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World Investment Report 1999

Foreign Direct Investment and the Challenge of Development

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Recognized as the most up-to-date and comprehensive source of information and analysis regarding foreign direct investment (FDI), the World Investment Report 1999, presents a special focus on FDI and the challenge of development, looking at its impact on key objectives of economic development. The Report examines the recent global and regional trends in FDI and describes the world's 100 largest transnational corporations (TNCs), the 50 largest TNCs in developing countries and the 25 largest TNCs in Central and Eastern Europe. Other areas of focus include an analysis of the momentum for an increasing globalization of economies through FDI and the activities of TNCs, along with a review of recent developments in bilateral and regional investment agreements.

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Regional trends

Developed countries registered record levels of FDI inflows and outflows in 1998 amounting respectively to $460 billion (68 cent more than 1997) and $595 billion (or 46 per cent more) (annex tables B.1 and B.2). Their share in worldwide outflows further increased from an already high ratio of 86 per cent in 1997 to about 92 per cent in 1998, while their share in inflows rose even more from 59 per cent to 72 per cent. This marked change reflects a combination of factors both in developed and developing countries: first, a solid growth performance in the United States, and in several member countries of the EU (and non-EU European countries), resulting in a stimulation of outflows from TNCs from these countries, and in greater attractiveness of these economies as an investment location; second, the significant wave of M&As that took place last year, especially between the EU and the United States as well as in Japan as a new eager host; and, third, the economic and financial crisis experienced by a number of developing economies in 1997 and 1998 which reduced the capacity of firms in affected countries to invest abroad and at the same time made some types of investment – market seeking FDI – in their domestic economies relatively less attractive.

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