Foreign direct investment (FDI) – investment in capital stock or assets by a firm abroad – is one of the main engines of economic globalization. In the last decade, it has surged in importance as a source of capital formation for transition and least-developed economies. FDI now accounts for almost half the private capital flows to developing countries. In 2000, developing countries accounted for approximately 24 per cent of total global FDI flows (UNCTAD, 2000a).