In 1976, there were approximately 11 000 transnational corporations (TNCs), with about 82600 foreign affiliates. Of these, the largest 371 accounted for two-thirds of all TNC sales. There is no unambiguous measure of the contribution of TNCs to global production, but an indication of their importance can be gauged from the following observations: in 1980, the sales of the largest 350 TNCs were equivalent to 28 per cent of the gross domestic product of all noncommunist economies; their employment of 25 million people accounted for one-quarter of all manufacturing employment in these economies; their liquid financial assets exceeded (by a factor of more than three times) total global assets of gold and foreign exchange; and by the early 1980s, these 350 largest TNCs contributed approximately one-third of global industrial output and their intra-firm trade accounted for more than 40 per cent of total external trade in a number of the world’s largest economies.
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