.O. 12518 (3 CFR, 1985 Comp., p. 348).

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2. Section 806.14(f)(3) is revised to read as follows:

U.S. direct investment abroad.
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(f) * * *

(3) BE-11—Annual survey of U.S. Direct Investment Abroad: A report, consisting of Form BE-11A and Form(s) BE-11B(LF) (Long Form), BE-11B(SF) (Short Form), BE-11B(FN), BE-11B(EZ), and/or BE-11C, is required of each U.S. Reporter that, at the end of the Reporter's fiscal year, had a foreign affiliate reportable on Form BE-11B(LF), (SF), (FN), (EZ), or BE-11C. Forms required and the criteria for reporting on each are as follows:

(i) Form BE-11A (Report for U.S. Reporter) must be filed by each U.S. person having a foreign affiliate reportable on Form BE-11B(LF), (SF), (FN), (EZ), or BE-11C. If the U.S. Reporter is a corporation, Form BE-11A is required to cover the fully consolidated U.S. domestic business enterprise. However, where a U.S. Reporter's primary line of business is not in banking (or related financial activities), but the Reporter also has ownership in a bank, the bank, including all of its domestic subsidiaries or units, must file on a separate Form BE-11A. The nonbanking U.S. operations not owned by the bank must also file on a Form BE-11A.

(A) If for a U.S. Reporter any one of the following three items—total assets, sales or gross operating revenues excluding sales taxes, or net income after provision for U.S. income taxes—was greater than $150 million (positive or negative) at the end of, or for, the Reporter's fiscal year, the U.S. Reporter must file a complete Form BE-11A. It must also file a Form BE-11B(LF), (SF), (FN), (EZ), or BE-11C as applicable, for each nonexempt foreign affiliate.

(B) If for a U.S. Reporter no one of the three items listed in paragraph (f)(3)(i)(A) of this section was greater than $150 million (positive or negative) at the end of, or for, the Reporter's fiscal year, the U.S. Reporter is required to file on Form BE-11A only items 1 through 31 and Part IV. It must also file a Form BE-11B(LF), (SF), (FN), (EZ), or BE-11C as applicable, for each nonexempt foreign affiliate.

(ii) Forms BE-11B(LF), (SF), and (EZ) (Report for Majority-owned Nonbank Foreign Affiliate of Nonbank U.S. Reporter).

(A) A BE-11B(LF)(Long Form) must be filed for each majority-owned nonbank foreign affiliate of a nonbank U.S. Reporter for which any one of the three items—total assets, sales or gross operating revenues excluding sales taxes, or net income after provision for foreign income taxes—was greater than $150 million (positive or negative) at the end of, or for, the affiliate's fiscal year, unless the nonbank foreign affiliate is selected to be reported on Form BE-11B(EZ).

(B) A BE-11B(SF)(Short Form) must be filed for each majority-owned nonbank foreign affiliate of a nonbank U.S. Reporter for which any one of the three items listed in paragraph (f)(3)(ii)(A) of this section was greater than $40 million (positive or negative), but for which no one of these items was greater than $150 million (positive or negative), at the end of, or for, the affiliate's fiscal year, unless the nonbank foreign affiliate is selected to be reported on Form BE-11B(EZ).

(C) A BE-11B(EZ) must be filed for each nonbank foreign affiliate of a nonbank U.S. Reporter that is selected to be reported on this form in lieu of Form BE-11B(LF) or Form BE-11B(SF).

(iii) Form BE-11B(FN) (Report for Foreign Affiliate of Bank U.S. Reporter and Bank Affiliate of Nonbank U.S. Reporter) must be filed for (1) each foreign affiliate (bank and nonbank) of a bank U.S. Reporter for which any one of the three items listed in paragraph (f)(3)(ii)(A) of this section was greater than $250 million (positive or negative) at the end of, or for, the affiliate's fiscal year and (2) each bank foreign affiliate Start Printed Page 52319of a nonbank U.S. Reporter for which any one of the three items listed in paragraph (f)(3)(ii)(A) of this section was greater than $250 million (positive or negative) at the end of, or for, the affiliate's fiscal year.

(iv) Form BE-11C (Report for Minority-owned Nonbank Foreign Affiliate of Nonbank U.S. Reporter) must be filed for each minority-owned nonbank foreign affiliate of a nonbank U.S. Reporter that is owned at least 20 percent, but not more than 50 percent, directly and/or indirectly, by all U.S. Reporters of the affiliate combined, and for which any one of the three items listed in paragraph (f)(3)(ii)(A) of this section was greater than $40 million (positive or negative) at the end of, or for, the affiliate's fiscal year. In addition, for the report covering fiscal year 2007 only, a Form BE-11C must be filed for each minority-owned nonbank foreign affiliate that is owned, directly or indirectly, at least 10 percent by one nonbank U.S. Reporter, but less than 20 percent by all nonbank U.S. Reporters of the affiliate combined, and for which any one of the three items listed in paragraph (f)(3)(ii)(A) of this section was greater than $100 million (positive or negative) at the end of, or for, the affiliate's fiscal year.

(v) Based on the preceding, an affiliate is exempt from being reported if it meets any one of the following criteria:

(A) For nonbank affiliates of nonbank U.S. Reporters, none of the three items listed in paragraph (f)(3)(ii)(A) of this section exceeds $40 million (positive or negative). However, affiliates that were established or acquired during the year and for which at least one of these items was greater than $10 million but not over $40 million must be listed, and key data items reported, on a supplement schedule on Form BE-11A.

(B) For affiliates of bank U.S. Reporters and bank affiliates of nonbank U.S. Reporters, none of the three items listed in paragraph (f)(3)(ii)(A) of this section exceeds $250 million (positive or negative). However, affiliates that were established or acquired during the year and for which at least one of these items was greater than $10 million but not over $250 million must be listed, and key data items reported, on a supplement schedule on Form BE-11A.

(C) For nonbank foreign affiliates of nonbank U.S. Reporters, for fiscal year 2007 only, it is less than 20 percent owned, directly or indirectly, by all U.S. Reporters of the affiliate combined and none of the three items listed in paragraph (f)(3)(ii)(A) of this section exceeds $100 million (positive or negative).

(D) For fiscal years other than 2007, it is less than 20 percent owned, directly or indirectly, by all U.S. Reporters of the affiliate combined.

(vi) Notwithstanding paragraph (f)(3)(v) of this section, a Form BE-11B(LF), (SF), (FN), (EZ) or BE-11C must be filed for a foreign affiliate of the U.S. Reporter that owns another non-exempt foreign affiliate of that U.S. Reporter, even if the foreign affiliate parent is otherwise exempt. That is, all affiliates upward in the chain of ownership must be reported.

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[FR Doc. E7-18036 Filed 9-12-07; 8:45 am]

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