Transnational Corporation


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Transnational Corporation

Any corporation that is registered and operates in more than one country at a time; also called a multinational corporation.

A transnational, or multinational, corporation has its headquarters in one country and operates wholly or partially owned subsidiaries in one or more other countries. The subsidiaries report to the central headquarters. The growth in the number and size of transnational corporations since the 1950s has generated controversy because of their economic and political power and the mobility and complexity of their operations. Some critics argue that transnational corporations exhibit no loyalty to the countries in which they are incorporated but act solely in their own best interests.

U.S. corporations have various motives for establishing a corporate presence in other countries. One possible motive is a desire for growth. A corporation may have reached a plateau meeting domestic demands and anticipate little additional growth. A new foreign market might provide opportunities for new growth.

Other corporations desire to escape the protectionist policies of an importing country. Through direct foreign investment, a corporation can bypass high tariffs that prevent its goods from being competitively priced. For example, when the European Common Market (the predecessor of the European Union) placed tariffs on goods produced by outsiders, U.S. corporations responded by setting up European subsidiaries.

Two other motives are more controversial. One is preventing competition. The most certain method of preventing actual or potential competition from foreign businesses is to acquire those businesses. Another motive for establishing subsidiaries in other nations is to reduce costs, mainly through the use of cheap foreign labor in developing countries. A transnational corporation can hold down costs by shifting some or all of its production facilities abroad.

Transnational corporations with headquarters in the United States have played an increasingly dominant role in the world economy. This dominance is most pronounced in the developing countries that rely primarily on a narrow range of exports, usually primary goods. A transnational corporation has the ability to disrupt traditional economies, impose monopolistic practices, and assert a political and economic agenda on a country.

Another concern with transnational corporations is their ability to use foreign subsidiaries to minimize their tax liability. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) must analyze the movement of goods and services between a transnational company's domestic and foreign operations and then assess whether the transfer price that was assigned on paper to each transaction was fair. IRS studies indicate that U.S. transnational corporations have an incentive to set their transfer prices so as to shift income away from the United States and its higher corporate tax rates and to shift deductible expenses into the United States. Foreign-owned corporations doing business in the United States have a similar incentive. Critics argue that these tax incentives also motivate U.S. transnational corporations to move plants and jobs overseas.

References in periodicals archive ?
Many of the developing countries changed their economic policies and adopted market oriented economy in order to invite the transnational corporations. Both transition economy countries (erstwhile communist countries under Soviet Block) and other developing and underdeveloped countries including China.
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Whether in transnational corporations or smaller companies, communicators face their own ethical dilemmas.
Prime Minister Muhamedkaliy Abilgaziev visited Dastan OJSC transnational corporation, which produces and exports military-industrial products.
SHAREHOLDERS of Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc (Transcorp) have commended the management of the company for their effort and commitment towards bringing the investment conglomerate back to profitability.
One transnational corporation has spent millions of dollars to block labeling of foods containing genetically modified organisms: Monsanto.
Handover of 48% stake in the Transnational Corporation Dastan to Russia in exchange for settlement of the debt is not on agenda of talks anymore, Sapar Isakov, chief of the foreign policy department of the President's Administration, told reporters today in Bishkek.
The privateer in your local community is probably linked to a transnational corporation that has interests in privatizing water services.
A transnational corporation (TNC) is "any enterprise that undertakes foreign direct investment, owns or controls income-gathering assets in more than one [TABULAR DATA FOR TABLE 1 OMITTED] country, produces goods or services outside its country of origin, or engages in international production" (Biersteker, 1978:xii).
The contract was one of the largest joint ventures in the history of Latin America, with the world's largest transnational corporation, to create the largest mine on the continent.
The two countries agreed that shares of the Transnational Corporation Dastan will be offered for sale at auction for all interested investors.
As a consequence, the reader is left without a sense of unifying argument in the book and with no idea of what driving force lay behind the national consolidation and international expansion of "economic development." The limited focus on the transnational corporation simply does not suffice as explanation.

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