Bureau of Economic Analysis speeds up data collection | Holland & Knight LLP

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Strong points

  • The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), an agency of the US Department of Commerce, has released 10 notices of annual and quarterly surveys that track various types of foreign investment in the United States. The BEA will contact all the entities called upon to respond to the mandatory surveys.
  • Companies contacted by the BEA must submit completed survey forms within 30 days of the end of each fiscal year or quarter, or within 45 days if the report relates to the last quarter of the financial reporting year.
  • Companies should be aware of the potential obligation to submit these investigative statements, as regulations impose severe penalties for failure to comply with this obligation.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, released 10 notices on January 27, 2020 regarding annual and quarterly surveys that track various types of foreign investment in the United States. The BEA will contact all the entities called upon to respond to its mandatory surveys. Entities not contacted by the BEA have no reporting responsibility.

Publications include the following:

  • BE-9: Revenues and expenditures of foreign air operators in the United States (quarterly). A foreign airline operator must file a report if it carried passengers or cargo to or from the United States and met a $5 million revenue or expense threshold in the previous fiscal year or to come.
  • BE-15: Foreign direct investment in the United States (annual). A business enterprise must file a report if, at the end of a fiscal year, a foreign entity owns or controls at least 10% of the voting securities of the U.S. business (or an equivalent interest in an unincorporated business ).
  • BE-29: Expenditures by foreign ocean carriers in the United States (annually). A foreign ocean carrier must file a report if it: 1) processed 40 or more U.S. port calls during the fiscal year, or 2) processed total covered expenses of at least $250,000 during exercise course.
  • BE-30: Ocean Freight Revenues and Foreign Expenditures of US Carriers (Quarterly). A U.S. shipping carrier must file a report if it: 1) carried cargo or passengers to or between certain foreign ports, and 2) reached a $500,000 revenue or expense threshold in the prior fiscal year or to come.
  • BE-37: Foreign revenue and expenditure of US airline operators (quarterly). A U.S. airline operator must file a report that: 1) carries U.S. passengers or cargo, or carries passengers or cargo or between two foreign points, and 2) meets a $500,000 revenue or expense threshold during the previous or future fiscal year.
  • BE-45: Insurance transactions by US insurance companies with foreign persons (quarterly). A U.S. insurance company that has engaged in reinsurance transactions with a foreign person or that has engaged in international insurance-related service transactions must file a report. Filing is required if any of the eight transaction categories exceeded $8 million (positive or negative) for the previous calendar year or are expected to exceed that amount in the current calendar year.
  • BE-125: Transactions in certain services and intellectual property with foreigners (quarterly). A report is required of U.S. persons who: 1) have combined sales to foreigners in certain intellectual property or services transactions that exceeded $6 million in the person’s previous fiscal year, or 2) made combined purchases from foreign persons in connection with intellectual property or certain services transactions that reach a threshold of $4 million during the previous or future financial year of the American person.
  • BE-185: Financial Services Transactions between US Financial Services Providers and Foreign Persons (quarterly). A report is required from financial service providers, or their affiliates, that had sales to foreigners in all financial services of more than $20 million in the previous year or will have sales in the coming year , or who have made purchases from foreign persons in all financial services over $15 million in the previous year or in the coming year.
  • BE-577: US Direct Investment Abroad – Transactions of US Reporter with Foreign Affiliate (quarterly). A report is required from a U.S. person who has had direct dealings with a foreign business in which they held an equity interest of at least 10% of the voting stock (or an equivalent equity interest of an unincorporated business ) at any time during the reporting period.
  • BE-605: Foreign Direct Investment in the United States – Transactions of a US Affiliate with a Foreign Parent (Quarterly). If a foreign entity owns 10% or more of the voting securities of a U.S. business (or an equivalent equity interest of an unincorporated U.S. business enterprise), at any time during the quarter, the U.S. business must file a report.

Guidelines and potential penalties

Companies contacted by the BEA must submit completed survey forms within 30 days of the end of each fiscal year or quarter, or within 45 days if the report relates to the last quarter of the financial reporting year. Companies should be aware of the potential obligation to submit these investigative statements, as regulations impose severe penalties for failure to comply with this obligation. With two exceptions, failure to report on time can result in a fine of between $4,454 and $44,539 (the penalties for the annual U.S. Foreign Direct Investment Report and the quarterly Transactions with U.S. Reporter with Foreign Affiliate are slightly higher, both being subject to fines between $4,527 and $45,268). Additionally, a willful failure to report can result in a fine of up to $10,000 or a jail term of up to one year, or both.

Companies filing reports generally should not be concerned about the disclosure of sensitive business information when filing BEA reports, as the BEA operates under strict confidentiality requirements. First, under the law governing the BEA, access to any information obtained from BEA investigations is limited to “officials or employees designated to perform duties” under the regulations. Second, information gathered from BEA investigations can only be used “for analytical or statistical purposes” (or in criminal proceedings for willful violation of reporting obligations). In addition, information collected by BEA is legally exempt from Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. So, while reporting is mandatory and should be done with care, companies need to be confident that their selection as mandatory respondents will not put them at a competitive disadvantage.

For more information on whether to deposit or on the merits of your deposit, please contact the authors or another member of Holland & Knight’s International Trade Group.


The information in this alert is intended for the general education and knowledge of our readers. It is not intended to be, and should not be used as, the sole source of information when analyzing and resolving a legal issue. In addition, the laws of each jurisdiction are different and constantly changing. If you have specific questions regarding a particular factual situation, you are encouraged to consult competent legal counsel.


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