Summary Report on the Survey of Global Activities by Japanese Multinationals

Author Name TOMIURA Eiichi (Faculty Fellow, RIETI) / ITO Banri (Research Associate, RIETI) / MATSUURA Toshiyuki (Keio University) / WAKASUGI Ryuhei (Faculty Fellow, RIETI)
Creation Date/NO. March 2017 17-J-028
Research Project Empirical Analysis of Global Activities and Transaction Networks of Japanese Firms
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Multinationals often have subsidiaries in multiple countries and are likely to be involved in complex operations such as trade between subsidiaries. Collecting accurate data on intra-firm trade is required for deepening our understanding of global business activities. This paper documents intra-firm trade based on a survey of Japanese multinational firms in the manufacturing and wholesale/retail industries. The notable results from our survey are as follows. A non-negligible fraction of offshore subsidiaries trade goods with their parent firms as well as with other subsidiaries located in different countries but which are owned by the same parent multinationals. Trade in services is far less common than that in goods. More than 20% of offshore subsidiaries import technologies from their parents. Although these findings are generally consistent with stylized facts, several puzzles remain for further investigation.