Direct investment position of the U.S. abroad 2000-2018

In 2018, foreign direct investment (FDI) from the United States to other countries amounted to 5.95 trillion U.S. dollars. Foreign direct investment reflects the ownership of business from one country in another country. It differs from a traditional investment in companies located abroad by the ownership factor in case of FDI.

Why is FDI important?

FDI has influences in the sending and receiving countries. In the recipient countries, FDI can be an important source of capital that might not otherwise be available. This is particularly true in less developed countries, such as in Africa. The countries which received the largest amount of foreign direct investment from the United States in 2017 were the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Luxembourg.

FDI flows to the United States

On the other hand, the countries, which sent the most FDI to the United States in 2017 were the United Kingdom, Japan and Canada. There were about 7.6 million jobs offered in the U.S. due to foreign direct investments as of 2016.

Direct investment position of the United States abroad from 2000 to 2018

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Release date

July 2019


United States

Survey time period

2000 to 2018

Supplementary notes

In accounting, historical cost is the original monetary value of an economic item. Historical cost is based on the stable measuring unit assumption. In some circumstances, assets and liabilities may be shown at their historical cost, as if there had been no change in value since the date of acquisition.
U.S. direct investment abroad is defined as ownership by a U.S. investor of at least 10 percent of a foreign business. The direct investor is known as a U.S. parent, and the U.S.-owned foreign business is known as a foreign affiliate. International transactions statistics cover the foreign affiliates’ transactions with their U.S. parents, so these statistics focus on the U.S. parent’s share, or interest, in its affiliates rather than on the affiliates’ overall size or level of operations. The major items include capital flows, which measure the funds that U.S. parents provide to their foreign affiliates, and income, which measures the return on those funds. Direct investment position statistics are stocks and are cumulative; they measure the total outstanding level of U.S. direct investment abroad at year end.

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Statistics on "Foreign Direct Investment in the U.S."

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