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World trend of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) have significantly changed in the last decades. Total FDI stocks in the world, in fact, increased more than 25 times in the last three decades (i.e., from US$ 700 billion in 1980 to US$ 17.7 trillion in 2009).
United States has maintained the first rank in both inward and outward FDI flows in 1980 and 2009. The United Kingdom slipped in its rank from being number two in terms of both inward and outward FDI flows in 1980 to reaching number five in 2009 and number fourteen in 2009, respectively. China has significantly improve its position in the last years, reaching the second rank in inward FDI flows and the sixth one in outward FDI flows in 2009.